Archive for October, 2010


DeAngelo Hall Saves The Day

DeAngelo Hall and Brian Orakpo both celebrate one of Hall's four interceptions

By Ben Linton

***My apologies on timeliness***

The Washington Redskins needed a big effort from one of their superstars on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, and they got just that. DeAngelo Hall tied an NFL-record with four interceptions in Chicago, propelling the Redskins to a 17-14 victory.

His first interception came in the 3rd quarter with the Bears driving at midfield leading 14-10. It squashed a big chance the Bears had to add to their lead, but the Redskins would give the ball right back as Donovan McNabb was intercepted by Daniel Manning two plays later. His second and best interception came the next possession as the Bears would drive all the way down to the Redskins 13 yard line. On 3rd and 7, Jay Cutler tried to connect with Johnny Knox on an out route, but Hall stepped in front and grabbed it with one hand, taking it 92-yards for a touchdown. This score put the Redskins up 17-14 and might easily be the best defensive play of the year.

Hall wasn’t done though. With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Hall jumped a slant pattern at the Bears 13 yard line, giving Washington great field position. A penalty and a sack backed the Redskins up to 19 yard line, where Graham Gano’s 37 yard field goal hit the upright and was no good. The Bears would get one last chance with 2:24 to go, but once again Hall would slam the door shut, intercepting Jay Cutler one last time on a deep route intended for Knox. From there, the Redskins were able to drain the  rest of the clock and escape from Chicago with the win, improving to 4-3 on the year.

With all the blame this Washington defense has taken this year, they have been very good at turning opponents over. They may give up the second most yards in the league, but are ninth in points against, ninth in interceptions, ninth in sacks, and first in fumble recoveries. This is a good defense and we should expect them to continue playing this way for the rest of the year. The stats are a bit inflated right now due to the fact that the Redskins have played three of the top five offenses in league in their first seven games, so their rankings will only get better.

The Redskins hit the road to face the 1-5 Detroit Lions next week before heading into a bye. I’m sure all Redskins fans remember what happened last year, so this game should not be overlooked by any means.


Ravens Escape Bills In “Trap Game”

Billy Cundiff Celebrates His Game-Winning Field Goal

By Jesse Jones

After coming off a very emotional loss in New England, being one game away from the bye week, Ed Reed returning for his first game of the season, and having the 2000 Super Bowl winning team being honored at halftime, there were many ways for the Baltimore Ravens to overlook the Buffalo Bills Sunday.

And it seemed the team did just that.

The Ravens took an early 3-0 lead thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff, but the momentum quickly changed.  The Bills took a 10-3 lead heading into the second quarter behind a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Lee Evans on the Bills following drive, and then forced a fumble on the kickoff which resulted in a Bill’s field goal.  In the beginning of the second, the Bills stretched their lead to 17-3 thanks to another 33-yard touchdown pass, only this time the pass was completed to Steve Johnson.

This is when the game turned into a shootout.

Baltimore responded on their next drive and cut the lead to a touchdown thanks to a Flacco-to-Heap 26-yard touchdown pass.  But, as they had done all first half, Buffalo scored yet another touchdown, this time a 20-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Lee Evans again.  Baltimore scored a field goal and cut the lead to 24-13 on their next drive.  Then, CJ Spiller fumbled the kickoff and Josh Wilson recovered.  Flacco found Heap again for a 14-yard touchdown with 48 seconds left in the half, and went into halftime down only 24-20.

Baltimore kicked the ball off to the Bills to start the second half, and the first play of the drive was a Fitzpatrick interception to who else but Ed Reed.  The very next play was a 34-yard flea flicker touchdown pass from Flacco to Anquan Boldin, which put the Ravens up 27-24.  After stopping Buffalo on their next possession, the Ravens grew their lead to 34-24 thanks to a 2-yard touchdown by Willis McGahee against his former team.

Game over right?  Wrong.

Just as they did against New England, the Baltimore pass defense gave up a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter.  Fitzpatrick found Lee Evans for the duo’s third touchdown of the game, and the lead was cut to 34-31 Ravens.  Then, with four seconds left, Buffalo added a field goal to send the game into overtime.

