Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Redskins - Seahawks: With a whimper

And so it ends. The thrill ride of the Redskins season ended far from home in the other Washington at Quest Field. The Seahawks ended the Skins playoff dream 20-10. The defense showed themselves to be a playoff caliber squad, as they have since the '99 season. But the game highlighted the well known, overly documented flaws of the offense -- not enough weapons to score.

In the Tampa Bay game, the defense turned the ball over twice in the first quarter. That led to two touchdowns, one scored by the defense, and the Redskins played from the lead throughout the game. The defense did the same at Seattle, but that did not lead to points. So the Skins were forced to do what they were ill-equipped to do, play catch up.

Early in the season, the Redskins discovered the long ball. Rather, they discovered that Santana Moss could get open and catch the ball on deep routes. After the first Dallas game, the Redskins spent the next nine contests basing its offense on the big play. They learned two things. David Patton is not the receiver Moss is, and no other wide receiver can catch the ball. Well, a healthy James Thrash is reliable on short routes and can field punts, but apart from Moss, the receivers are not even Rod Gardner quality. That's really bad. The second best receiver is H-back, tight end Chris Cooley.

The big play infatuation ended after eleven games (5-6 record). Then the Redskins went back to Gibbs ball, stifling defense, turnovers and ball control; football the old fashion way. And it worked. The Skins ripped five straight wins to take the last wild card slot. After winning its first playoff game at Tampa, the team and their fan base were deliriously happy.

Then the Seahawks rained on the parade. The defense did its part. They even knocked Shaun Alexander out of the game in the first half. None of that made up for the offense lack of production. By the end of the third quarter, the offense only managed 140+ total yards. They ended the game with over 240 yards passing, thanks to two big plays to Moss and Cooley. Moss caught a touchdown pass. Another drive ended with a missed field goal. Clinton Portis was worn down.

It was fitting that the last play of the Redskins season was a deep pass from Brunell to Moss, who was covered one-on-one by Marcus Trufant. The ball hit Moss, but Trufant got a hand on it to knock it away, and with it the Skins' playoff dreams.

The Redskins are an 8-8 team that achieved 11-7 performance thanks to player tenacity and excellent coaching. I can't wait 'til next year. Only five months to training camp. May God bless me with life and the funds to afford the season tickets. Because we're going to the Super Bowl!

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