Posts Tagged ‘Donovan McNabb


Redskins Limp Out Of Tennessee With a Win


By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins, who were already banged up heading into Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, overcame eight more key injuries to escape the Titans 19-16 in Overtime. After missing a 47-yard field goal at the end of regulation that would have won the game, Kicker Graham Gano redeemed himself with a 48-yard game winner in overtime to give the Skins a win. Had the game gone any longer, the Redskins entire offensive line may have been injured, because they were dropping like flies at LP Field.

Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Redskins were already down two key players in the secondary, LaRon Landry (achilles) and Carlos Rogers (hamstring). This was not a good sign for the Redskins, whose 31st ranked pass defense had to rely on Reed Doughty and Kevin Barnes to somehow contain Randy Moss. Surprisingly, the Redskins did not do a good job, but a great job, as Moss was held without a catch and the Titans only racked up 222 passing yards.

The running back situation was also a concern when Clinton Portis went down with a groin injury. With Ryan Torain out and Chad Simpson injuring himself in warmups, the Redskins were left with only Keiland Williams, who handled the rushing duties, going for 68 yards on 23 carries.

There were a few bright spots in this game, however.

  • The Redskins defense, who gave up 59 points and 592 yards to the Philadelphia Eagles a week earlier, stifled the Titans offense, only giving up 373 yards and did not allow a touchdown (the Titans scored on a punt return.)
  • Remember all that talk about Donovan McNabb running the two-minute offense? Well, with 1:37 remaining McNabb beautifully manuevered the Redskins into field goal range to win the game. Unfortunately, Gano missed the kick, but it was nice to see McNabb prove his doubters and possibly even his coaches wrong. He had one of his best performances of the season, throwing for 376 yards with 1 td and 1 int.
  • The Redskins came into the game last in the NFL in 3rd down conversions at 22%, and were 0 for 10 against the Eagles on Monday Night. But the Skins were very effecient on third down against the Titans, converting 8 of 16 plays for a 50% conversion rate.

The Redskins may not have won this game as convincingly as they should have, but when was the last time we’ve seen that? I’m sure they will be satisfied with benefiting from the Titans’ self destruction with the whole Vince Young-Jeff Fisher controversy. With the win the Redskins improve to 5-5 on the year and are on the cusp of the playoff conversation. The Skins are currently 8th in the NFC standings, but with a win next week against the Minnesota Vikings (3-7), they will find themselves in the middle of the playoff hunt. Funny for a team that was so thoroughly embarrassed just a week ago.


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.


Redskins Survive in McNabb’s Return

Donovan McNabb was all smiles after the Redskins beat the Eagles 17-12

By Ben Linton

If you had told me five years ago that Donovan McNabb would be playing at Lincoln Financial Field as a visiting quarterback, I probably would have believed you. But If you had told me he would be playing for the Redskins, I would have called you crazy. In one of the most bizarre trades in NFL history, Donovan McNabb, at age 33 and no signs of slowing down, landed in the laps of the Washington Redskins in the biggest story of the 2010 off-season.

Although McNabb always has a “one game at a time” attitude a “We not Me” mentality with the media (as any franchise quarterback should), I’m sure deep down that this game was circled on his calendar from the start. I’m sure he payed close attention when he saw Kevin Kolb get injured in Week One, then Michael Vick took his place even when he was back and healthy. I’m sure he remembers how the Eagles used their excuse of shipping him to Washington as a beginning of the Kevin Kolb era and starting in a new direction. But when Vick started weeks two and three in Detroit and Jacksonville, it seemed as if the Eagles wanted any quarterback not named Donovan McNabb to be their leader in 2010. Slap in the face to Donovan if you ask me.

But Philadelphia redeemed themselves somewhat when McNabb was applauded as he was announced on Sunday. He was the one who would get the last laugh in the end as Washington defeated Philadelphia 17-12. Finally, Donovan got to say what was on his mind:

“But I just want to say, definitely, this right here defines team, and this is something we can feed off of going into the rest of the season. We are No. 1 in the NFC East, and we are gonna stay up there. Everybody makes mistakes in [their] lifetime, and they made one last year! So … thank you.”

Whether McNabb wanted it to be or not, this game was about him. He deserved to say that Philadelphia made a mistake, and proved it by beating them yesterday. This was a defining moment in McNabb’s career and for that I congratulate him.


