Monday, September 26, 2016

Completing a Giant Task

By Waleo

On Sunday, September 25, 2016, the Washington Redskins did what many people thought couldn’t be done.  They defeated the then undefeated New York Giants 29-27 in New York.  Many people, like me, couldn’t think of a possible scenario for the Redskins to win.  You could throw out statements like: if the defense stepped up, if quarterback Kirk Cousins plays with heart, and or if special teams steps up.  The Redskins got a little of everything. 

Defense stepping up
In the first half of the game, the Redskins defense struggled—giving up 21 points.   You could see the fire defensive coordinator Joe Barry post all over social media.   They couldn’t stop Giants running backs Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa, both combined for 97 yards with two touchdowns in the first half.   Also, Giants rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard was embarrassing nickel cornerback Dashaun Phillips, especially on a 23 yard TD reception in the 1st quarter to make it 14-3 Giants.  Even with all that the defense made plays.  For instance, early in the 2nd quarter, defensive end Chris Baker popped and sacked Eli Manning for a big loss that gave the Redskins some momentum.  The sack helped lead to a Giants’ punt.  At that time the Redskins were down 14-6 and the Giants were moving and looking to end this game early.  One of the biggest plays came from safety/cornerback Will Blackmon.  The Giants were up 21-16 and looking to score towards the end of 1st half.   Blackmon strips Vereen, leading to a Redskins fumble recovery.  This ended the Giants drive and kept the Redskins in striking range.     

The Redskins defense stepped up in the second half.  They held the Giants offense to six points.   The Redskins were up 26-24 late in the 4th quarter and the Giants were driving for a potential score.  Cornerback Quinton Dunbar made a nice one handed interception in the red-zone to keep the Redskins up 26-24.  Dunbar got the chance to play because of an injury to cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who was hurt early in the 1st quarter (high ankle sprain).   The Redskins offense went 0 for 4 in the red zone and the defense couldn’t afford to give up touchdowns, which they did not.  They created turnovers, gave up fields goals and ended drives.   No play was as big in this game as was the play by rookie hybrid linebacker Su’a Cravens.   With a 1:06 left in the game and the Redskins offense failing to close this game out, Redskins defense had to step up.  Manning threw a pass intended for Vereen and Cravens lounged across for the game ending interception to seal the deal.  This was Cravens first interception of his career.  Cravens may have saved the Redskins season with a superhero effort on that play.  The defense though maligned, made winning plays.  They deserve a lot of credit for the victory. 

Special Teams
For many years the Redskins special teams has been the downfall of the team.  Yesterday, it may have been the best unit for Redskins.  After Chris Baker’s big sack, as mentioned previously, the Giants decided to punt the ball to wide receiver and punt returner Jamison Crowder.  Big mistake!  Crowder nearly returned it to the house.  He was stopped at the Giants’ 37 yard-line for a return of 52 yards.  That play led to a Redskins’ field goal—cutting the Giants to 14-9.   Later on in the game there was gusty key play.  The Redskins were down 24-23 with 3:15 left in the 3rd quarter and were set to punt.  The team did the unexpected in that situation and had punter Tress Way throw a 31 yard pass to Quinton Dunbar to put the Redskins in good scoring position.  That fake punt was a great call by Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and his staff.  The Redskins ended up kicking a field goal on that drive, putting them up 26-24.  Although the team would rather have touchdowns compared field goals, field goal kicker Dustin Hopkins kicks were essential.  Hopkins went 5 for 5 kicking field goals including a 37 yard go ahead field goal with 1:55 left in game (29-27).  Hopkins was clutch and arguably the MVP of the game.  Well it’s between him and Su’a Cravens.

Kirk Cousins

Cousins had an effective game.  He could improve on his accuracy at times but he did enough for his team to win.  Cousins went 21-35, threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44 yard TD pass to Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the 2nd quarter to get the Redskins back in the game.  The quarterback didn’t do anything major to hurt the team.   He played within himself and led the team to seven scoring drives.  This was an improvement compared to the two prior games where he turned the ball over and missed many open receivers.  The point that Cousins can’t beat a good team shouldn’t be used for now.  The Giants were 2-0 and looked like favorites to take the NFC East.  Cousins is a big part of them being 2-1.  You that?!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Facing the Giants


By the USS Blogger Ray Rogers


While many maybe unfamiliar with the wildly popular faith based flick titled “Facing the Giants”, it has been said to have inspired millions since the film’s release in 2006. The film’s plot is centered around a struggling high school football program, that by faith in God turns a horrendous season that began with a 0 – 3 record into an unexpected title run which ends in a championship game versus a football powerhouse “the Giants”. In the film’s conclusion, the mighty Giants fall in defeat on a 51 yard game winning field goal. I highly recommend this film by the way.  That brings us to the Washington Redskins.  How fitting that the 0 -2 Redskins head to New York this coming week to face the NFL’s version of the Giants?  The Giants are presently undefeated and the Redskins are in need of some miraculous changes. 

Reports are already surfacing that the locker room is becoming disgruntle in regards to starting quarterback Kirk Cousin’s ability to lead this football team following Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Adding to concerns is Cousins’ performance in games played last season on the road against each New York based franchise. In week three of last season versus the Giants, Cousins was 30/49 on pass attempts netting 316 yards along with one touchdown and two interceptions. His performance three weeks later versus the New York Jets was even more dreadful with Cousins going 25/43 for 196 yards, and again one TD and two INT’s. Following that loss Cousins stated “If I start to doubt, I’m not going to ever get to the level I want to go”. What’s most concerning about this statement is the time of his comment being nearly one year ago because unfortunately to start this season we can quote DMV’s (DC, Maryland and Virginia) own Ginuwine in stating that it’s been the “same ol’ G” or shall I say same ol’ Kirk. Even more chilling was Redskins head coach Jay Gruden’s comments following the Jets loss which he alluded to Cousins not being at a stage in his career to carry a team with his arm.

Well coming into this season didn’t we all think he was closer to being that guy. It’s clear that the Redskins issues are wide spread.  However, the quarterback is the main focal point just as he was during the team’s miraculous run to the NFC East title last season. There’s that word again, miraculous.  Which presents the next set of questions: Can the Redskins upset the Giants on Sunday?  The answer is simple. Of course they can. The next question is this, is Cousins capable of leading this team to a road victory in New York? The answer again is yes. The final question is can this franchise overcome past demons that frequently entails a media circus around non-football related issues? New York Giants linebacker and former Redskins Keenan Robinson recently stated “it’s the same old story” in reference to the reported state of the Redskins locker room. In my opinion, this is the biggest “Giant” of all that the Redskins will have to overcome. Why? Because the non-football related distractions surface all too frequently, but a team led by Redskins general manager Scot Mcloughan, Jay Gruden, and Cousins proved last season that they’re able to overcome all of that. 

Check out the Soul N Sports on Fox Sports Radio 1340 AM Hopewell, Virginia.   Also check out the Urban Sports Scene podcast show every Tuesday at 8:00 pm ET.  You can listen live by visiting this site,