The Fifth Quarter - Indianapolis Colts
What a difference half time can make. At the end of the first half, the Washington Redskins had to be ecstatic. The defense had been able to handle the vaunted Colts offense, and the Redskins offense was taking advantage. Then there was the third quarter…
There were some good things on display in the RCA Dome in this game. Mark Brunell completed 27 passes amongst eight different receivers. Brandon Lloyd and Chris Cooley both caught four passes, including a nice touchdown to Cooley in the first half, which tied the game at seven.
Unfortunately, several of Brunell’s passes were 3-yard passes on third and long. Whether this is the play call or the quarterback’s read in unknown – and irrelevant. What is relevant is that these types of throws continue to kill drives for the Redskins.
The key to Washington Redskin success is the running game, and that is why the Redskins find themselves on the short end of the stick in Indy. It is not that the running game was completely ineffective. The Redskins actually out-gained the Colts on the ground on one less carry. The problem is that in the third quarter, the Redskins fell behind to the point that the pass was the only valid weapon. Twenty-four rushing plays will usually end up with a mark in the loss column for Washington.
Unbelievably, the strength of the Redskins has become their weakness, and the third quarter was their downfall again. Washington’s defense was unable to stop the Colts offense in the third quarter. After beating up Peyton Manning in the first half, the Redskins pass rush was ineffective in the third quarter, and Manning was able to pick apart the much-beleaguered secondary. The Redskins also struggled to stop the run, as Joseph Addai seemed to be able to make plays when the Colts needed them. While many fans are caught up in the Brunell versus Campbell debate, the quarterback’s identity does not matter if the defense cannot keep the opposing offense off the field.
1 Quarter (the second)
Antwaan Randle-El. Does anything else need to be said? Randle-El burst through the “hole” his teammates opened up (you know, the middle of the field). He then faked out Colts punter Hunter Smith so bad that Smith laid out on the ground and enjoyed the show. The result: Randle-El’s first punt return for a touchdown as a Redskin.
Rock Cartwright and both return units also had good days, and even the coverage units played better than normal. Derrick Frost (other than his still unexplained tirade and subsequent penalty smorgasbord) had a decent day punting. Then there was Nick.
Nick Novak did little to gain the confidence of coaches, players and fans in this game. His two missed field goals could have made a difference. As it was, the score could have been 36-28, but who knows how the missed kicks affected the rest of the team. To make matters worse, this was in a dome. There was no wind, just bad kicks. Novak made a name for himself at Maryland, where he made clutch kicks as if they were routine. Hopefully for Nick and for Redskin fans, there will be more games like those at Byrd Stadium than ones like Sunday nights debacle.
Well, the Washington Redskins find themselves stuck at the bottom of the NFC – East with a 2-5 record. The bye week is coming up and hopefully, the team can figure out what is going on. Hopefully, some of the guys can use the two weeks to get healthy. Hopefully, when the team hosts Dallas in two weeks, the streak will begin. Let us hear it folks… Nine in a row, or we don’t go. What the heck, it worked last year.
This article was released on 2006-10-23.
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