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ES Coverage: 2011 Redskins vs Patriots (Final)


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ES Coverage: 2011 Redskins vs Patriots




Patriots 34 - Redskins 27


Hello everyone and welcome. I'm Joel, alongside murf, and we are getting set to bring you this week's Redskins game, live from FedEx Field.

On this cold December afternoon, the struggling Washington Redskins will square off against the AFC powerhouse New England Patriots. And the ‘Skins lackluster offense must compete without two of their most important components - Trent Williams and Fred Davis. Not to mention the fact that the Patriots are looking to secure a spot in the playoffs with a win today and a Jets loss, meaning they will certainly be motivated. Even the most dedicated and optimistic of Redskins fans have to admit that it will take something of a miracle for Washington to come away with the W today.

But, as Hans Gruber told Theo in Die Hard: “It's Christmas ... it's the time of miracles.”

By no means am I telling you that I think the ‘Skins will win. But, don’t fret, Redskins faithful, because I am telling you there’s a chance.

If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is look at the Patriots’ last game. New England took on the winless Indianapolis Colts and nearly blew a 31-3 lead late in the game. The Colts brought the score within seven and had a shot to tie things up with an onside kick late in the game (though the Patriots ultimately recovered it).

So if the Colts can get that close, why not the Redskins? The Patriots are good, but not infallible. And if the ‘Skins can get something going on offense and can keep from making the types of classic drive-killing mistakes Rex Grossman is known for, they have a chance to shock the world today.

But the real key to this game is going to be the Redskins defense. Namely, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, who have combined 12.5 sacks coming into this game. If they can get pressure on the Golden Boy, Tom Brady, they can keep the Patriots from getting an insurmountable lead. And if you think I’m overselling Orakpo and Kerrigan, just ask Brady how good they are.

"I think these two guys are right up there in terms of their ability to set the edge in the running game, to collapse a pocket, to strip sack the quarterback,” Brady said in an interview this week. “Even if they're not sacking the quarterback they're forcing the ball out quickly. They're good players. I think they're the key to the whole defense."

If Kerrigan and Orakpo can pressure Brady and the ‘Skins secondary can keep his receivers in check, then the defense will do its part to keep the team in the game. Then it will be up to the ‘Skins offense, namely Roy Helu racking up another 100+ yard rushing day, to win this thing. The team won’t have Fred Davis, but they will have Jabar Gaffney, who will hopefully be looking to stick it to his old team.

But perhaps the biggest test for the offense will be either Sean Locklear or Willie Smith, one of whom will start in place of Trent Williams. Whoever Williams’ replacement ends up being, he’ll have to face off against another player looking to make a statement against his former team - Andre Carter, who has nine sacks already going into this game.

Hopefully, if nothing else, this will end up being a competitive game and not a blowout. In some ways, seeing the ‘Skins lose a close game to the Patriots would feel like an accomplishment at this point in the season. But maybe, just maybe, if we’ve all been good little boys and girls, Santa will reward us with an early Christmas miracle.



For the Washington Redskins:

- No. 18 WR Terrence Austin

- No. 30 S LaRon Landry

- No. 48 RB Ryan Torain

- No. 55 LB Markus White

- No. 58 OL Erik Cook

- No. 92 DL Chris Baker

- No. 93 DE Kentwan Balmer

For the New England Patriots:

- No. 15 QB Ryan Mallett

- No. 25 S Patrick Chung

- No. 34 RB Shane Vereen

- No. 55 LB Brandon Spikes

- No. 63 OL Dan Connolly

- No. 76 T Sebastian Vollmer

- No. 98 DL Gerard Warren




To see ExtremeSkins game photos click HERE



To listen to comments from Brandon Banks click HERE

To listen to comments from Stephen Bowen click HERE

To listen to comments from London Fletcher click HERE

To listen to comments from Roy Helu click HERE

To listen to comments from Ryan Kerrigan click HERE

To listen to comments from Will Montgomery click HERE

To listen to comments from Santana Moss click HERE

To listen to comments from Brian Orakpo click HERE

To listen to comments from Donte Stallworth click HERE

To listen to comments from Josh Wilson click HERE

To listen to comments from Darrel Young click HERE



Well, we may not have gotten the Christmas miracle we were hoping for. But, after a disappointing season, seeing the Redskins go toe-to-toe with the perennial juggernaut that is New England Patriots still counts for something. As frustrating as this season has been as a whole, you still see glimmers of what this team could be with a few personnel changes and a little bit of luck.

