Archives for posts with tag: Morton’s

Can’t trust that night.  Monday, Monday…gives the Skins a fright.  I’ll give the estate of John Phillips a reprieve by not going through an entire set of lyrics that focuses on the Monday night misery experienced by the Burgundy and Gold over the years.  But let the record show that this team is 2-15 in Monday night games at Fed Ex Field.  Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination…and instead of being able to celebrate the raising of the 2015 NFC East banner (okay, so there wasn’t really a ceremony) the Skins wake up 0-1 with more questions than answers.

Captain Kirk- the Franchise-Tagged one completed 30 of 43 passes…but many were in check-down mode.  Instead of stretching the field or challenging the Steeler secondary, we saw the classic short stuff that pads the stats while infuriating the faithful at the same exact time.  The Original Series episode most resembling Cousins’ week one performance?  “Gamesters of Triskelion”, where they do gladiator stuff and the episode at first glance appears to be better than it actually is.

The Tragedy of Robert III- well, fans of a Stuartesque restoration on the shores of Lake Erie were given a rude awakening.  They saw the former face of the Redskins franchise complete 12 of 26 passes for 190 yards and an interception against a Philadelphia defense that ranked 28th in the league against the pass last year.  Unfortunately as has been the case with the House of Griffin, the phrase “adding injury to insult” isn’t just cute wordplay–it’s reality.  RG3 broke a bone in his non-throwing shoulder taking a hit against the Eagles.  Instead of focusing on if he’d keep his starting job by the time the Browns came to Fed Ex Field, Robert III is headed to IR with no return in sight until Halloween…if then.  “A shoulder! A shoulder!  My kingdom for a shoulder!”

Running aground- Fifty-five yards on just twelve carries!  No runs on third and short or any third down at all!  If Alfred Morris were still here, he’d be like Zack Morris wondering why the latest episode had no scenes at the Max.  Matt Jones gained 24 yards on 7 carries and reportedly made the wrong read on an early 4-yard loss.  The second-year pro has the central casting look of an NFL runningback, but is not proving himself so far this season.  Plan B is the oft-injured Chris Thompson.  Can they bring back Wilbur Jackson?

Rating the Receivers- everybody got fed Monday night, with the firm of Reed, Garcon & Jackson combining for 19 catches.  DeSean Jackson showed why he’s a game-breaker with a 33-yard grab standing out in his 6 reception, 102 yard performance.  Jermaine Crowder even got into the act as a junior associate with 6 catches.  Problem was, Jackson was the only receiver to catch more than one pass and average more than 10 yards per reception. 

Third and Checkdown Time- the good news is Kirk Cousins completed 7 of 10 passes on the money down.  The bad news is that all 7 were of the short variety…and only 3 saw the receiver reach the magic marker.  Jordan Reed was the security blanket, catching all 4 passes thrown his way for 36 yards and one conversion.  All ten third down attempts were pass plays…with Kirk & company converting 1 of 2 short-yardage (1 to 3 yards needed) plays, 0-2 mid-yardage (4 to 6 needed) and 2 of 6 long-yardage (7+) situations.  That over half of your third downs were long yardage says a lot about the offense’s inability to do the right thing on first and second downs.

Getting gashed- last year the Skins ranked 26th in the league in stopping the run and allowed a 2nd-worst in the NFL 4.8 yards per carry.  Monday saw more of the same with DeAngelo Williams ripping off 143 yards on 26 carries.  Much was made on social media of the Steeler runningback leaving a 75-cent tip at Ledo’s Pizza over the weekend.  Let the record show that it is not cool to stiff your waitstaff…but it is also not cool for a server to make a tip (or lack thereof) public.  After further examination, it was revealed that not only was the server fired but that Williams ordered salads and pasta.  At Ledo’s Pizza.  He probably also gets the Western Omelet at IHOP…

Mason Nation- major shout-out to linebacker Mason Foster, who can order the oatmeal at IHOP for all I care after tallying 14 tackles against the Steelers.  Or the Chicken Christopher at Mortons.  Or the hamburger at Union Oyster House.

