What follows is an answer to the chorus of complaints from the legions of fans tired of being distracted by “sensible” analysis, backed by “facts” and “knowledge.” If you seek shelter from the twin storms that are “reality” and “logic,” then this is your port of call.
1) An open, albeit brief, letter to Donovan McNabb:
Having followed a variety of professional sports organizations who have had varying levels of success in my lifetime, I recognize that losing can be painful. But a lesson I learned many years ago is that it’s important — in fact it’s essential — to be honest about those losses. If you can’t be honest, you will not win (see Millen, Matt). This falls well short of that standard: “I was embarrassed these last two weeks,” McNabb said. “I mean [to lose] to two teams we shouldn’t have lost to. There is no way that you can look at this game and say that, and not taking anything away from them, but there is no way that this team is better than us.”
2) Donovan, allow me to bring some facts to your attention. Your offense, led by you, scored a grand total of 10 points in four quarters. In fact, more accurately, you scored 10 points in TWO quarters, the start of the first and again in the fourth. Coming into that game, your offense was averaging almost 28 points a game. Then you got 10 … that’s less … a whole lot less. Well, gosh, how did that happen? You clearly don’t know, so I’ll lay it out for you.
3) Guess what these are:
12 – 80 – TD
9 – 53 – Missed FG
4 – 25 – Punt
3 – 2 – Punt
3 – 2 – Punt
3 – 8 – Punt
3 – 7 – Punt
12 – 86 – FG
Look familiar? They should, those are the eight drives you led. You had five drives that netted 45 yards total … TOTAL. That’s less than a first down per drive, just in case you were curious. You threw zero touchdown passes, which is bad. Your running game got you 58 yards … TOTAL … also bad. There’s a pretty easy explanation for those numbers and it isn’t spelled l-u-c-k. It’s spelled d-o-m-i-n-a-t-i-n-g d-e-f-e-n-s-e. And that’s not all. It’s also because the Redskins offense racked up 388 yards (203 on the ground). It’s also because the Redskins held the ball for almost 35 minutes. It’s also because Shaun Suisham hit kicks from 41, 48 and 50 yards.
4) You can’t blame the refs (a total of seven penalties were called), you can’t cite injuries (both teams dealt with them), you had a 14-0 lead at home, so you can’t even fault the crowd. You lost because on Oct. 5, 2008, the Washington Redskins were clearly — by any objective measure — the better football team. I noticed you chose some rose-colored glasses for your post-game press conference, so perhaps that explains your tainted outlook. Hopefully this clears things up a bit. But, if not, I have another number for you: 2-3. That’s the record of the “best” team in the NFC East. That must be tough since that’s also last place.
5) McNabb’s refusal to see things as they are aside, that was another great win and, in my opinion, the biggest and most impressive of the season thus far. Any number of Redskins teams over the past decade plus would have folded quickly and 14-0 would have spiraled into 28-0. The entire team deserves a game ball … well, maybe not Durant Brooks (who I still believe will be a good punter). One of the drives that impressed me most was when the team started on its own 3 yard line and methodically marched down the field, going 67 yards in just over eight minutes to cut the lead to 14-6. It’s fair to say I’m excited about this team and more than I have been in … well, in quite some time.
6) Yes, the game against the Rams sets up as the classic trap game but Jim Zorn’s demeanor helps me to believe that he won’t allow this team to look past St. Louis. But since it’s not my job to coach the team, I get to say: wow, the Rams have had a bad season. On offense, they are 30th in yards per game (26th passing, 28th rushing) and dead last in points scored. They are allowing the second most yards per game on defense, they’ve allowed 147 points in four games, they are 27th against the pass and 28th against the rush. They are minus 3 in the turnover column and have converted only 22% of their third downs. The caveat is that Mark Bulger is a good quarterback, Steven Jackson is a very good running back and this is a hungry team coming off a bye week. Potential trap game? Sure. But while I may be overly optimistic, something tells me Jim Zorn isn’t going to wander into that trap.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio