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ES Coverage: Redskins vs Texans



Good afternoon Redskins nation!  I’m in beautiful Landover, MD with Spaceman Spiff who has been pulled away from Instagram models and tailgating and sent down to the field to do what he does best (roll around in the mud).
Let’s get down to business...  Can we block them?  There are other story lines entering into this game but worrying about them feels largely academic.  The Texans have two terrifying pass rushers and the Redskins intend to block them with optimism and underdog stories.  Alex Smith isn’t a statue but he does take time in making decisions and getting the ball out.  This combination looks disastrous.  The sort of thing that has us all after the game consoling each other with things like “well, it was just a bad matchup" and “we caught them at the worst possible time.” 
Or... we could walk away wondering just how the heck this team managed to pull off another improbable win.  Last week the gave up something like twelve thousand yards of offense to the Bucs, I’ll have to check those numbers to be sure, but only three points.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Maybe we can enjoy an outrageously unlikely result again.  Not probably, not likely, but you know... maybe.  I’m saying there’s a chance.   
I’m here for that chance.  (and you know... the free food and climate controlled free seats) 

1st Quarter Update

Redskins are running their bend and break defense, and I’m not sure a little over three quarters is enough time for the Redskins offense to close a 10-point gap.  I’m having flash backs of week nine, but having human emotions is considered “disruptive behavior.”  I'm fine.  Everything is fine. 

That Quinn celebration, whatever that was, was the highlight of the 1st quarter. 

2nd Quarter Update

Is there a better way to start a quarter than by scoring a touchdown?  There is, if you follow that TD drive with a forced turnover on defense.  Things are looking good! 

So much for that.  A great start was quickly ended up canceled out by the Redskins offense.  With a chance to take a lead Alex Smith throws a pick six in the red zone and takes the air out of the stadium.  He followed that up by throwing another interception on the very next drive.  Alex Smith almost made me forget about Vernon Davis dropping that pass.  Almost. 
Texans missed a field goal attempt and the lead remains frozen at 10. 


This quarter feels like a giant blown opportunity.  


Halftime Update. 

I should have stopped at one hotdog.  I deserve this.


3rd Quarter Update

You know the feeling where you say and think all these bad things about a player and then he breaks his leg and you immediately feel bad about it?  I live there now.


Colt McCoy has freed me from that place of sadness! 

As much as I love this defense, they have to start forcing teams to punt at some point.  Is there a stat for defense tha thas forced the fewest punts?  We have to be near the top of that list.  Texans have punted just once today.  Holding them to three was good, though.   
The lead is down to six and Colt McCoy has arrived to save us.  (Please let that be true.) 


Personal Note:  Someone just stomped, loudly, out of the press area like a while muttering at his phone.  Laughter and comparisons to toddlers followed him.  The media's laugh is an evil laugh!  Good times. 


4th Quarter Update
Colt has brought us back.  Welcome to the first lead change of the season, Redskins fans.  You like that?!  (Yeesh, was that always so lame?)  I guess you could say Adrian Peterson contributed by actually scoring the touchdown.  I bet Colt told him to score though, so you have to factor leadership into things.

Once again, the defense cannot force a punt, hard to feel great about holding a team to a field goal when that field goal gives them the lead in the 4th quarter 


Remember that whole "can we block them" thing?  The answer was absolutely not on the Redskins 2nd drive of the 4th quarter.  Watt and Clowney each sacked our man Colt, and ended that drive before it really had a chance to begin. 


Horrible, no good, very bad holding called on Norman gifting Houston a first down at the worst possible time for it.


Colt chooses to throw deep at an inopportune moment resulting in a 60+ yard attempt for an injured kicker.  Heartbreaking end to a game that cost this team entirely too much (via injury) yet still seemed to be within reach several times. 


I'm off to the post game press conference and locker room, check back later for updates.

Final Thoughts

I’ve always found it preferable to watch my favorite team simply get destroyed, than to feel that they were the better team and still managed to lose.  The Redskins gave this game away with mistakes in the 2nd quarter.  Fred Davis makes a routine catch and Alex Smith doesn’t throw a pick six, and the scoreboard shows at least 7 fewer points for the Texans.  Even if the Redskins had settled for field goals, that’s a 13 point swing in 2 point game.   
Losing the game wasn’t even the worst part.  Losing Alex Smith, for at least the remainder of the season, is likely enough to push the Redskins past the point where they can continue toughing their way through key injuries. 