Givin’ It Away

Andre Johnson burned the Redskins for 12 catches and 158 yards, including this 34 yard touchdown on 4th and 10

By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins were dominating the Houston Texans 27-10 late in the 3rd quarter, but a huge Texans rally enabled the Texans to sneak out a win in overtime in Landover. After scoring on the final play of the 3rd quarter to make it 27-17, the Texans added a field goal while blocking one, and on 4th and 10 completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson with 2 minutes remaining to send it to overtime.

In overtime, the Texans got the ball first and decided to punt on 4th and 9 from the Washington 39 yard line instead of kick a 54 yard field goal. It seemed like that was a bad call when the Redskins were able to drive down and kick  54 yard field goal themselves in what appeared to be a game winner. But the Texans Coach Gary Kubiak called a timeout before the snap (or after) disabling the play and forcing Graham Gano to try again. This time he would miss, and the Texans would eventually march down and win 30-27 on a Neil Rackers’ 35-yard field goal. Here’s the good, the bad, the ugly from Week 2:


1. Donovan McNabb shined Sunday in the passing game as it has become more clear that he is becoming acclimated to the offensive scheme. He threw for 426 yards on 28 of 38 passing with one touchdown and no interceptions. He connected with eight different recievers, highlighted by Santana Moss who caught 10 passes for 89 yards.

Chris Cooley hauls in a 22-yard pass from Donovan McNabb

2. LaRon Landry followed up a 17 tackle performance against the Dallas Cowboys with an 11 tackle and one sack performance, making his case for a possible Pro Bowl. He was flying all over the field, whether it was making tackles in the run game or short passes, or pressuring Matt Schaub when he came off the blitz. Although Schaub played great with 497 yards and 3 touchdowns, he might still have nightmares of number 30 chasing him.


1. Anytime you blow a 17-point lead at home it’s bad. The Texans are definitely a team you can’t sleep on, especially with Schaub and Andre Johnson on the offensive side of the ball. They are a team built for coming back, so you got to be prepared to take their best shots and to put them away when you have the chance. McNabb barely overthrew Joey Galloway on a long pass that could have put the game out of reach at 34-10. Gano had a field goal blocked that could have put the Skins up 30-20. These things can’t happen if you’re trying to put an opponent away.


1. Two games into the season, the Washington Redskins have 107 rushing yards and a 2.7 yards per carry on the ground. Thats good for 31st in the NFL, but the Redskins should not panic. The running game will take time to develop, but will need to be able to have some balance on offense in order to be a factor in the NFC East or NFC playoff picture.

Not only does he kick game-winning field goals, Neil Rackers also knows MMA.

I will admit that the Redskins lost this game fair and square. But I think it should be wise for the NFL to look into this “icing the kicker” strategy. I’m not so sure that a coach can time when he calls the timeout right before the snap, so most of the time its being called after the snap. You don’t see defensive players calling timeouts when the opponent breaks a long play and they have to re-do it. So they should only be allowed to call timeouts before the snap. But then again, if Gano made the kick on his second try we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Look for the Redskins to try and get back on track against the 0-2 Rams next Sunday at 4:15 in St. Louis. Washington should be able to get the ground game going against a Rams D that has averaged giving up 142.5 yards in two games, but should be wary that this is an improving Rams team that cannot be taken for granted.


Hold Your Horses, Cowboys!

By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins were able to take advantage of numerous errors by the Dallas Cowboys and played strong defense en route to a 13-7 victory Sunday Night. The Redskins won the debut of the Shanahan-McNabb era when Dallas Cowboys Tackle Alex Barron held Brian Orakpo on the final play of regulation, ruling out a touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Roy Williams. Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from Week 1:


1. At the end of the first half, DeAngelo Hall made a game-changing play by stripping running back Tashard Choice and taking it to the house. It put Washington up 10-0 at the end of the first half and gave them huge momentum heading into the second half.

2. Any time you hold Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Roy Williams, and Dez Bryant to 7 points, that’s a job well done. Game ball goes to the defense for sure for winning this one.


1. In his debut in the Burgundy and Gold, Donovan McNabb was not very sharp. He did not play bad enough to lose the game or hurt his team. But 15 of 32 passing for a 63.4 QB rating is not going to get it done. McNabb threw numerous passes that were too low for intended recievers. He did do a job of spreading the ball to playmakers though (Cooley and Moss 6 catches each.)


1. After the Cowboys jumped offsides on a Graham Gano field goal, the Redskins had a perfect opportunity to score and put the Cowboys in a hole at either 17-0 or 13-0. Instead, the offense stalled at the goal line, running a fade to Anthony Armstrong on 2nd and 3rd down from the Dallas 5 yard line. Both passes were incomplete, and Josh Bidwell did his best Tony Romo impersonation on a botched hold, resulting in zero points for the Skins.