Take, for example, Roy Helu, who became the first Redskins rookie to rush for three back-to-back 100-yard games. And he did it without Trent Williams or Jammal Brown blocking and without Fred Davis in there helping the pass game to open up the run. While Ryan Torain has turned out to be a bust and the running game has had its share of uncertainty this season, it now looks like Helu is a guy this team can build around next year.

And, best of all, Helu has confidence in Mike Shanahan and the system. In his postgame comments, it was clear that the soft spoken Helu believes in the Redskins and feels they are destined for greater things.

“[The Patriots] are a good organization,” Helu said, “They’re a winning organization. And that’s what we’re going to become. I’m very confident in that.”

There’s also Brandon Banks, who last season made waves with his impressive kick returns. He hasn’t been able to break as many big runs this season as he did last year, but Banks found a way to make a big play in this game. On a beautifully designed trick play, as the corner and safety bit on a reverse, Banks rolled out and connected on a 49-yard pass play to Santana Moss.

The team as a whole played well too. They managed to trump the Patriots in first downs (25 to 22), total net yards (463 to 431) and red zone efficiency (40% to 25%). Watching the game, you certainly couldn’t tell which one of these teams was 9-3 and looking to secure a playoff spot and which team was 4-8 with nothing left to play for.

All that being said, a loss is still a loss. And it was clear that many of the Redskins players were incredibly frustrated after the game.

When asked how it felt to go toe-to-toe with New England, Darrel Young responded: “Frustrating because we still lost. There are no moral victories in football.”

Santana Moss was also incredibly frustrated, but for a slightly different reason. Moss felt that the offensive pass interference call against him, which negated a Redskins touchdown that would have tied that game, was unfounded.

“I still find it hard to believe that it’s alright for someone to mug us at five yards, but we can’t keep the guy off us, so they called pass interference on me,” Moss said. “How can I get open if a guy puts his hands on me? So I put my hands back on him. It’s stuff that’s been going on for years, but we’re wrong when we do it, but they’re okay. That’s the rule.”

London Fletcher was also frustrated by a call in the game. Fletcher was flagged 15-yards for allegedly hitting Tom Brady in the helmet after the quarterback took off on a run play, though replays made it clear that Fletcher hit him in the chest.

“He waited until the last minute to slide and he was a runner at that point in time,” Fletcher explained. “The referee thought I hit him in the head. I didn’t hit him in the head. I thought I hit him in the shoulder.”

After the call, you could see Fletcher was passionately pleading his case to the refs. A much calmer and more reserved Fletcher explained why he was arguing with the refs after the play.

“You try to explain your situation, but they don’t really listen to you that much,” said Fletcher.

Still, while guys like Fletcher and Moss were left feeling frustrated by calls and the team as a whole took no real pride in their “moral” victory, there was a lot to feel good about as a Redskins fan. Maybe we didn’t get a Christmas miracle, but we did see that this team is capable of hanging in there with a team like the Patriots. As the team goes forward, this week’s performance is certainly something to build off of.


It’s safe to say that expectations were low heading into the weekend, as the Washington Redskins hosted the New England Patriots.

That’s because, if the season ended Sunday, one team was playing for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs while the other was in the hunt for a top five pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. One team was 9-3 and featured first-ballot Hall of Famer Tom Brady, while the other was a 4-8 squad that trots out Rex Grossman each and every week.

And, oh by the way, the Redskins were without the following Week 1 starters: left tackle Trent Williams, right tackle Jammal Brown, guard Kory Lichtensteiger, running back Tim Hightower, tight end Chris Cooley and tight end Fred Davis.

Even though New England had somehow never won a road game against Washington, there was little reason to believe the Redskins could make it competitive — let alone win the game.

And yet, after Washington got off to its customarily slow start — spotting New England a 14-3 lead just over nine minutes into the game — the Redskins ended up giving Brady and friends more of a fight than they bargained for.

Led by the one-two combo of Grossman and rookie running back Roy Helu, one of the least-heralded offenses in football amassed 431 total yards while playing some of the most enjoyable football ‘Skins fans have seen all year.

Regardless of how bad the New England defense is, 270 yards and 20 points in one half is outstanding for an offensive-challenged offense like Washington.

