All posts in football

14Sep

Defense dominates as Washington rallies to stun Eagles

“We play for each other. It’s about us as a team. Eleven guys doing one thing at a time, not one trying to do 11. Do your job to the best of your abilities and we win.”

Head coach Ron Rivera delivered these words to his players as they prepared to take the field for their season opener. We know that thanks to the wonderful Amazon Prime “All or Nothing” series, which followed Rivera’s Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season. While it was a different team during a different year, it shows viewers the mindset Rivera wants to establish with his teams.

Washington clearly hasn’t performed on a level anywhere comparable to the Philadelphia Eagles over the last decade or so, but if all eleven guys are doing their part and playing for each other, the results will be there. Believe in your teammates and believe in the system. Sounds simple, right? But what happens when you find yourself down by three scores before halftime? Will the players stick to the plan? Or will the same selfish and self-destructive tendencies that have doomed this franchise for decades begin to surface?

That’s what was so enjoyable about Sunday’s come-from-behind victory in the season opener — while they started the game looking very much like the same, old NFC East doormat for most of the first half, Washington refused to revert back to their typical lowest common denominator. This isn’t Jay Gruden’s football team. Greg Manusky isn’t walking through those doors to hold back these players. We have no clue how Rivera will be remember once his days in D.C. are over, but this was a wonderfully perfect debut for the 58-year-old.

Eight sacks by seven different players. Franchise records set. First win in a home opener since 2014. And a respectable showing against a franchise that has dominated Washington for far too long. This wasn’t a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but eleven players clearly did the job to the best of their abilities, and they won.

16Feb

Like Thanos, Defenders annihilate Guardians

Because everything went about as well as possible for the D.C. Defenders in their season opening victory over the Seattle Dragons, it would be reasonable to expect a bit of a letdown in their follow-up act.

It’s safe to say that didn’t happen.

If the Defenders were good in their first game of the season, they were great in their second act — systematically destroying the New York Guardians, 27-0, to record their first shutout in XFL history.

New York was held to a paltry 137 total net yards on the day, as a swarming Defenders defense led the way with three sacks, two interceptions and a touchdown for the second-straight week.

On the other side of the ball, quarterback Cardale Jones threw for 264 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and a 90.4 quarterback rating. The Defenders, along with the Houston Roughnecks, remain perfect on the season as the now hit the road for consecutive games in Los Angeles and Tampa Bay.

09Feb

Defenders leave Jim Zorn seeing maroon and black once again

No one really knows what to expect now that the XFL has returned after a 19-year hiatus. Is it doomed to fail from the gimmicks and poor quality of play that plagued the initial incarnation nearly two decades ago? Or has Vince McMahon learned from his previous mistakes and put together a sustainable football league that is capable of sticking around?

While it would be foolish to rush to any snap judgments after one weekend of play, it’s safe to say that the inaugural weekend of XFL football in our nation’s capital went about as well as could reasonably be expected.

Not only did the D.C. Defenders win their opening game of the 2020 season, but they did so in impressive fashion — scoring a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams in a 31-19 victory over Jim Zorn and the Seattle Dragons.

Head coach Pep Hamilton, quarterback Cardale Jones and the rest of the Defenders made a strong first impression in front of more than 17,000 fans at Audi Field. Now, the question remains: what can this team do for an encore?

30Dec

Cowboys win, but lose. Redskins lose, but win.

Regardless of what the NFL schedule said, the 2019 season ended long ago for the Washington Redskins.

Sure, the Redskins technically had one final game left to play out, but all eyes in our nation’s capital were already looking past a Week 17 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.

Is this the year Redskins owner Daniel Snyder finally listens to the disgruntled fanbase and fires Bruce Allen? Who will the franchise hire as the next head coach? Which of the players on the current roster will still be wearing burgundy and gold this time next year? And, most pressing to ‘Skins fans, could the Redskins secure the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft?

A loss to the Cowboys in the season finale would lock up that highly valuable asset, which is why the franchise elected not to bring a single defensive back anyone has ever heard of to Dallas.

Without Landon Collins, Quinton Dunbar, Montae Nicholson, Fabian Moreau, Troy Apke or Jimmy Moreland, the Redskins literally trotted out a secondary comprised of practice squad players and guys signed as free agents over the last week or two.

In related news, the Cowboys racked up 517 yards of total offense and cruised to an easy 47-16 victory. But while Dallas might have won the day, their efforts weren’t enough to sneak into the playoffs.

And while Washington’s backups proved no match for the Cowboys, the franchise locked up a top two pick in April, which will absolutely help whoever is in charge next season.

22Dec

Giants victory gives Redskins fans plenty of cause for celebration

The Washington Redskins and New York Giants came into their Week 16 game with a combined six wins and 22 losses, so it’s safe to say both franchises are simply playing out the schedule and hoping to move on from a disappointing 2019 as quickly as possible.

While neither team was in any danger of qualifying for the postseason, there were huge ramifications attached to this contest — with the loser placing themselves in chief position to secure the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

That’s why Redskins fans were more than okay with watching the home team put together an entertaining effort, but ultimately falling short in a 41-35 overtime loss to the Giants.

Rookie Dwayne Haskins continued his strong play — completing 12 of 15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns before he was forced out of the game due to a high-ankle sprain. His season is likely over, but the Ohio State product has shown more than enough promise down the stretch, giving the locals reasons to feel hopeful that he can be the long term answer at the game’s most important position.

And if the Redskins fall to the Cowboys in Dallas next week, then Washington will likely have the opportunity to select another highly-touted Buckeye — pass rushing phenom Chase Young — in a few short months.

09Dec

Packers represent everything the Redskins aspire to be

The Washington Redskins, in many ways, are the polar opposite of the Green Bay Packers.

While the Packers are one of the most consistent and stable franchises in football, the Redskins — to put it kindly — are not. The Packers have made the playoffs 13 times since 2000. The Redskins advanced to the postseason just four times during the same span.

Since 1992, Packers fans have enjoyed Hall of Fame quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. In the last two seasons alone, the Redskins have started six different quarterbacks.

And while Redskins fans remain hopeful that rookie Dwayne Haskins might finally provide stability at the game’s most important position, Washington is just 3-9, while the Packers remain one of the NFC’s elite at 9-3.

While the Redskins actually managed to limit Rodgers’ effectiveness in this Week 14 matchup, they had no answers for Green Bay’s “other” Aaron — allowing running back Aaron Jones to rush for a season-high 134 yards on just 16 carries as they dropped their 10th game of the season.

02Dec

Derrius Guice destroys Shaq Thompson. Redskins win.

The Washington Redskins, who seemingly went months without scoring an offensive touchdown earlier this season, scored 29 straight points en route to an impressive victory over the Carolina Panthers.

And yet, all anyone wants to talk about is the fact that Redskins running back Derrius Guice killed a man, just to watch him bleed. Metaphorically, of course.

The LSU standout only carried the ball 10 times on Sunday, but he absolutely made the most of them — rushing for 129 yards and touchdowns. But the 37-yarder Guice broke off in the fourth quarter, which featured the annihilation of Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson, was easily the highlight of the game for the burgundy and gold.

As an added bonus, even though the Redskins won and improved to 3-9 on the season, they inexplicably improved their projected pick in the 2020 NFL Draft — moving up from fourth to third after Miami and Atlanta also emerged victorious this weekend.

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