Situation Norman- thank goodness they brought in Josh Norman to cover the likes of the Antonio Browns of the NFL.  Except for Monday night…when Brown tore through the Redskin secondary like a blowtorch through butter to the tune of 8 catches for 126 yards, two touchdowns and one massive endzone gyration that merited not just a penalty but a spot on “Dancing With the Stars”.  While it was uncomfortable watching Bashaud Breeland get turned inside out (he did make an early interception while tallying 9 tackles), with every catch one thought “where was Josh?”.  Especially when the $75 million dollar price tag and FOX pregame segments are involved.  The team threw out the “scheme” talk of Norman taking one side of the field…much like if the Nationals only had closer Mark Melancon pitch to right-handers.  While it’s not like this is a defense that doesn’t have a slew of potential leaks, but not to make the adjustment seems short-sighted.  One cannot wait to see where Dez Bryant lines up in week two…

Flying Flags- nine penalties for 55 yards…with two on special teams and seven on offense.  Five false starts (wondering what sort of drills we’ll see in Ashburn this week) and two holds.  Kory Lichtensteiger was flagged for two false starts while Trent Williams was tagged for a false start and a hold.  Most costly penalty?  Actually the sequence that saw a Vernon Davis hold wipe out a 10-yard Matt Jones run…turning a 1st & 10 at the Pittsburgh 32 into a 1st & 20 at the Washington 48.  Tack on a Trent Williams false start before the next snap and the Skins were 1st & 25 at their own 43.  They’d wind up turning the ball over on downs…missing the marker by one yard after coughing up 15 via infractions.  Pittsburgh would take the ball 67 yards on 14 plays to score just before halftime and the Skins would never be within a touchdown again.

Dissecting the Division- so Philadelphia and the New York Giants, despite making coaching changes, stand atop the NFC East?  The Giants 20-19 win over Dallas gives them the divisional record (1-0) tiebreaker and first place in the standings this week.  Philadelphia’s win over Division III Cleveland (I still believe they don’t give out scholarships with the Browns) allows the Eagles to embrace all that is Carson Wentz.  Dallas is in last place because of their 0-1 division record.  But that can all change Sunday.

Halloween Costumes have come a long way over the years– does anybody remember the cardboard masks/plastic smocks we used to march around in during Elementary School? Sadly, after one wear the outfit is usually tossed…and what was Planet of the Apes one year becomes Happy Days the next. Unless your parents put tin foil on the mask and say…”Hey– wouldn’t you like to be a robot this year?”. The area schools have worn different disguises over the first two months: Maryland as a healthy team… Virginia Tech as a club that could actually run the football and Virginia as a defense about to turn the corner. Sadly, you can only wear the mask/smock for so long (I think the plastic actually dissolves in water)…

Alma Mater Update– talking about masquerades…who were those people wearing blue helmets with blue jerseys and orange pants last weekend in Atlanta? I’m still recovering from getting gutted by Georgia Tech, as well as eating breakfast twice at Waffle House. Thank goodness they have this weekend off to prepare for Wake Forest…perhaps after seeing the success of the 3-4 defense they shift to a 2-5 or a 1-4-2. The good news is we did have the creamed spinach–I recommend you try it the next time you’re at a Morton’s near you. You’ll want to rub it all over…your steak.