After the Ravens did nothing with their chance to end the game, Buffalo began to move.  After a 19-yard pass that got the ball to their own 41 yard line, Fitzpatrick completed a 4-yard pass to Nelson, and this is where the controversy begins.  Nelson seemed to be stopped for a brief moment, but the Bills players ran to the pile and kept pushing him forward.  As he was being pushed forward, Ray Lewis stripped the ball from him and gave Baltimore control of the game. 

The ruling on the field was a fumble, and Baltimore ultimately kicked the game-winning field goal to win the game 37-34 and improved to 5-2 on the season.

The game was definitely not a good one for the pass defense.  The Bills, who had the worst offense in the league, scored 34 points and threw for four touchdowns, all of which came against Fabian Washington, and the defense as a whole allowed for over 500 yards of total offense, the first time that has happened since 2000 against the New York Jets.

However, the team forced 4 turnovers, 2 of which came from Ed Reed interceptions, the Ray Lewis strip, and CJ Spiller fumble.

The offense also was in sync, as Flacco threw for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Ravens got the win, but it was not impressive.  Yes, Ed Reed had a huge game, and classic in his case, grabbing two interceptions, and they came back from a 24-10 deficit to get the lead by 10, but gave up that lead for two straight games.  Add to that the fact that the Bills were 0-5 heading into the game.

Baltimore definitely had some luck in getting the win, but sometimes, in the National Football League, you need luck, you cannot always rely on talent alone.

Baltimore is now in it’s bye week, and will look to get healthier and clean up the defense.

Stay posted for an upcoming post on the state of the team.


Maryland Escapes Chestnut Hill With a Victory

Maryland Quarterback Danny O'Brien celebrates after his third touchdown pass of the first half.

By Ben Linton

The Maryland Terrapins got a much needed win against a lesser opponent last Saturday when they went into Chestnut Hill to defeat the Boston College Eagles 24-21. It was Maryland’s first road win since 2008 when the Terps won at Clemson. Danny O’Brien threw for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns after throwing three interceptions the previous week against Clemson.

In the first quarter, O’Brien connected with Torrey Smith for a 2-yard touchdown pass. Boston College would answer early in the second quarter with a touchdown pass of its own. Then Maryland would break away, taking advantage of BC turnovers and turning them into points. O’Brien hit Ronnie Tyler for a 9-yard score after the Eagles fumbled, and would connect with Kerry Boykins for 6 yards after Antwine Perez picked off Boston College Quarterback Chase Rettig at the BC 33-yard line.

Maryland added a field goal in the third quarter to go up comfortably at 24-7. Boston College then would attempt to come back with a 10 play, 70 yard drive that ended with a Montel Harris TD run. Maryland would then punt, giving BC the ball with a little over three minutes to go. On 2nd and 10, BC got a lucky break after Rettig’s pass got tipped into the air and landed in the hands of a Eagles receiver that would streak down the sideline 66 yards to the Maryland 3 yard line. Harris would again punch it in the make it a game at 24-21 with 8 minutes to go.

But Maryland was able to hang on to their lead, stopping Boston College on its final two possessions and turning them over on downs. The win was critical for Maryland, who is now 5-2 (2-1 ACC) and in the thick of the ACC Atlantic race. The Terps are tied with NC State for second place behind Florida State. Next week, Maryland goes back home for its only game at Byrd Stadium in a five-game stretch, as they will take on Wake Forest. The Demon Decons are struggling at 2-5 (1-3 ACC) and it will be homecoming for the Terps.


“We had wide-open layups, just didn’t make the layups.” -DeAngelo Hall

Carlos Rogers dropped two interceptions on Sunday against the Colts


By Ben Linton

That quote very easily describes the Washington Redskins’ Sunday Night game against the Indianapolis Colts. Missed opportunities allowed the Colts and Peyton Manning to take advantage and come out of D.C. with a win, 27-24. Here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from Week 6:

The Good:

-Ladies and Gentlemen, Ryan Torain has arrived. In his second start, Torain ran like beast for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. He bounced off wimpy tacklers and ran through a much smaller Colts defense. He is a very physical runner that fits very well into the Redskins offensive system.

