Sunday Night Football here in the District against the defending AFC champions? Sounds exciting. But also sounds like something that goes way past bedtime at the end of the weekend. Before you face the football chatter head on, here’s the Redskins Cheat Sheet to make it look like you managed to stay awake.
Here’s the clear thing with the 2010 ‘Skins: Mike Shanahan and his crew seem completely intent on keeping things interesting. Take last night’s loss to one of the top tier AFC teams, the Indianapolis Colts. Even though Peyton Manning was able to throw the ball all the live long day, the Colts only triumphed by 3 points mainly because the defense stepped up in the second half to bend, but not break, against Indy’s offense.
A few quick points to throw around the water cooler today after the jump.
In my Experience, There’s No Such Thing as Luck: Just like last week, the stats that pop the most involve just how many yards the defense is giving up, both on the ground and through the air. Another All-Pro quarterback came to FedEx last night, and Peyton Manning did almost everything you would expect: 307 yards, 2 touchdowns. But he also was quite lucky to watch the Redskins secondary drop three interceptions early in the game. While the defense is giving up yards, they are still swarming to the ball and making opportunistic plays – getting things together to recover three fumbles. Dominating the takeaway battle is one key way to make sure your team stays in the game, but it takes more than luck to win.
So You’re Saying There’s A Chance: Keeping things close was one way that Washington nearly pulled this one off. The other was some key fourth quarter possessions, including a 92-yard drive engineered by McNabb et al late in the period. The defense wouldn’t quit, either, holding the Colts to seven total plays after their eventual game winning field goal. There is no category in the standings for “moral victories,” but at least the Redskins are keeping things tight with good teams.
Torain, In Spain, Stays Mainly In the End Zone: Ryan Torain was a late draft pick by Mike Shanahan’s Broncos during the coach’s final season in Denver. Not ever a truly heralded back, Torain may have found his opening last night in his second game filling in for the injured Clinton Portis. Racking up 100 yards and two scores, Torain was probably even more impressive for shaking out more tackles than you could shake your fist at. McNabb needs a two-dimensional game to be effective, and Shanahan’s ability to convert solid contributors into star backs is a great sign for what this coach can do for the future of the franchise.
Next week, the Redskins travel to Chicago to face another team that seems to keep finding itself in close, low scoring contests…while leading the NFC North. Your cheat sheet on the Week 7 matchup with the Bears will be up Monday morning, fear not.