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GameBlog Redskins vs. Chiefs

GameBlog Redskins vs. Chiefs

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Turning Point: It’s usually a joke to say this, but it was the opening drive: A sharp, crisp, impressive drive with a horrid ending. Thirteen plays, almost seven minutes, all for naught when Jarred Allen, not of the Canton Allens, whips Chris Samuels and knocks the ball out of Mark Brunell’s hand. No tuck rule here, although Brunell had started his passing motion. At least three points down the drain there. On the road, against a quality team, you can’t let chances like that get away from you. This drive set the tone for the game.

They made it look easy: The Redskins’ second drive was a case of them just forcing their will on the KC defense. The Redskins had good rhythm, they got a big play and a lot of moderate gainers and just got it in with what will probably be Santana Moss’ shortest TD catch of the year. It looked like the same play they’d scored a few times earlier on this year. For a brief moment, I thought that Mike Sellers had shrunk dramatically as he had made the last two TD catches on that rollout play. Brunell threw to the same spot, only it was Moss there and not the big TE.

It had to happen: You can only ask for so many third-down runs by Brunell before he eventually coughs it up. Unlike his efforts against Dallas, Seattle, and Denver, he had defenders in the vicinity before he got the first. He couldn’t slide and he probably wasn’t aware of Allen behind him. The Chiefs made a deli sandwich special #8 sandwich out of Brunell and lost it.

Maybe it’s just me: Tapping the helmet of the quarterback, like Marcus Washington did to Trent Green on Chiefs’ first drive of the second half is 15 yards for roughing the passer, but a blow to the middle of the neck like Patrick Ramsey got in the opening game is not. Does anyone else find that a bit odd? All that being said, Marcus Washington has to know better than to do that. If you’re going to get the 15 yards anyway, at least get your money’s worth out of it.

Afterburners: Santana Moss has them. How often do you see a receiver make a run like that and the nearest player to him is on his own team and he’s trailing by five yards. There wasn’t a Chief in the picture. After about 50+ WR screens thrown since Gibbs returned, one finally pays off.

Son of Killer: It’s hard sitting on the bench all season, playing only special teams, and then carrying the ball in the third quarter of a tied NFL game. Still, you can’t cough it up, Rock Cartwright. You just can’t. The whole drive was identical to the first drive of the game in terms of momentum. Everything was working for the Redskins. It was a second and three play that he lost the ball on. If you move the ball like they have been and fail to put up points, you won’t win. Go back to the first paragraph here. You can’t give up chances to score. When they turn it around on you, that’s just one of those things that happens, but lose the opportunity to score is bigger.

Early Exit: with 1:40 to play, Moss catches his tenth pass of the game to convert a third down just prior to the Redskins’ TD that tied the game at 21. He wouldn’t catch another one the rest of the day.

The Game Winner: This was one right out of the playbook of Gibbs I and probably Vermeil I as well. Two play fakes, one to the back, one to an end around and then throw the screen. No doubt the original versions of these plays called for the left offensive tackle, Willie Roaf in this case, to hold in order to prevent the timing of the play from being disrupted. If not for the hold, Philip Daniels is in Green’s face and the play is dead. And, on the chalkboard back in the early 80’s and on the PowerPoint today, there’s a linebacker who doesn’t react to the play, who is engaging a blocker in front of him while Holmes is dashing by just behind him. Of course, Warrick Holman is playing in front of a linebacker who is benched in part because he overreacts to plays. I guess it’s better not to react at all.

Great Hit, Bad Luck: The Redskins haven’t forced many fumbles this season, but when they have the ball certainly hasn’t bounced their way. Early in the fourth, Sean Taylor, as he seems to do at least once each game, came in like a guided missile and popped the ball out of Homles’ grasp. It went into the air and, like a guided missile, albeit a tumbling one, it went straight into the hands of Tony Gonzalez. No crazy bounce, no ball resting on the ground waiting to be snared by a defender, just an easy grab for the tight end.

Fourth and inches: There’s not a chance in hell that Holmes made the first down when Vermeil decided to go for it with 10 minutes left to go. That spot was generous by a full half yard. The taped reaction they showed from Vermeil immediately after the play was a reaction of disgust because he knew that they didn’t make it, not one of celebration. It may not have had an effect on the outcome of the game, but it may have. That play happened at the KC 41, the Redskins got the punt after the next three plays at their own 15. In a seven point game, 45 yards of field position is huge. Not that KC would have played the same defense, but the Redskins did gain 45 yards on the subsequent drive. Perhaps Gibbs should have challenged. We were never shown a different angle, but there’s not a chance that he made that.

Why?: The play after the two-minute warning is a head-scratcher to say the least. You can run and set it up so that you punt from near midfield to a team with no timeouts left with about 1:15 to go. It didn’t cost the Chiefs the game, but that’s why it came so close.

Long time: There were 59 seconds left on the clock when the ball was snapped on the third and 10 play from the KC 48. The play got the first down, but by the time that Brunell threw the ball away in the end zone from the 33 on the subsequent play, only 29 second remained. I’m generally not in favor of spiking the ball unless you’re inside of 10 seconds left in the half, but using up over half the time left in the game hurt a lot. Had Brunell been able to buy 10-15 seconds in exchange for a down, he would have been able to throw short of the end zone in the middle of the field and would have had a chance to stop the clock.

Keepaway: The Redskins have a horrid turnover ratio, but it’s not the fault of the offense. Yes, they’ve turned the ball over more than the average team and that, on the face of it, cost them the game today. Subtract three points from the Redskins on the turnover on their first drive, add seven to KC on the Cartwright fumble and you have ten points in a seven-point game But the important thing is the ratio, the differential. And that number was awful for the Redskins today, and it has been all year, because the defense can’t take the ball away from the other team. The Chiefs put the ball on the ground twice today, the Redskins three times. Washington lost all three, KC recovered both of theirs. That defies the odds and don’t give me that stuff about practicing it. Recovering a fumble in the NFL is almost 100% luck with the rest due to dirty play in the pile. The Redskins have been extremely unlucky.

You are what your record says you are: And the Redskins are a 3-2 team, tied for second in the division and tied for last in the division. They could have won either of the two games they’ve lost and they could easily have lost any of the games they won. If they can get good enough and lucky enough to take the ball away from the other team on occasion, they will be just fine.

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

RELATED: BEST AND WORST OF REDSKINS' FIRST-ROUND DRAFT HISTORY

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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