The Bad:

-The Redskins could not take advantages of early Peyton Manning mistakes, as mentioned earlier. Carlos Rogers was in perfect position to intercept Manning twice, but could not hold onto the ball. Later Manning would throw a perfect pass right to Kareem Moore, but he too could not hang on for the interception. If you want to beat the Colts, you have to capitalize on any bad pass Manning throws, because there aren’t many.

The Ugly:

-You would expect Manning to have a good game against the Redskins, who have given up the most yards in the NFL this season, but for Joseph Addai to get 128 yards and a touchdown is ridiculous. The Redskins were missing Haynesworth and Rocky McIntosh, but they need to be stingier against the run especially, where they have given up 4.7 yards per rush on the season. With Matt Forte, Chris Johnson, and Adrian Peterson left on the schedule, this needs to be fixed fast.

For all the Ravens fans out there reading this post, I’m sure you can relate. When you have the defending AFC champs in your hands, you can’t let them get away with mistakes and give them second chances. The best teams in the NFL know how to finish games, and play their best ball in the fourth quarter, but the Redskins could not. However this should motivate the Redskins, they now know that they are not too far from the top in a wide open NFL this season.

The Skins will try to rebound next week in a big game in Chicago against the Bears (4-2).


Ravens Blow Lead, Lose To Pats

By Jesse Jones

New England wanted revenge on Baltimore after the embarrassing 33-14 Ravens’ win in New England last year in the playoffs.  Sunday, they did just that.

The Baltimore Ravens scored first with a Billy Cundiff field goal, but gave up a BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown at the end of the first quarter to fall behind 7-3.  Flacco answered quickly with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Todd Heap, and took their 10-7 lead into halftime.  Baltimore came out in the third quarter and scored another touchdown, this one from Flacco to Boldin, and increased their lead to 17-7.  After a Stephen Gostowski field goal the Ravens were up 17-10 at the end of the third.  In the fourth, the whole game changed.  Baltimore became very conservative on both sides of the ball, and it showed as they only managed to produce three more points the rest of the game.  Tom Brady and the offense started to click, and tied the game up at 20 with just under two minutes left thanks to a touchdown reception by Deion Branch and another Gostowski field goal.  Flacco and the offense would do nothing to try and win the game, as they settled for screen passes and did not attempt to go down the field.

The game would ultimately go into overtime.

In OT, Baltimore’s offense continued to do nothing and not take advantage of the defense stopped the Patriots.  Late in overtime, the Patriots started to click again and won the game 23-20 off a 35-yard field goal.  New England improved to 4-1 and Baltimore fell to 4-2.

This was the Patriots first game without Randy Moss, and Deion Branch’s first game back.  Branch did most of his work in the fourth quarter, and finished the game with 9 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.  Tom Brady with a passer rating of only 69.5 thanks to two interceptions and 17 incompletions, but that didn’t stop him from throwing for 292 yards and taking over the game late.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense looked very impressive all through the game until the beginning of the fourth quarter.  Flacco finished the game 27-35 for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 119.3.  Ray Rice rushed the ball 28 times for 88 yards.  Derrick Mason had 8 catches for 100 yards, and Boldin had 4 catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

The Baltimore defense held their own until the late fourth quarter collapse, as they forced two interceptions and held the Pats to only 10 points through 3 quarters.

The turning point of the game came in the fourth quarter when Baltimore settled for a field goal instead of a touchdown.  Derrick Mason had his hands on the ball in the end zone, but thanks partially to a hit by Patrick Chung, Mason dropped the ball.  The touchdown would have put the Ravens up 24-10, and could have sealed the game.  Instead, Baltimore lost 23-20.


