Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It's the Line, Stupid

Just got done re-watching that train wreck again on TiVo (Lions vs Redskins). Why I had to put myself through that pain again, I really don't know. But it did illuminate a few things that were painfully obvious.

1) The O-Line STUNK. Everything bad that happened on O yesterday (except the drops) can find it's roots in the play of the O-Line. Even a lot of Joey's inaccuracy (though not all of it). For reference:

- KJ had 20 yards on 12 carries, with 5 of them being for 0 or - yards. On EVERY one of those 0 or - plays, he was hit at least 3 yards deep. If your best RB is getting hit on 42% of his plays 3 yards before he gets to the line, you're in deep trouble.

- As for pass blocking, here is a frightening thought - Joey got hit 3 times on 3 step drops. I don't care if you're facing the '86 Bears, no QB should get hit on a 3 step drop. The QB has the ball for less than 2 seconds on those plays. After the second of those, Joey definitely got 'happy feet' and was obviously paranoid to stand for a 5 count in the pocket - rightfully so. When Joey gets happy feet, his passes are all over the place. We saw that enough times last year to know what happens in that situation.

- I don't know what happened to Backus, but he sucked big time yesterday. He got taken to school by Griffin. Loverne wasn't much help, but Backus did most of the damage himself.

- Our TE's can't block to save their lives either. What was funny watching the game was seeing Washington run 2 TE sets, and Portis being able to bounce it outside with relative ease. EXACTLY the way KJ tries to bounce it outside, but gets hit by a DE or OLB. Washington's TE's and T's were holding their blocks long enough for Portis to bounce outside and turn upfield. Our TE's and T's were lucky to hold the block long enough for KJ to get to them - much less having any chance to turn it upfield.

2) With all that, Joey was simply not on target yesterday. He didn't get bailed out save 1 or 2 times (most notably the first Roy catch), but for the most part, he didn't throw passes that would allow someone to bail him out. And when he did, the bozo's were dropping the balls. By my count, Roy dropped 5 passes (hence I'm removing the R.O.Y. designation until he's healthy again), Az dropped 2, and Alexander dropped 3. But what's funny is that Joey actually looked GOOD compared to Brunell. And we still lost. Amazing...

3) Our LB's and DE's played their worst game of the year. Seriously, Portis was able to bounce a play outside at will, and once he realized that, he did it with amazing consistency. I've said it before the we should still draft a DE with our #1 pick next year, and I'm definitely sticking with that assessment. Boss, where are you? We need you back ASAP...

4) When push comes to shove, we got beat by a one man show of Portis. And here I thought coming into the season that the only one man show that would give us problems was Vick. We got beat by a blocked punt (first TD) and 2 21 yard runsfollowed by a halfback option pass (the only 3 plays of consequence in their TD drive). Outside of that, Washington really didn't move the ball much. But when Portis touched it... 15, 3, 13, 2, 4, 2, 1, 12, 9, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 8, 11 yard catch, 21, 21, -1, 1, 1, 15 yard TD Pass, -1, 2, 8, 5, 9, 2, 0, 0, 2, -1, 2, -12, 9.

- There is something to be learned from that line - you have to give a RB his touches. Portis had 10 of his 34 carries go for over 5 yards and accounted for 125 of his 147 yards. That also means he had 24 carries for a total of 22 yards (OK, take out that -12 yarder at the end, and it's 23 for 36 - still not good). If he only gets 12 carries, how likely is he to get even 50 yards? Mooch, are you listening???

Oh well, I can't rant any longer. That game made my head hurt. I need a beer...

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