We'll all feel better after a win against the Cowboys next week. 



Greetings humanoids. Murf & I are here in the land of perpetual sunshine, oranges, & the world famous Florida Man. :)  


What a difference a week makes. One game, one single game, completely changed the look of this then 5-2 Redskins team. Last week against the Falcons they lost nearly the entire Offensive Line. Having to scramble, the FO was signing guys off the street in order to play the Bucs. 


There’s lots of factors that will play into what this M.A.S.H. unit of an Offensive Line will be able to do. As Jay Gruden said earlier this week, they’re teaching these guys OTA’s, Training Camp, & Pre Season all in about 5 days. 


Also to consider, it that the local weather will be around the low to mid 80’s. If any of these 3 new guys didn’t bother to keep in football shape, it’ll show up pretty quickly. If dehydration starts up, they have to start recruiting dudes from the stands to run/pass block. 


If this feels somewhat familiar, it may be because the same situation happened last year in Seattle. Skins went in there with a make shift O Line & came out with the win at the last second thanks to D Hall having some major hops & breaking up Russell Wilson’s pass attempt in the end zone. The difference was it was raining & cold there. In Tampa, anything below 90 degrees is considered cold. 


Today’s matchup should be interesting either way. 



“Usually the team that scores the most points wins the game.” - Madden  


5-2 teams rarely face as many doubts as the Redskins, and it's all about points.  The most significant doubts hang over the offense and trigger that Washington sports fan anxiety we all know and try desperately to repress.  Every win this season has come against teams that have been held to under 20 points.  The offense sits at 25th in the league in points per game, and saying they struggle to score in the second half fails to capture the extent of the situation.  The offense is practically nonexistent in the second half.  Stated plainly, can the Redskins passing game deliver enough points to beat good teams?  More specifically, can Alex Smith win games with his arm?


The second doubt is a question of proving it.  It comes from a history of daring to believe only to have the chair pulled out from under us.  Is this defense as good as we think it is?  So far they’ve been most great, but mostly in a season less than halfway done isn’t enough to silence the unwelcome thoughts that creep into my mind.  Thoughts like “the Cowboys, Giants, and Cardinals aren’t impressing anyone. How good is Carolina, really?  Rodgers was on one leg in the mud.    That might be a fluke.”  The New Orleans game should be the exception that we can all write off, but I’m not sure that anyone is doing that with any confidence yet.   


Today’s game can go a long way to granting us peace of mind.  The Falcons can be a very potent offense.  Will the defense shut them down? Will the offense score enough points to win even if the defense uncharacteristically surrenders more than 21 points?   


I’ll find out from the press box, because life is unfair and they’ve once again given me a press pass.    


The Redskins declared the following players as inactive:   

No. 25 RB Chris Thompson  
NO. 39 CB Adonis Alexander  
No. 48 S Kenny Ladler  
No. 55 C Casey Dunn 
No. 71 T Trent Williams  
No. 80 WR Jamison Crowder  
No. 83 WR Brian Quick 


The Falcons declared the following players as inactive:   

No. 3 K Matt Bryant  
No. 23 CB Robert Alford  
No. 56 DE Steven Means 
No. 68 T Austin Pasztor  
No. 72 T Rees Odhiambo  
No. 77 T Matt Gono


Pregame personal notes: 

- I had the opportunity to talk basketball with David Aldridge in the Redskins press box.  That’s a sentence I never imagined writing.  Cool moment.    

- Expected chocolate chip but got a mouthful of oatmeal raisin.  I have no one to blame by myself.


1st Quarter update. 

Terrible start to the game for the Redskins.  A big penalty followed by an injury to Lauvao dooms the first drive.  Two big drops and an injury to Moses dooms the second.  Atlanta moved down the field with relatively ease on their first drive scoring a touchdown.  Their second looked to be going the same way, but Dunbar postponed the disaster with an interception.  

