October 18, 2010

Colts 27, Redskins 24 - Damn.

Synaptic Shotgun Lite
Random short-form day-after reactions
to the mini-dramas that are Redskins games

The Redskins never really seemed to be in it.

Oh, they tied it up at seven early, but it didn't last. Peyton Manning pretty much did what he wanted, when he wanted to, and reclaimed the lead. You just never got the sense the Skins would take, or if they somehow did, hold on to, the lead.

And when the Skins somehow managed to hang around, narrow it to three late with the game on the line, the ball, all their timeouts and all the momentum, they couldn't get a first down much less a touchdown.

That's the bad news.

The good news? The first-year Shanahan Redskins have come far enough, fast enough, where losing a last-minute scrambler to Peyton Manning in prime time is cause for gut-churning disappointment.

The Redskins are still rough around the edges. They lack the kind of offensive refinement and timing that makes the difference between a converted third down on a key drive and a ball that falls incomplete by a matter of inches. They are missing key components on both sides of the ball it will take at least another offseason or two add.

But they're tough. They hang around leave you knowing you've been in a football game. If you're a glass-half-empty guy you have plenty to bitch about this morning. But if you're a glass-half-full guy, you might just be thinking this thing isn't that far from coming together.

 Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is bit of a Golden Boy in Washington. He's Mike's son after all. His stint as offensive coordinator in Houston was wildly successful. And if not formally anointed, he has at least been openly whispered about as the likely successor to Dad as head coach of the Redskins one day. Through six weeks of his debut season as OC in Washington, however, it's been hard to see what all the fuss is about...

There are a million factors involved and it's unfair to reduce it this far, granted, but if we're talking gut reactions, I can't say I've been impressed by Kyle's overall designs, in-game sequencing or adjustments. I love that he'll go deep out of his own end. Balls are good. I'm not so crazy about the tendency to go deep on key 3rd and 4th and longs late in games. There's a clear line between aggressive and reckless.

There just seems to be something missing, something beyond just the necessary learning curve.

Been wondering if some of the "slightly off" isn't somehow related to father and son struggling to find a balance and settle on exactly whose offense it is when the fur is flying on gamedays.

 Would someone please catch the damn ball.

 The Green Bay win a week ago and move to 3-2 served to ratchet up expectations. Expectations about this team being ready to not only compete with but beat the best quarterback of our generation. Playoff expectations.

A gritty, never-say-quit three-point loss---in which the Redskins got the ball back with more than two minutes to play, all three timeouts, momentum and a raucous rabid home crowd urging them on with a chance to drive to glory---somehow seems not enough. A let down. Such are the weight of expectations.

Next week's game at the 4-2 Bears looks like nothing less than a "must win" if the Redskins hope to keep pace with Philly and the Giants for the NFC East lead.

Three weeks ago the notion would have been laughable. Today not so much.

 And so the Redskins are 3-3. Now to wait.

Funny how gamedays seem a very long time apart when your team is actually playing for something.


Unknown said...

The Skins did better in that game than I anticipated but I am still bummed they lost. They had the chances. One of the good things I have seen the last week or two is the number of younger players who seem to be getting involved in positive plays. Hopefully that bodes well for the future

Mark "Om" Steven said...

Agreed. Williams, Armstrong, Davis, Banks, Torain...Rak, Laron. Hard to come up with a long defensive list, and that's something to keep an eye on, but the sense that there's a future team already in the making on the roster is there.

Now for consistency. A flat performance and a loss next week in Chicago and the darkness settles back in, at least as far as fan reaction. A tough road win against a 4-2 opponent however and add not just another solid foundation stone but even higher expectations.