Special Teams and Turnovers Doom Maryland

By Ben Linton

The Maryland Terrapins had been very sound at winning the turnover margin so far into the 2010 season. But on Saturday in Death Valley, Maryland threw three fourth quarter interceptions and were shaky on special teams in a 31-7 loss to the Clemson Tigers. Maryland had won three of the last four against the Tigers, including the last two on the road, but were not as fortunate in this game.

Although the score seems lobsided, for a majority of the time the game was very close. Maryland held a lead at 7-3 after a 4-yard pass from Da’Rel Scott to Danny O’Brien, (not a typo, it was a halfback pass) but the key turning point came right after, as Andre Ellington would take the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to put Clemson up for good.

The Tigers were able to exploit a Maryland penalty for points when the Terps were called for a pass interference on a 3rd and 8 that looked uncatchable. This allowed Clemson to continue their drive and capitalize on a 1-yard run by Jamie Harper at the end of the half to put them up 17-7.

Special Teams would continue to hurt the Terps when Clemson returned a punt 41 yards to the Maryland 21 at the beginning of the second half. Once again, the Tigers would score on a 1-yard run by Andre Ellington, putting the Tigers up 24-7. From then on the Clemson defense would take over, as they forced three interceptions in the fourth quarter by Maryland freshman Danny O’Brien in his first road start, one of them going for a touchdown.

Maryland had more yards then Clemson (350 to 213), but the Terp playmakers were held in check. Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett were held to 47 yards combined rushing, and Torrey Smith only had 55 yards on 4 catches. With the loss Maryland falls to 4-2 (1-1 ACC) on the year, and Clemson (3-3, 1-2 ACC) avoids a four game losing streak. Next week Maryland hopes to rebound and win their first road game of the year against Boston College, who has a record of 2-4 and has lost four straight games.


Redskins Outlast Packers in Overtime, 16-13

The Redskins D swarms Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers


By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins got a huge victory that put them right back on track and in the thick of the NFC East race when they defeated the Green Bay Packers 16-13 on Sunday. After losing a heart breaker to the Texans and a head scratcher to the Rams, the Redskins pulled off a big upset against a formidable opponent to improve to 3-2. Graham Gano kicked a 33 yard field goal with 6:54 left in overtime to win the game. Here are a few key notes, plays, and reactions from the game:

  • Although they gave up 427 yards, the Redskins D held a very potent Packers offense to 13 points. They also forced two turnovers in the game, and have been playing extremely well and physical after giving up 30 points to the Rams.
  • Donovan McNabb threw for 357 yards, highlighted by a 48-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Armstrong.
  • Ryan Torain ran for 40 yards on 16 carries in his debut as the starting running back, taking place of the injured Clinton Portis.
  • Albert Haynesworth did not play due to the death of his half brother, who died in a motorcycle accident. He is expected to return to practice and play next Sunday.
  • This marks the fourth consecutive week that the Redskins have injured the other team’s best player. Andre Johnson, Steven Jackson, Michael Vick, and Aaron Rodgers have all been injured when facing the Redskins.

This was a big win for the Redskins. They could not afford to lose another game in overtime that they should have won. The Skins have won two straight games against tough opponents, and will need to be ready for another when they Peyton Manning and the Colts come to D.C. Sunday night on NBC.


Arenas Fakes Injury For Young, Gets Fined

By Jesse Jones

In the first preseason game in Washington for the Washington Wizards, it was reported that Gilbert Arenas would not play because of a knee injury.  In his place, Nick Young started against the Atlanta Hawks.

However, Wednesday, Arenas told the media that he does not have a knee injury, but instead he faked the injury so that Young could start.  “I told [Young] I’d sacrifice playing tonight so he can get some time in because I know he’s kind of frustrated he’s not getting a chance to crack the [small forward] position, especially since we’re going three guards,” Arenas said.  “So I told him I’ll go and fake an injury or say something’s wrong with me so you can start.”

Young took full advantage of this opportunity, as he scored 24 points on 10-14 shooting, including 4-7 from three, and 2 steals.  Along with 19 points and 7 assists from John Wall, the Wizards would win the game 107-92.

The move ultimately came with consequences for Arenas.  Head coach Flip Saunders has fined him an undisclosed amount.  Arenas still expects to play Thursday, in what would be his first game back in action in D.C.