Falcons are perfect on 3rd down.

2nd quarter update

The doubts I held going into this game are all proving themselves well justified.  Other than the 1st quarter turnover the Falcons have scored on every drive.  Atlanta’s punter took the first half off and the Falcons haven’t needed to attempt a field goal.  They’re a perfect 8/8 on 3rd down.  Shades of New Orleans.  
The Redskins offense did manage to show some signs of life midway through the second.  Doctson finally caught a pass, and added a touchdown reception on top of it.  Alex Smith performed a magic trick in escaping the Atlanta pass rush and scrambles for 22 yards, but nearly got himself killed at the end of the run.  He came up smiling, though.  Alex Smith ain’t no punk.


Holding penalty wiped out a big play that put the Redskins in field goal position before the end of the half. 
Alex Smith gets his chance to play the hero in the second half. 


3rd quarter update

Redskins needed a big 3rd quarter to climb back into this one and while they did play better the lead remains unchanged after trading touchdowns with the Falcons.  The offense did deliver their first third quarter touchdown of this season, so at least we have that. 


14 points down, 1 quarter to play.  Now is the time for Alex Smith to prove he's special.
Redskins are running out of lineman and racking up an impressive number of penalties.  

4th quarter disaster  
The redskins needed everything to go right in order to have chance of erasing a 14 point deficit, but fell apart instead.  Offense turned it over and otherwise failed to do anything of note.  The Falcons ate up 6 minutes and some change on their way to a field goal and then put the cherry on this depressing sundae by ending Julio Jones' touchdown drought.   


End result, the second 24 point blowout of the season.   


I entered into this week with doubts and after the game I find that they've been largely validated.  The Redskins appear to be the team I feared they were.  Good on defense, but not good enough to stop the leagues potent passing offenses.  Solid on offense, but incapable of scoring very many points.  Especially when forced to abandon run.   


The good news is that that schedule seems to be offering up many of the sorts of teams I think the Redskins can beat.  The bad news is that the Redskins just aren’t as good as we’d hoped after starting 5-2.  Well, that and the fact that the team is running out of offensive lineman. 




It's been quite a trip so far up here in the Big (No Eli) Apple.  Google Maps decided to see how many U-turns I could make in a one-mile radius.  The waitress at the restaurant decided to see how long I would wait until my hangry came out (45 minutes for a grilled chicken sandwich?!).  Then the Ambien decided to see if I could function after taking it, I could not from what I remember.  Oh, and then I managed to pull a muscle in my neck either while I was saving kids from an orphanage on fire or while adjusting a shower head.  Let's just go with the former.



Oh yeah, we have a football game, too.  I know, I know, we're 4-2.  The Giants are 1-6.  So I'll say what we're all thinking:




Sitting here in the box, I'm looking down on a 1-6 team, both figuratively and literally.  Just before our game, they get rid of Eli Apple (wrong Eli) and Snacks.  We've got AP hitting on all cylinders and likely making history today, with 26 yards he'll be moving to 9th all-time in rushing yards, passing Tony Dorsett.  So that's a win no matter what since we'll be moving a Cowboy down the list.  Suddenly Kerrigan and Preston seem to be starting to remember that they're on the team, and the Giants have an offensive line that is underperforming.


However, it's the Redskins.  The Giants have won four games in the past two years, and two of them have been against us.  That's not a distinction that is something to brag about.  At the same time, Dak was 5-0 against us until a random penalty and an upright saved our win. To sandwich that point, we are the one win that the Colts have.  Another thing to not brag about.


If we want to win, then today we've got to not let it come down to lucky plays, yellow flags, and a regret about cutting Dan Bailey.  We play well with the lead, but there's not a lot to look to in order to have faith that we can come back from behind.  We're going to need to avoid looking at our record or theirs and getting some sort of ****iness, something that seems to haunt us after a win.  We will need to stay after Eli and get him to make mistakes.  With our depleted secondary, it's had to trust that we can cover Beckham, Shepard, and Engram.  Oh, and they have some running back who can catch the ball.  Man, just thinking about that, how the hell are they 1-6?


