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Paul Woody: Team lived up to expectations


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Team lived up to expectations



Monday, October 24, 2005

LANDOVER, Md. For your Monday morning consideration and participation, a word association game about Washington Redskins opponents:

The 2000 Arizona Cardinals (3-13): Bad.

The 1989 Dallas Cowboys (1-15). Worse

The 2005 San Francisco 49ers (1-5 and counting). Worst.

You get extra credit if you identified the Redskins as the lone team Dallas beat in 1989.

Part two, a quiz: Pick two turning points in yesterday's game between the 49ers and the Redskins.

Your answers are correct if you said: Turning point one came last spring when the NFL released its 2005 schedule.

Turning point two came when the 49ers actually showed up, against everyone's better judgment, except, of course, for the Redskins, who needed a game such as this.

But give the 49ers credit for honoring their obligations.

The Redskins did exactly what they were supposed to do. An inferior opponent came into their stadium, and the Redskins dominated them in every aspect.

San Francisco coach Mike Nolan was not happy with the result, a 52-17 loss.

"They are a good football team," Nolan said of the Redskins. "But how good is hard for me to say since we were so poor today."

The 49ers find themselves where the Redskins were in 1994: young, inexperienced and ineffective at quarterback, thin at every skill position and struggling in the trenches. It's only taken the Redskins 11 years to get those shortcomings corrected.

The good news for the 49ers is that they're in the hunt for the first pick in the 2006 draft.

The bad news for the Redskins is that the 49ers are not in their division.

Only coach Joe Gibbs was worried about the 49ers, but there might not be enough Prozac currently in production to assuage Gibbs' worries about all the things that might go wrong for his team.

Even in this victory, Gibbs found reason for concern.

"We'd been making some yards and first downs, but not scoring points," Gibbs said. "I hope we didn't use them all up."

Gibbs was concerned that this game would be like the five before it and come down to the last play. Instead, this game wasn't decided until the last play of the first Redskins drive, which was a touchdown pass.

After that, it was academic. The question was not who would win but how many points the Redskins would score.

Things could not have gone much better for Washington. Linebacker LaVar Arrington returned to the defensive rotation and led the team with nine tackles. Running back Clinton Portis scored his first rushing touchdown since the invention of the forward pass. Actually, it was since Game 13 of the 2004 season, but it felt like forever to Portis and the Redskins.

And the Redskins had their way with an opponent and escaped with a minimum of physical damage defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin suffered a strained groin that kept him out most of the second half.

"A team like this can jump up and bite you," Griffin said.

He meant that figuratively, but in a very literal sense, that was about the only way the 49ers could have done anything to hurt the Redskins.

In years past, this game would not have done a lot for the Redskins. During the first Gibbs era, they expected to dominate teams. But the era between Gibbs' first exit and his return was filled with underwhelming performances. It has been a while since they manhandled a team, and it doesn't matter that the 49ers are representative of qwhat an NFL team should be right now.

The Redskins' confidence is growing.

They won big yesterday. That's what they were expected to do and for the first time in a long while, the Redskins lived up to their expectations instead of living down to them.

Contact Paul Woody at (804) 649-6444 or pwoody@timesdispatch.com

This story can be found at: http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1128767713171&path=!sports&s=1045855934844

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Classic Gibbs: "We'd been making some yards and first downs, but not scoring points. I hope we didn't use them all up."

He's always used that to keep the team from being overconfident after a big win like this. God this feels like 1987. And I'm loving every minute of it!

*edit* Changed date from 88 to 87. Getting waaaayyyy too late.

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Yup. Same ole same ole. A 52-17 win (NOT 31-14, or 28-10, or 24-6 with 3 'skin turnovers).

Yet the piece starts off (oh so originally, repeating for the umpteenth time every tired point made even before the game was played) minimizing any thing that could be construed as a meaningful positive out of the game and goes on in that fashion until it's past halfway-over before giving a little credit back. Yeh. That's just being paid to write a "balanced" article and not a "fan" version. Balanced = definite negative accent.

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