Mike Shanahan fumbled the handling of the Donovan McNabb benching during Dallas week and added more self-inflicted drama to another Soap Opera filled season. However, on Sunday, the Redskins passing game produced with Rex Grossman under center. After falling down 27-7, they rallied to tie the game at 30, and Grossman tied a career best with four touchdown passes.
At the end of the day though, Shanahan's Redskins had the same look of a 5-9 team that finds a way to lose close games in their 33-30 loss to the Cowboys. The Redskins have now dropped four straight in a game that was littered with sloppy tackling on defense, turnovers on offense and more special team's breakdowns.
Shanahan's Guy Almost Gets it Done
Rex Grossman came out looking like the guy that got run out of Chicago -- a quick three and out on the Skins first possession and an interception on the second possession. At the half Grossman was 7-13 for 108 yards, one interception, one touchdown, two sacks, a quarterback rating of 75.2 and a 20-7 deficit. Then, in the second half, after falling down 27-7 Grossman suddenly turned into the guy the Shanahans have been bragging about. Grossman was 25-42 for 322 yards, four touchdown passes (tying a career best), and a quarterback rating of 93.4.
Grossman was plagued by many of the things McNabb has been plagued by this season. He had a pair of picks, untimely drops by best players like Santana Moss and was under siege because of the leaky offensive line, being sacked five times and funbling once. However, Rex probably showed enough to be the stop-gap guy until whatever rookie becomes the new Redskins Quarterback of the Future.
NO D in Dallas
The defense was AWFUL on Sunday. Sure, they tightened up in the red zone, but still gave up 434 total yards and allowed Jon Kitna to have a 110.8 QB rating. Dallas did this without two of their best wide receivers, Roy Williams and Dez Bryant. The Skins once again were plagued by shoddy tackling and had zero takeaways. They need to solve the multitude of personnel issues on this side of the ball if they are ever going to be a good 3-4 defense.
Remember The Run?
Leave it to offensive genius Kyle Shanahan to fool the Cowboys in the first half with just five rushes. This coming a week after Ryan Torain rushed 158 yards in the first half alone against Tampa Bay. In the second half, playing from behind the Redskins actually handed the ball to Torain six times, as he finished the game with 11 carries for 53 yards. So for those of you scoring at home ... since the 18-carry 158-yard half against Tampa, Torain has just 17 carries in the past four quarters. At least little Shanny remembered Chris Cooley after the half Sunday where he had five catches for 62, a touchdown and a two-point conversion during the comeback.
McNabb Gets Starters Airtime
If you played the Donovan McNabb drinking game Sunday while watching the Redskins and the Cowboys, you probably got trashed. On a side note is there any other way to get through a Redskins game this season? Anyway, McNabb unofficially was shown 15 times on the sideline, including once while yawning. He also got to go out for the coin toss.
New Punter New Problems
Punter Sam Paulescu's first punt was returned for 31 yards, and his second punt was returned for 23 yards by Cowboys return man Bryan McCann. The Cowboys on the other hand did not punt until the fourth quarter.
'Ref in a Box' Needed to Explain the Bogus Call
Andre Carter was flagged for perhaps the weakest
roughing bumping into the passer penalty of the season in the second quarter. The series after the Redskins scored to cut the deficit to 13-7, they appeared to finally get a stop thanks to a Kitna incompletion on third and 4 on the Redskins 30 yard line. Three plays later, Kitna hit Jason Witten for a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Cowboys up 20-7 after the PAT.
Fox sideline analyst Tony Siragusa was blown away by the call. "Come on Andre Carter just bumped him, that was not even close," he said, adding "Oh my God! I understand protect the quarterback at least let it be a violent hit..that was just a bump." It would have been nice to hear former head of Officials MIke Pereira spin for his boys on that blown call.
Good Bye Gilbert
On Saturday, the Wizards sent Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic for Rashard Lewis. It was a trade that was all about business, saving money and clearing the room of the former franchise player so the new franchise player John Wall can now take over the room. I covered the Wizards during the best years with Arenas and he was pure gold. He was electric on the floor, gave a lot to the community and even more to those covering the team. He was one of a kind and I hope he wins an NBA title in Orlando.
No way to treat one of your own
A month after new Athletics Director Kevin Anderson said Ralph Friedgen would be back for 2011, there has been a major change to the plan. Now, Friedgen has been asked to step aside and Mike Leach appears to be the choice. The loss of coach-in-waiting James Franklin to Vanderbilt appears to have put this on the fast track. The Friedgen detractors will point out he was not a good enough recruiter and the attendance has dwindled.
I will point out the program was DEAD after Bobby Ross left until he showed up on campus and took them to seven Bowl games in 10 years. They did it the right way on and off the field too. Leach should do well with his explosive offensive scheme, but he is not without baggage and only time will tell if the ends justifies the means to this move.