As of this writing (11:37), inactives have yet to be announced.  Expect Crowder to still be out in case you drafted him in fantasy.  Thompson is a game time decision in case you drafted him in fantasy.  I bet you can guess which Redskins I drafted.


As the game starts and things are announced, I'll update this.  In the meantime, HTTR.


And right before I post this, inactives are announced:


Quinton Dunbar

Samaje Perine

Kenny Ladler

Casey Dunn

Geron Christian, Sr.

Jamison Crowder

Brian Quick


Mo Harris is in for Crowder, and Moreau is in for Dunbar.


About an hour until kickoff and the Giants punter looks great.  Hopefully we see a lot of him today.


With 49 minutes to go, the stadium looks like people thought it was at Washington.  Basically nobody here.  We'll see what it looks like once we get underway.



During warm ups Richardson has looked very comfortable.  No noticeable holding back or wincing.  Same goes for Thompson.


With ten minutes to go, stadium is maybe half full?  Something like 90/10% Giants fans.  Crazy since they're 1-6 coming off of a 3-13 season.




Not quite sure how to feel about this quarter.  It's great that we're up 7-0, but that'st he danger of this offense.  Control the clock methodically, but then it takes two seconds for the other team to throw a bomb and flip the field along with the momentum.




I'm quite sure how I feel about this quarter.  Smith, man.  Smith.  Throws seem off target, happy feet, not keeping his eyes down the field.  I don't know what's up with this offensive line.  They're supposed to be amazing, but they're in their Halloween costume of Swiss Cheese lately.  It's nice to see Doctson playing well along with Reed.  I just can't be happy about this lead even though it's only halfway over.  Hopefully Jay adjusts at halftime (LOLOLOLOLOL), because this just isn't the team that we've seen.




I feel like we can copy and paste this each week.  No adjustments, defense still plays well, and we don't score a touchdown.  Unfortunately Peterson has a very rare fumble that gets returned a mile, and we start the fourth quarter with the ball on the Redskins 41.  We seem to be winning on the field, but the scoreboard makes me very nervous.  Again.  Every damn time.




Well that fourth quarter was actually pretty fun to watch.  Peterson got a hell of a TD after being denied the whole game.  Our defense showed up, except for Norman not getting that pick, costing me like 12 points in fantasy (I was playing against Engram).  Somehow we are 5-2.  It doesn't feel like it, does it?  Somehow it feels like a struggle every time, but man, aren't we used to that struggle regardless?


The difference this year is that we are no longer snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, we're actually coming out on top.  I was just down in the locker room and at the press conferences (except for Smith, he was late, because he's Alex Smith), and there's a different feel.  These guys know they're not performing to their peak, but they know they're only going to get better.  It's a lack of satisfaction that I have been dying to see.  Jay's not happy with close endings or miscues on offense.  Adrian's not happy with how little he's seen the end zone (not in a selfish way; guy's the nicest person I've ever met).  DJ isn't happy with anything which is awesome.  The whole team won't be happy until, as DJ said, we're winning Super Bowls.  


DJ said today, and I'm paraphrasing very poorly, that today's victory is nothing.  The other four are nothing.  Channeling his inner Iverson but in a good way, he said that we haven't yet won the division, won a championship, won a Super Bowl.  We're 5-2 and have the Falcons to focus on.


Well, DJ, for the first time in a very long time, it feels like we're on the edge of our seats and on our way.









Cowboys versus Redskins - now that just sounds correct.


Hello friends, JimmiJo here along with THE Spaceman Spiff. Space is already on the sidelines, yucking it up with the important people. Me? I'm thinking how grateful I am for the 3-car accident on the beltway...


If you cannot get up for this game, there isn't enough viagra made on earth for you. After all; the Redskins are hosting their eternal rival, the Cowboys. Winner will be sitting on top of the division, with a truckload of bragging rights.


What's not to like?


Well, for starters, everybody and their mom is inactive. Chris Thompson Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar; all inactive. What a time to have have your top two receivers out. The chatter here in the press box is Washington should do what they can to bring in receivers - to include making a trade with the Raiders for Amari Cooper.