The Redskins’ offense was a dream come true for the Shanaclan — with seemingly anything they drew up in the sand executed to perfection. Washington was a perfect balance on offense, with 33 passes thrown, 34 rushing attempts and more than 36 minutes time of possession.

There isn’t a team in the league who wouldn’t take that level of production and balanced playcalling in a heartbeat. So while the Patriots walked away victorious, with a hard-fought 34-27 win, there was still plenty to be satisfied with for the hometown faithful.

“When you are playing a good team like that, who is, year in and year out competitive for the Super Bowl, I thought our guys on offense and defense battled for 60 minutes,” Grossman said. “They gave their best effort.”

And let’s just say that, even though the won the game, the Patriots weren’t exactly busting out the champagne as they left town.

“We started off strong, kinda faded away in the middle of the game, finished the game strong,” said Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo. “But it won’t be good enough any other week. This week, we’re fortunate enough to win the game, but any other week, it won’t be.”


The biggest subplot of this game involved players facing their former teams. New England defensive end Andre Carter said all the right things in the days leading up to this game, but it was clear throughout the contest how much this game meant to him.

For the Redskins, receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth had the same opportunity to show their former employer what they were missing.

And while hyped moments like this rarely live up to the build up, all three players had solid outings Sunday.

Carter started the game with a sack-fumble that was recovered by defensive lineman Vince Wilfork to give the Patriots an early 7-0 lead, and finished the game with five tackles and three quarterback hits.

Stallworth had four catches for 96 yards — including a 51-yard bomb* that helped get the offense going early on, and Gaffney had six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.

“They played great,” said Grossman of Stallworth and Gaffney. “They ran good routes, were aggressive to the football when the ball was in the air and they separated from their defenders. They’re both really good players. I’m glad the Patriots got rid of them.”

*After the game, Stallworth said that his 51-yarder was the same play that the Redskins used successfully against Seattle for Anthony Armstrong’s 50-yard touchdown grab. Makes you wonder why they haven’t tried to bust that play out a little more often with it working so well these days.


Grossman said after the game that the biggest reason the passing game was able to get going was because of the strong performance of Helu, who had career highs in carries (27) and rushing yards (126) against the Patriots.

Not only did Helu become the first running back to amass 100 yards against New England this season, but he also became Washington’s first rookie running back to rush for at least 100 yards in three consecutive games.

In fact, the 23-year-old has 73 carries for 334 yards and two touchdowns during that span, and looks every bit prepared to be this team’s feature back for the foreseeable future.

“I think the last couple of games we’ve been getting better in the running area,” said head coach Mike Shanahan. “I think Roy has been doing an excellent job. He’s averaging close to five yards a carry. We’re giving him more of a load, feeling a lot more comfortable with it. I thought [rookie running back Evan] Royster came in and played exceptionally well when Roy was a little tired. Good effort.”

In a lost season like this, it’s natural for fans to look for any and all positive signs to embrace. Well, even though this season has been an utter disappointment, seeing Helu get better each and every Sunday is an absolutely encouraging sign.


With the healthy balance of passing and rushing plays, the Redskins were able to keep the Patriots on their proverbial toes throughout the contest. And when you have a defense on the ropes, that’s the ideal time to reach into your bag of tricks and go for the kill shot.

In related news, Washington scored an improbable touchdown pass when return specialist Brandon Banks tossed a 49-yard strike to receiver Santana Moss that no one in the stadium could have possibly seen coming.

For starters, Banks rarely even gets on the field during offensive plays. When he does, he’s rarely involved in the play.

But when his number was called, the speedy returner made the most out of it and produced one of the most exciting plays of 2011.

Just how improbable was this touchdown pass? None of media members who have covered the team for any length of time even knew Banks was left handed, so when he pulled the ball down to throw it there was definitely a “What the hell?” moment. But the play worked to perfection and really helped to give the Redskins momentum when they appeared to be on the verge of getting blown out.


For as good as the offense has been of late, Jim Haslett’s defense has been the exact opposite. What was once the strength of the Redskins has turned into a liability just as the offense finally appears capable of putting points on the board consistently.

And that, my friends, is a damned shame.

Even though Brady was the first quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards against the Redskins this season, they’ve still allowed a whopping 68 points in their last two games.

The Redskins’ offense has ever reason in the world to struggle these days — with the sheer amount of injuries they’ve faced and the lack of playmakers in the lineup. But the defense (who apparently forgot how to do something as routine as tackle) was where the front office spent the bulk of their resources on last offseason and they’re simply not living of to expectations.

