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Well, it was a good run


CBMGreatOne

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This game came down to 2 plays, in my mind.

1. Carlos Rogers has to score on the first play of the first Seattle TD drive. As it turned out, that play was arguably worth 14 points. We didn't score, they did.

2. John Hall absolutely cannot miss that kick.

I am proud of the team, and I'm glad they got further than anyone besides Redskins faithful ever thought they could, but if those plays pan out the way they are supposed to, we win the game.

We won the turnover battle, we were fortunate that Alexander sustained a concussion, but circumstances as they were, we had our chances to win, but couldn't get it done.

Our margin for error is simply too small when we play the kind of offense we played in the final three weeks of this season.

I saw explosiveness and potency from our offense in the fourth quarter, but until then we played too close to the vest, tried too hard not to make mistakes, and floundered as badly as we did against Tampa. We CAN'T wait through 45 minutes of football for our playmakers to have the ball in space. We MUST impose our will on defenses by making them respect our offense's upside, and this will not happen when we institute a game plan like we did for the first 7 quarters of the playoffs.

You don't necessarily have to be successful with the downfield passing game to open up the running game, but you sure as heck have to threaten the defense with it.

I know that many of you will be quick to point out the graphic that they showed during the game that illustrated that under Gibbs we were 15-1 in games we rushed more than passed, but only 2-15 in games where we passed more than we rushed, but these stats are overused and overstated all the time. The reason for this disparity is that when we are ahead, we NEVER pass in the fourth quarter. We have had the luxury of not having to pass late in most of our wins.

As a corrollary, you can see that when our offense doesn't click early in games and we suffer 4 or 5 consecutive three and outs (all too common), we are putting ourselves in position to lose the game, which results in lots of passing attempts in the fourth quarter.

My contention is that in those games that we haven't been successful with the ball control offense, we have stubbornly refused to test the defense with attempts to gain yardage in big chunks.

I believe this game, and the Dallas game from week 2 are strong evidence to support my claim, insomuch as the offense seemed to magically be able to move the ball late after doing exactly NOTHING for the first three quarters.

In addition, this philosophy hurt us during our three straight losses to Tampa, San Diego, and Oakland. We only use 20% of the playbook when we have a late lead.

Essentially what we are doing is playing on a smaller field, so every play is played with the same geographic limitations as a red zone play. (Maybe this is why we are so good in the red zone, we are playing with a red zone philosophy all over the field).

This offense is at its best when we are consciously trying to involve Moss and Cooley. Portis's job becomes easier and the opposing defense is on their heels. Against Dallas in week 15, we were able to generate positive plays out of our offense simply by outmuscling them and outexecuting them. This same strategy was enough to tread water in games against Arizona in week 14, Philly in week 17, and Tampa in the Wild Card round, but these games are going to be the exception to the rule.

When I think of what we should be trying to accomplish on offense, I'm looking at the week 16 game against the Giants. Look for good matchups down the field, one on one with Moss, Cooley, and hopefully next year either Reggie Wayne or Eric Moulds. We HAVE to keep team's guessing. While we are tough enough to impose our very basic offensive game plan to win most games, I know in my heart that this offense has the potential for greatness, and could have acheived greatness even this year.

Additionally, we have the oft-discussed QB issue, but I'm not going to get into that in this post.

My quick offseason shopping list:

First priority: Legit #2 WR (Wayne, Houshmandzadeh, Moulds)

In no particular order: #3 Corner, Pass rushing DE or DT perhaps both, Guard (As well as he played, Ray Brown should not be starting in any playoff game because, he's old) and perhaps even one additional WR.

If we hold serve at every other position, I fully believe we have the potential to be a sick team next year, and it's going to be a loooooooooooooong offseason of anticipation.

Cheers guys.

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