Then there's the question of which Redskins show up? They could come out and light Dallas up. Or, post an anemic effort to suffer another embarrassing lost. Neither would surprise me.


One this is for sure, the distribution in fans is something like 55-45 Redskins. Already an embarrassment. Until you consider this team has done much to earn the lack of support.


Still, you have offer the finger in the middle to those fans who sold their tickets to Dallas fans. What were you thinking?


Back shortly...




The Redskins declared the following players as inactive:

o   No. 10 WR Paul Richardson Jr.

o   No. 23 CB Quinton Dunbar

o   No. 25 RB Chris Thompson

o   No. 30 S Troy Apke

o   No. 55 C Casey Dunn

o   No. 74 T Geron Christian Sr.

o   No. 80 WR Jamison Crowder


The team held a touching tribute to my friend Rich Tandler, who passed this week.


Follow along in-game on Twitter @Skinscast




Did you hear the one about the team that got chance after chance but couldn't score more than a touchdown?

That's right; they are tied at 7 at the half and completely anemic in the second half.


"Against the run of play" is a term you hear in soccer all the time. It is applicable here. It means the better team is either tied or trailing.


Whoever said football was fair?


Washington needs to find a way to get hot in the second half. The Dallas Cowboys are infinitely beatable today.




How do you like them apples?

The Washington Redskins sent them home happy today. Along the way my ulcer started bleeding, I threw up twice, and peed the chair I was sitting in.

Up by 10 at the two-minute warning, I did not expect to be hoping for a missed field goal to avoid overtime. But there I was, crossing fingers and toes and noticibly relieved when the ball bounced off the upright to seal the win.

A lot of things had to go right for the Dallas Cowboys to even have a shot at the end. A lot more things went right for Washington.

The Redskins held Ezekiel Elliot to just 33-yards rushing. They forced two fumbles by Dak Prescott, one of which went for a Redskins' touchdown, and sacked him a total of four times. 

Ryan Kerrigan had his best day of the season, sacking Prescott twice, one of which caused the fumble for the score. Preston Smith scored the touchdown off of the fumble. Jonathan Allen and and Ryan Anderson each logged a sack. DJ Swearinger hit Prescott square on the ball to cause the other fumble by Prescott.

And then there was the offense.

Adrian Peterson defies time and physics in what he can still do on the football field. His ability to change directions instantly, the speed he still posesses, and his ability to play through multiple injuries is astonishing. He ran for 99-yards on 24-carries with a 4.1 yard per carry average. 

Kapri Bibbs, the other back; added just 13-yards rushing. But as a receiver he caught 4 passes for 43-yards and the first touchdown of the game.

Josh Doctson reeled in 3-receptions for 43-yards. Jordan Reed added 43-yards on his two catches. Maurice Harris logged 2 for 22-yards.

Alex Smith had a adequate outting. He went 14/25 for 178 yards and a touchdown for a quarterback rating of 98.1. He was sacked once.

His obvious miss of Jeremy Sprinkle running free in the end zone is almost cause for termination. Connect on that throw and the game is much more comfortable at the end. 

The real stars of this show were the fat guys in the trenches. The offensive line that opened highway lane-wide holes for Peterson to run through, and the defensive line that wreaked such havok all game. 


But we have to thank Dallas as well for things like an illegal snap to back the field goal unit up at the end. The holding call that negated the big gain one play before the sack/fumble/score was huge. They seemed to find ways to beat themselves.


Despite the above, Dallas was right there until last miss that struck the goalpost. The win was entirely too close for comfort.


But now that's it's over, I sure am enjoying the win.


The Redskins sit alone at the top of the division after 6-weeks. They travel to New York next week where they can continue to help themselves with a win.


But just because New York currently resides in the toilet does not mean they intend to roll-over and play dead. Washington will have their hands full if they don't get more production out of the offense.


That's next week though. For now, I am intent on  enjoying an excellent victory. Against the Dallas Cowboys.


What's not to like?


Talk soon!






Redskins 23 - 17 Panthers


Will the real Washington Redskins please stand up?


Hello friends, JimmiJo here, joined by the Spaceman Spiff. 


