Well, I've got some mixed feelings about this game. Because we've got no posts up about it yet, I figured I'd promote some discussion about the game.
First -- let's just get it out there -- a win is a win. We got a desperately-needed win today against a team that for once was healthy and eager to prove itself to both Head Coaches on the field. So, that's good.
Beyond that, the most important thing is that Clinton Portis our hero. For the second straight week he didn't practice and came in and started. This week, he literally carried the team to a win with 143 yards, more than anyone in the NFL this week (so far). In fact, actually, it was enough to put him back at #1 in the NFL for rushing yards this season (over 1200 through 11 games). In addition, he had 16 receiving yards.
That's ridiculous. Clinton Portis holds the franchise record for rushing yards in a season, with 1516 yards (2005), but he is well on pace to destroy that record. 303 yards in 5 weeks? He could get up to 1600 or 1700 unless the Ravens/Giants/injuries really shut him down. This game was enough to vault him back into MVP conversation as far as I'm concerned. Not to mention, CP had some key blocks, per usual (including one for Jason Campbell on that QB keeper...).
So Clinton Portis is our savior. I've never seen a player with so much purpose. He is on another level of mental toughness, and I would rather have no player in the NFL represent my Washington Redskins. Thank you, CP. We realize the pain you must be in and thank you for your efforts. He's putting it all on the line for us every week, more than any player in the league.
Other positives: TURNOVERS! We got two (2!) interceptions today. Laron Landry made a play that made me wonder if Sean Taylor was still playing for us today. That interception was classic Redskins safety-style -- that blur coming across the screen? The one making the impossible catch? Oh yeah, that's just #30.
It was good to see him make a play (and he had a big day, with 4 tackles, and one that saved a touchdown), but Shawn Springs's interception at the end of the game tasted sweet. After a few weeks off the field, he comes back to play the team that drafted him and let him walk to the Redskins. Nice pick by Springs to immediately end the game.
We got a modest two sacks, which isn't bad. Hasselbeck was hurried often from a lot of different angles. Good defensive calling by Blache, for the most part.
Huge day for Mike Sellers. Per usual, getting a win required a good game from Moss, Randle El and Cooley, and they delievered.
So with all that, you'd think I'd have few negatives to worry about, right?
A few questions will continue to damn this team until they're solved.
The first, one that no one talks about, is that our kick return coverage is getting pretty weak. Losing Leigh Torrence must be hurting us more than we think. Wilson was able to get a bunch of solid returns, and we've been giving up more KR yards in the last few weeks, unless I'm remembering incorrectly. Must be fixed, or we will eventually lose games due to field position or big returns. As everyone knows, there's no margin for error left in the season.
Second is the fact that Maurice Morris absolutely killed us. In back-to-back weeks, the Redskins have gotten torn up by Marion Barber and Morris. Not a good sign, considering we're playing the best rushing team I've ever seen next week in the Giants. Let's hope Griffin stays healthy... and maybe Demetric Evans gets the start next week over Jason Taylor?
Next is that fumble by Ladell Betts. Clinton Portis is clutch, Ladell Betts is not. He has done this before. That fumble could have cost us the season. Luckily for him, it didn't.
Lastly, and the definite biggest worry for me, is that we cannot finish drives. We got a touchdown in the red zone today, but we had to settle for two crucial field goals -- one at the end of the game and one early when we converted on fourth down from elsewhere inside the red zone previously. We have got to score touchdowns. You don't win with field goals. And our defense is starting to wear down, so they're going to allow more points. Our offense has to score more points for every reason, but perhaps most importantly for psychological reasons. Our defense plays harder when they are protecting the lead and have their backs against the wall. When the offense is flat for a while, so is the defense.
Now we face the best team in the NFL at home. A win would put us right back on track, and immediately get us back in the national conversation for title contenders. If we can stop the run, keep Portis healthy, and protect the QB -- three things that are all iffy, at best -- we will win that game. Hopefully #21, who will be deservedly be inducted into the Ring of Fame, will have his eye out for us next week.
7-4 ain't bad, folks. Let's take it to the champs.
PS -- In four days, it will have been a year without #21. We miss you, brother.