Your Washington Redskins are playoff bound

Update by Burgundy and Gold: One correction... despite what Skin Patrol would have you believe, the final score of Sunday's game was 27 to 6, not 26 to 7. He did, however, report the correct winning margin of 21 (no offense to #19 Anthony Mix who is, to my knowledge, still alive and well).
In one of the most consequential games I've ever had the pleasure of watching for Your Washington Redskins we emerged victorious over a hated division rival 27-6 though the game was possibly more one-sided than the score revealed. Although all the players on the field had #21 on their helmets, a nice touch by the NFL I'd like to add, the real honor to Taylor was the final score; we won, and we won by the gloriously coincedental spread of 21 points. It was enough to bring Chris Samuels to tears, per Chris Samuels (who I just saw interviewed on ESPN). [AOL Fanhouse found the quote.]

Although we beat the Cowboys, we didn't need to. The Vikes valiantly came back against a 19-3 deficit to tie the game against the Broncos, who ultimately won in OT. The Bears saved us some drama by "drop"ing the Saints (well put) which hurt less than it normally would have, since Drew Brees is one of my  favorite NFL players, perhaps my favorite non-Redskin. Tough season for the Saints, but they'll be back.

Make Way For The Redskins says Ben and he's absolutely right. The Hottest Team In The NFL has won its last four games by a margin of 105-53 unless I can't count properly, which is possible. The Talking Box said we we've won by 13.3 points per game, which sounds about right. And these weren't total flakes, either. The Bears came into FedEx 5-7 with playoff hopes still, barely, alive. I think. We beat the Giants and the Vikings on the road, the former was in a position to secure their postseason with a W, the latter damn near needed to win it to carry on, or at least maintain control over their own fate. We closed out against the 13 win Cowboys at home in a game they probably didn't take as seriously as us, and they played like it.

To that game... While we were helped out by the absence of Terrell Owens and them sitting starters towards the end of the game, it wasn't at all clear that the Cowboys best (available) players were going to win the game were they given 8(00) quarters to do so. I will also grant that the Cowboys were suffering from an unusual case of dropsies, though will only admit one was truly consequential. I believe it was a pass to Austin who forgot to catch the ball before breaking into stride, and Landry appeared to be falling over to recover. Still, that's not an automatic touchdown. I will not bet against Landry's ability to recover from a temporary positional error. He is fast, fast enough to chase down Austin.

All that said, let's talk about why the game wasn't as close as the score:

  1. 354 total yards to their 147. The Cowboys couldn't get it done throughout the game and our defense played magnificently. Tony Romo was held to season lows (and probably career lows?) in yards, completion %, YPA, and completions. His QB rating was 34.9; Todd Collins was 104.8, 106.4 on the season.
  2. Net Yards Rushing: 1 yard on 16 attempts. Nearly 1/3rd of their runs were tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a total loss of 16 yards. Julius Jones was somehow the star at least managing a positive yards with 8, 5 of them on one run which was also the longest of the day for the Cowboys. MB3, who I maintain is the better back, did not have a strong day -- 6 carries for -6 yards.
  3. First downs 22 to 7. Both teams managed two penalty first downs which means they relied on our mistakes for nearly 33% of their chain moving. From above, you would correctly conclude they had zero rushing first downs. Their drive chart looks like a progress report from Great War era trench fight; what yards they did get came with great effort and, as often as not, their offensive charges were forced back with relative ease. Whistles announcing the start of an offensive signaled futility.
  4. Clinton Portis became the first player to manage 100 yards on the ground against the Cowboys. He also scored two touchdowns and did all this on 25 carries, going over 4 YPC on the game and finishing the season with 1,262 yards with 11 touchdowns. Huge congratulations to CP for a season well played (but no more fumbles, pleez).
Needless to say, the Redskins Blogosphere went ape after the victory. In short: They've done it, to Seattle Here We Come at 4:30 Next Saturday. Chris Mottram has the congratulatory kiss of the year; how adorable. Jesus Hates The Cowboys. Not everyone is thrilled about it.

Dear Washington Redskins,

It is my birfday on January 4th and nothing would make me happier than a late birfday present in the Redskins avenging their 2005 season playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks with a W this coming Saturday. If you guys don't, I may (but not really) spray windex in my eyes until it stops hurting.

Sincerely,

Skin Patrol

That really would be a swell birthday present and I encourage reader(s) to request the same on my behalf here.

In contrast to the HOT HOT HOT Redskins, the Seahawks are NOT NOT NOT necessarily same, having lost two of their last three games against unworthy opponents: @ Atlanta and Carolina at home. Per the great Field Gulls we'll be watching the game with Tom Hammond and Chris Collinsworth; I like Chris, so that's a positive. It also means a reprieve from Troy Aikman, as there is apparently some rule where he has to be announcing a game against a team he used to play twice a year. The Giants suffer him on Sunday.

Emerging scandal that I don't want to think about right now is whether JC or Todd Collins gets the start, though that is the million dollar question. I haven't concluded one way or the other just yet but will force myself to do so by Friday, which should also afford enough time to properly evaluate where Campbell is at. I'm tempted to say sit him at 99%, play him at 100%. We'll talk more.

For now I am off to enjoy my favorite Holiday of the year, New Year's Eve, in the safe confines of drunkfulnessicityolicious. Ness. I urge all reader(s) to be safely intoxicated and, rather than urge cowardly moderation, just say stay the eff away from operating large motor vehicles and enjoy yourself. I return to regular blogging and end my X-Mas vacation officially on the 2nd and we'll be diving into the playoffs with aplomb thereafter. Until then, please get ruined but in a manner consistent with societal mores. There is much to celebrate, afterall.

Hail To The Redskins (and to TexSkins, Burgundy and Gold, zknower and all my favorite Hogs Haven regulars for holding this place down in my absence over the Holiday Season. You have all been phenomenal and it has been an honor and pleasure to enjoy just the 3rd Redskins successful season in the past 15 years. Hail to the best fans on the planet, cheers.)

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