Put it this way — the Redskins offense has racked up 93 points over the last four games. But the team is just 1-3 during that stretch because the defense has allowed 112 points. Simply put, that’s inexcusable.

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I'm picking Skins to win. I think the Patriots have already penciled us in as a "W." Patriots cannot win this game if they take us lightly. By us I certainly do not mean me, rather the players who are actually going to suit up - them....I've been suspended for "conduct detrimental to human decency." Don't ask.....

Skins have most of their troubles in pass defense against QB's like Vick who can move around in the pocket. Pocket passers are our DC's best friend! Skins put enormous pressure on the OL, unfortunately they do not "stay in the lanes" - that won't be a factor in this game.

Won't miss Fred Davis as much a lot of you guys think. Logan Pulsan can play - he's not the game-breaker that FD is, but he's going to be a fine replacement. Coaches are very high on him. That being said, we are fine at receiver. It's the "thrower" that needs help. :mad:

As for missing Trent, we will be forced to alter our game plan like we did when Trent was out before. It took a while, but we made adjustments to him being gone - the coaches are ready.

Make no mistake, we would have beaten the Jets had running the ball been an option in the second half. Having Grossment pass the ball like we were down 10 points, is sure to....well.....put us down 10 points. :censored:


Patriots 24

So saith the Polywog. That's my story, and If things get out of hand there's always the "EDIT" button! :cool:

Wouldn't it be wonderful if after every Patriot score everyone in FED-EX shouted-- CHEAT! In honor of our opposing coach? I don't have much hope for this encounter, but in this cheating year and when he demolished Gibbs, Bellichik earned my loathing.

Better yet, we could have a bunch of guys pretend to film them......:D

Know what be even sweeter?



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Hey all! JimmiJo here. Noleaf is having technical difficulties and asked me to step in a bit. Not that you should expect any real value but i will try to offer some insight. The big news here is that Jamal Brown has injured himself in pregame warmups. This will be real interesting in terms of who they trot out to start. My feeling on this game is that the Redskins have got to have some sustained drives to keep the ball out of Tom Brady's hands. If they can do that, they may have a chance.


Update: Jamal Brown has a right-groin injury and is questionable...

BTW, check me out on Twitter @skinscast

Rex has got to know to get the ball out and not take the sack in the end zone...sigh

7-3 Patriots - Appreciate the offense showing moxy after the debacle in the end zone. But to have 1st-and-goal at the 2 and have to settle for a field goal typifies the season so far...

14-10 Pats. The Patriots' offense is making mincedmeat out of the Redskins' defense, with guys like D Hall standing there watching instead of tackling, but there is no quit in Rex and the offense...

Ok now that was special. Reverse Helu to Banks and throw to Moss for TD. I'm starting to feel this now...

Halftime - Got to give the Redskins all the credit int he world for fighting it out here. We have a shootout underway.

Make sure you follow Noleaf on Twitter @freemisterclark

Postgame - Well that was fun while it lasted. Hated to see the loss but loved the production. Shanahan told us following the game he would have definitely considered going for two if they had scored. That would have made my week either way.

Moss was more than a little upset with the officiating, saying the Redskins have to play against the opponent AND the refs. Not sure the league will appreciate his comments too much but there it is...

Anyway it was fun. As a sign of the times I find it funny that many of you on Twitter are joyful at the loss as it ensures a better draft pick. All I know is that with Philly winning today the Redskins have again settled at the very bottom of the division...


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This was a great game, Skins played their hearts out again, but without a W. However, we have unearthed some great talent on both sides of the ball. The most disappointing thing for me was the dinky pass play at the end of the game, had Santana held on to the ball i am not sure it would have done us any good that pass needed to be in the endzone for the 6. But on the positive side we have some great talent getting ready for next season and already i am ready for season 2012

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Thanks to JimmiJo for the assist during the game as I dealt with some technical difficulties. I apologize for not being able to give you snarky comments during the game. Though hopefully some of you were following along with my Twitter @freemisterclark

The photos, audio and my postgame thoughts are now posted above, so please check them out if you have a minute.

And thanks for all of the comments in these threads this season. I really appreciate all of the feedback.

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i know it sucks that we lost but i just wanted to bump this thread up and let everyone know that nfl network is going to be carrying the skins pats games this week on nfl replay. it starts tonight at 8pm(i think) for anyone that missed it or is interested in watching the game again.

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