Although Arenas lied and was fined, I don’t see this as anything major.  Arenas put the team first, which people have always wanted him to do, and by doing this, allowed Nick Young to show what he can do and after his performance last night, Young’s confidence has had to have risen.

And let’s not forget, this is a preseason game, it doesn’t mean much.


Ravens Beat Broncos, Improve To 4-1

By Jesse Jones

Coming off an epic win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, there was speculation that the Baltimore Ravens would have a “hangover” against the Denver Broncos.  But this was not the case.

The Ravens dominated the Broncos from the start, driving into the red zone on their first three out of four drives.  Joe Flacco and Ray Rice each scored on one-yard runs to put the team up 14-0, and Billy Cundiff added a 37-yard field goal to put the Ravens up 17-0.  With under one minute left in the first half, it seemed Baltimore was going to go into half holding a shut out.  But the Broncos first-ranked pass offense wouldn’t allow that, as Kyle Orton completed a 42 yard pass to Brandon Lloyd for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 17-7.

The second half saw a scoreless third quarter, and saw Joe Flacco look completely out of sync at points.  But in the fourth quarter, the Ravens closed the game out, as Ray Rice scored another one-yard touchdown, and Willis McGahee scored on a 30-yard run.  Denver added a field goal inbetween those scores, and scored another long touchdown pass with under one minute left in the game to Brandon Lloyd.

The Baltimore Ravens would ultimately win the game 31-17.

Baltimore got exactly what it needed, and that was a huge game by Ray Rice.  Rice had not scored a touchdown or ran for over 100 yards until Sunday’s game.  In total, he finished the game with 133 yards and 2 touchdowns on 27 carries.  Flacco played solid for the most part, going 14-25 for 196 yards with no passing touchdowns and no turnovers.

The defense gave up over 300 yards to Kyle Orton, but only allowed two touchdowns, and both came with under a minute left in each half.  So far, the pass defense seems very solid, and the run defense is great as usual.

Baltimore now stands atop the AFC North alone, with a record of 4-1.  The Ravens will travel to New England Sunday to face the 3-1 Patriots who are now without Randy Moss and brought back Deon Branch.


Caps Start Season 2-1

By Jesse Jones

Last season was supposed to be the season the Washington Capitals won it all. The team had the best offense and the best record in the NHL, and faced the eighth seeded Montreal Canadians In the playoffs. But the team failed to perform in the playoffs, and lost in seven.

Now it’s a new season, and the team is hungrier than ever, as they should be. They have arguably the best player in the league, the best offense, and one of the best coaches. But what’s been lacking was consistent goal tending and defense.  So, in order to make a change, the team let go of goalie Jose Theodore and decided to go with two young net-minders in Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth.

After a 5-1 preseason, the Caps finally took the ice to start the regular season in Atlanta October 8.  Things started out good for the Caps, as Brooks Laich scored the first goal of the season between the two teams.  But the momentum would not hold up, as the Thrashers scored the next 4 out of 5 goals between the two teams, including two by Evander Kane, and the Caps lost the season opener 4-2.

The following day, Washington had their home opener against the New Jersey Devils.  After falling behind 2-1 in the first period, the Caps played lights out and scored six straight goals, including two by Alexander Ovechkin, and Washington got their first win of the season 7-2.

Last night, the Caps had their second straight home game, this time hosting the Ottawa Senators.  Alexander Semin started the scoring in the first period, but the Senators tied the game up in the second.  Shortly after, Eric Fehr scored his second goal of the season to put the Caps up 2-1, before Ottawa tied it up 2-2 in the third, sending the game into overtime.  With 30 seconds left in OT, the captain, Alex Ovechkin , scored the game winning goal, and his third of the year.

After three games, the Washington Capitals have a record of 2-1, and have 4 points in the standings.  The goal tending of Neuvirth has been enough to help solidify the defense in the absence of Varlamov.  The team will look to improve their record and gain more points tomorrow night when they host the New York Islanders.

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October 2010