Any time you can win on opening day, there is reason for optimism. The offense must improve but the defense looked great. Beating your rival is always great, especially when they were division champs last year. For now the Skins need to take it one game at a time, starting with a home game against the Texans next week.


Injuries Plague D.C. Sports

By Ben Linton

Two of the biggest and newest sports figures in Washington D.C. have recently come down with injuries that could alter their teams’ performances in short and long terms. Although one is more drastic than the other, both still weigh heavy on the minds of D.C. sports fans.

On August 21st, Nationals Pitcher Stephen Strasburg injured himself in a game against the Phillies. The former number-one pick had created such a buzz around the league and in the area that hadn’t been there before. The 22-year old had accumulated a 5-3 record with a 2.91 ERA, and struck out 14 Pirates in his major league debut. But now the phenom will have to undergo Tommy John Surgery in order to repair a tendon in his right elbow. He will be sidelined for 12 to 18 weeks, so we likely won’t see Strasburg pitch again until the 2012 season.

There are a number of players who have undergone this surgery and came back to compete at a high level. There are also a few players who have never recovered after the surgery. This surgery has a greater magnitude than most, and is probably the most anticipated TJ surgery since the first one was conducted back in 1974. That is because of all the hype, accolades, and comparisons that Strasburg has recieved in his short career. We may never get to see Stephen Strasburg reach his full potential as he is one of the greatest pitching prospects of all time. We might forever ask ourselves “What could have been?” if he does not fully recover. This could possibly be a monumental sports tragedy in Washington.

In other news Washington Redskins Quarterback Donovan McNabb injured his ankle in the second preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. He then presumed to miss the next preseason game against the Jets and will not participate in the final game against the Cardinals tomorrow either. It is unlikely that he would have played in the final game anyways, but the fact that Mike Shanahan is mysteriously going about his health is a concern. For now, McNabb is day-to-day and hopefully will be ready for the season opener against the Cowboys September 12th.

Although this injury certainly is a concern for the Redskins and Redskins fans, I’d be incredibly surprised to not see Donovan McNabb start the season opener. Knowing that he is a competitor who has battled through injuries before and the amount of importance that the Cowboys game has, even if he were 40% healthy I’d rather have him in the game instead of Rex Grossman. One, it just wouldn’t be as exciting, and two, they’d have no chance to win the game. However, Grossman is resting in the Cardinals game as well which adds to the suspense, but from hearing the players talk it seems like McNabb will be good to go. Maybe Shanahan is trying to play mind games with the Cowboys. He’s doing it to his fans as well.


One Man’s Trash…Another Man’s Treasure

By Ben Linton

And you thought this was the year the Washington Redskins wouldn’t make an off-season splash? Guess again because here they come cannon-balling off the diving board in a trade that sends Donovan McNabb to D.C. Today the 33-year old veteran was sent packing to Washington for a second round pick in this year’s draft and a third or fourth round selection in 2011.

McNabb leaves behind a legacy in Philadelphia, which includes 5 NFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl appearance in 2004. He leaves as the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards, completions, attempts, completion percentage, and touchdown passes. The reigns will now be handed on to Kevin Kolb as the Eagles’ Quarterback of the future.

So now McNabb arrives in D.C., a place desperate for a quarterback after years of searching. It is odd that a trade like this would go down, especially within the same division, but it seems as if the Redskins are ready to move away from Jason Campbell and move on with McNabb and build around him. The Redskins also added Rex Grossman earlier this offseason, so this may mean the end for Campbell in Washington. Expect him to be traded, in a best-case scenario the Skins could get that second-round pick back for him.

This will make April’s draft even more interesting and important. The Redskins could select Notre Dame Quarterback Jimmy Clausen at No. 4, have McNabb mentor him, and then play him when he is ready. Or Washington could draft what they need, an offensive tackle, at that same spot and give McNabb protect. Weapons have already been added in running backs Willie Parker and Larry Johnson to go along with Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley, Fred Davis and Santana Moss. All McNabb will need is some protection and he can thrive in this offense.

This is a good move for the Redskins. They get a top-10 NFL quarterback, a proven winner, and I like the idea of a veteran coach and quarterback combination. That could equal success in the NFL. Although I will admit it will be weird seeing McNabb in a Redskins’ uniform next year, but I am ready for this change. All signs are pointed in the right direction thus far in Washington.


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