Seriously, which team will we get to see today. The one solid in all quarters, playing fundamentally sound ball and making us believe that just maybe, this year they could be hanging around at playoff time? Or will it be the one who decides not all receivers should be covered? You know, the one that seems to believe no national embarrassment is too great to suffer.


If I am on this team on this day, I am playing like I have been punked-out on national TV (because I was) and I have something to prove. I am playing with a degree of urgency yet to be seen this year. I am playing like the season is on the line today. Because it literally is as far as I am concerned.


Speak amongst yourselves...




The Redskins declared the following players as inactive:

o   No. 25 RB Chris Thompson

o   No. 30 S Troy Apke

o   No. 39 CB Adonis Alexander

o   No. 74 T Geron Christian Sr.

o   No. 77 G Shawn Lauvao

o   No. 80 WR Jamison Crowder

o   No. 99 DL Caleb Brantley


Ok gang, showtime. Here's to a good game with no injuries. You can follow me live on Twitter @Skinscast. 


See you at the half.




Great start, poor ending. They need to produce in the 2nd half to win.




This team is consistently inconsistent.


I’m just glad I caught them on the good week. And if there was ever a time to go for two in a row, it’s this week.


I was poised to ask the players how much last week had to do with this. I didn’t have to. Most of the guys I interviewed spoke about getting the bad taste of last week out of their mouth.


To a man they wanted to put it behind them. No better way than to do so with a win against a 3-1 Carolina Panthers. The win preserves Washington’s first place position in the division.


If we are looking for heroes we have to start with Adrian Peterson. Coming in with multiple injuries (shoulder, knee, ankle), all he did was run for 97-yards on 17-carries with a 5.7 yard per carry average. The man is ageless, looking more like a first-year back rather than a guy near the end of his career.


On the other side of the ball was Josh Norman. It was clear in speaking to him following the game that the chatter in the media was starting to get to him. This game was important enough for him that he called a defensive backs meeting this week to get everybody on the same page.


Norman payed like the all-star the Redskins signed in 2016. In fact, the interception was his first since week 16 of 2016. But he wasn’t done. Norman punched out the ball to force a fumble later on a critical drive, robbing the Panthers of an opportunity to score.


Given the talk about Norman and the manner in which the New Orleans Saints bludgeoned Washington last week, it was fitting the game came down to a defensive stand that resulted in Carolina giving up the ball on downs.


This was a total team effort for Washington, with all areas contributing.


Alex Smith went 21-of-36 for 163-yards and two touchdowns. He finished with a passer-rating of 88.1.


Jordan Reed had a relatively quiet five receptions for 36-yards to lead the receivers. Vernon Davis on the other hand, made some noise bringing in 3-receptions for 48-yards to include a beautiful touchdown grab on a seam route that left him largely uncovered.


Smith did such a good job of looking off the safety that by the time he turned back to fire down field, Davis was running free and clear into the end zone.


Another hero on the day was Dustin Hopkins. All he did was kick a 6-yard field goal, the longest of his career. I asked the coach if he had discussed the kick with Hopkins prior to making the decision. Gruden told me it was special teams coach Ben Kotwica who proclaimed Hopkins ready.


“I thought it was a 53-yarder,” said Gruden. “When I heard it was a 56-yarder I thought about calling a timeout.

He didn’t and Hopkins made him look smart.


The Redskins fare best when they score first. They must be aware of this as they started red hot, jumping out to a 17-point lead before the Panthers got off the snide.


A total of 9-unanswered points later, Washington scored early in the fourth quarter to bring the lead back to 11. That lasted officially 1-drive, as the Panthers marched down with relative ease to score a touchdown and bring the game within 3.


Washington then mounted another drive to register another field goal to take the lead back to 6.


Then a defensive stand was needed.


Carolina was able to move the back to the midfield with relative ease. Washington tightened up and it all came down to a 4th-and-5 at the Redskins 16 with 38-seconds remaining.


That was as far as they would go as Cam Newton skimmed the ball off of the field for a harmless incomplete.


It was a much need win. It keeps the Redskins in 1st place in the division at 3-2 with Dallas coming to town next Sunday.


What’s not to like?  

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