November 29, 2011
For the first time in six games, the Redskins were victorious. In their first win since October 2, the Skins topped the Seahawks, 23-17, after rallying from a fourth quarter 10-point deficit. Rex Grossman was impressive early on, leading a first possession touchdown drive to put the Skins up 7-0. By the end of the game, he had completed 26 of 38 passes for 314 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Even with the turnovers, it was one of his better outings of the season. Runningback Roy Helu was also a game changer with 23 carries for 108 yards, his first 100-yard rushing game in the NFL.
The highlight of the game was a 50-yard touchdown pass by Grossman that connected with Anthony Armstrong on an improbable third and nineteen late in the fourth quarter. The thrilling pass was quickly overshadowed by the missed extra point, the Skins’ second blocked kick of the game. The missed point put the Redskins up by just three points instead of four, which meant Seattle only needed a field goal to tie the game instead of a touchdown to win.
Luckily, they got neither as the Redskins defense stopped them on fourth and five with a sack on Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson. The Skins got the ball deep in their own territory, and Graham Gano kicked a 25-yard field goal to pad the lead and effectively end the game. Back in Washington, you could hear a collective sigh of relief after the kick was good; Gano had a 23-yard field goal blocked earlier in the game.
It was a welcome win for the Skins, who have struggled since the first few games of the season, losing six straight and watching themselves fall from playoff hopefuls to just plain hopeless. At least they’re not alone; with a deafening loss to the Patriots on Sunday, the Eagles fell to 4-7 and are tied with the Skins for last place.
Capitals Look to New Head Coach for Inspiration
It’s no secret that the Capitals have been inconsistent since their perfect 7-0 season started. They’re currently 3-6-1 and losing steam. Their latest disappointment was a 5-1 loss against an injury riddled Buffalo team on Saturday.
Apparently, management believed something had to change and that something was the head coach, Bruce Bourdreau. During his time with the Caps, Bourdreau became the fastest NHL coach to reach 200 wins in a season and led the team to four consecutive playoff berths. Unfortunately, he was never able to get them past the second round, and according to reports, he had been tuned out by the players. The disrespectful comment Alex Ovechkin made to Boudreau after he benched him a few weeks ago was a telling sign. If your players don’t respect you, it’s going to show on the scoreboard.
Boudreau has been replaced by Dale Hunter, a former Capitals center and team captain who played for them from 1987 to 1999. He also led them to their first Stanley Cup finals (They were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings.). Hunter is a Caps legend to some, having been his number retired by the organization in 2000. Since 2001, he has found success as head coach of the London Knights in Canada, leading them to a 2005 Memorial Cup win. Let’s hope he brings those winning ways back to Washington. He’ll get his first chance on Tuesday night when the Caps host the St. Louis Blues (7-1-2).
NBA Lockout Over
After months of tense financial negotiations, the NBA owners and players union have reached a tentative deal that will allow the season to begin on Christmas Day. The 66-game season will be only 16 games shorter than a regular season, which is hard to believe. The league has lost almost two months of playtime. The details will be finalized this week, and the union is expected to re-certify and vote on it soon after.