Sunday, October 02, 2005

Idle Threats
By Zach

Ray Rhodes is lucky he's 3000 miles away from me. For the nth time over the last 2+ years, he cost the Seahawks a game. I don't want to hear any nonsense about Josh Brown missing 2 kicks. The game should have been over long before hand.

The Redskins have no offense. Clinton Portis is a decent back, but their line struggles to open holes, their receivers are terrible, and Mark Brunell is inconsistant. But the Seahawks handed him the game. How? By consistantly beating their heads into the wall by blitzing on third and long. On the Redskins' second drive, they faced consecutive third and thirteens. As TMQ would say, the average pass play in the NFL gains 7 yards...surely it can't is! A blitz! 6 gentlemen cross the line of scrimmage, 16 yard pass to James Thrash. Next time, 6 more gentlemen cross the line of scrimmage, 15 yard pass to Santana Moss, first down.

This was a pattern the Seahawks repeatedly for the first half and early second half, which explains why the Redskins had drives of 15, 14, and 16 plays on their three first half drives. They also had the ball for over 21 minutes in the first half. Yet they were only up 7-3. Clearly, the Seahawks had a chance.

And actually, after the Redskins scored early in the third quarter to go up 14-3 (thanks in large part to a terrible pass interference call on Michael Boulware [when the Seahawks actually played coverage on third and long]), they stopped blitzing on third and long. Not coincidentally, they also started getting stops. So they get back in the game, score a late TD to tie.

Then, the miraculous happens. Brunell misses Thrash wide, the ball glances off his hand into those of Kelly Herndon. Seahawk ball, 49 seconds left on the Redskin 33 with one timeout remaining. I'm not expecting the Seahawks to risk much, since you don't want to blow a chance to win the game. But at least center the ball for Brown. Instead, two runs to the left side, a kick from the left hash clangs off the upright, and we go to OT.

Of course the Redskins get the ball, and of course we get them in third in long on the first series...hmm, let's see...five gentlemen cross the line of scrimmage, 13 yard pass to Moss, first down. Later, third and nine from the Redskin 37. It couldn't be...It's a blitz! Bryce Fisher misses a tackle, Brunell scrambles 18 yards up the middle, and the drive is still alive. Now, one last time. Third and 10 from the Seahawk 45. Stop them short and you almost certainly get the ball back. Instead, guess what? It's a blitz! Seven gentlemen cross the line of scrimmage, 30 yard pass to Moss, I get up and leave the bar.

It's really ridiculous to me that Rhodes, Holmgren, and Co. have not yet figured it out. Blitzing on third and long is good for one thing, and one thing only...losing football games. Until something changes, Mr. Rhodes should stay as far away from me as possible. I've got my whole future ahead of me, I don't want it clouded with a Murder-One charge.


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