Maryland vs #9 Clemson– the Terps hold Homecoming by hosting an irate top ten team coming off a 37-point humbling by Florida State. Who schedules these games? Isn’t Homecoming supposed to be the day you welcome “Northeast Southwest Tech State”? While Tajh Boyd isn’t Jameis Winston–who is?–the Tigers quarterback is probably the second-best in the league. And now that Tommy Bowden is a distant memory on the sidelines, the Terps don’t seem to have that weird hex they had over Clemson (6-3 from 2001-09) anymore. Did I mention that the Terps are more banged up than they were last week? Quarterback CJ Brown’s out with a “trunk” injury while their leading rusher (Brandon Ross) and top two receivers (Stefon Diggs and Deon Long combine for over 50% of the team’s receptions) are sidelined as well. Do any of the distinguished alums returning have eligibility remaining? Terps tumble, 34-18.

Virginia vs Georgia Tech– I’ve seen the Yellowjacket option. It’s only scary if you can’t tackle…and the Cavalier defense has been rather cavalier during the four game losing streak, allowing an average of 31 points per game. That’s already not ideal–but the fact that this is not a team built to play catch-up (last in the ACC in passing efficiency) gives on the impression that is could be a long afternoon in Charlottesville. Kippy and Buffy are right to bring a bottle of Boxwood 2010 Topiary (61% Cabernet Franc 39% Merlot): “brick-red color, with a very complex nose of strawberry, pepper, tobacco and molasses with some oak notes”…enjoyed with white cheddar and M.Y. San Skyflakes Crackers. Cavaliers come up short, 26-17.

#16 Virginia Tech vs Duke– So much for a soft spot coming out of the bye week…the Blue Devils rallied from 22 points down in Charlottesville last weekend and can clinch bowl eligibility for the second time in three years Saturday. With Anthony Boone at quarterback, these aren’t your father’s Dukies (unless you’re thinking Sonny Jurgensen in the 50’s, Ben Bennett in the early 80’s or Steve Spurrier’s 1989 ACC Champs). The Hokies have won six straight despite a ground game that ranks 11th in the ACC… and has seen quarterback Logan Thomas emerge as the main running threat (he’s led the Hokies in rushing in three of the last four games). Good thing Thomas has settled down after a shaky start– the senior’s gone three games without throwing an interception. Hokies continue to streak towards a Coastal Division Clash with unbeaten Miami, defeating Duke 28-24.

Navy slips to Pitt, Georgetown falls to Colgate, Howard gets by Morgan State, Towson tops Richmond, James Madison beats William & Mary.

Last Week: 5-3.
Overall: 45-10.

Don’t look now, but the ACC is back, babydoll. The much-maligned league enters this weekend with three top ten teams and Saturday night’s nationally televised instant classic is a battle for the Atlantic Division lead between #3 Clemson and #5 Florida State. With an unbeaten Miami preparing for a Coastal Division showdown against a Virginia Tech team that’s won 6 straight (after losing to two-time defending champ and #1 Alabama). This is the ACC that John Swofford dreamed of ten years ago when he pulled the Hurricanes and Hokies away from the Big East. October and November games in the national championship conversation…with Heisman Trophy hopefuls at multiple schools. A shame Louisville joins next year–after Teddy Bridgewater leaves for the NFL. Does it get any better than this ?

Alma Mater Update“Dave and Bob’s Football Reunion Adventure V” takes place this weekend in Atlanta as the Orange face “cross-division rival” Georgia Tech. Wow—I mean…it’s amazing to join a new league and all of a sudden have 13 bitter rivals! This is fun! I roomed with Bob my freshman year and he later lent his skills to “Big Bob’s Picks” on SUNup (a UUTV staple with Dominick Pupa and Lori Geary). Records have been lost (or destroyed), but I believe he went a Vegas-alerting 76-12-3 before moving cross-country and changing his identity. His take: “Dave, you see the Yellowjacket Option won’t hurt the Orange as much as you’d think because the misdirection is designed to get fast defenders to make the wrong decision—and we don’t have fast defenders. The SU offense remains offensive—and that’s not a good thing. I see both teams running the ball as much as they possibly can—meaning we’ll be out and about postgaming by 3 at the latest. And can we get the creamed spinach at Morton’s?”

Maryland at Wake Forest—the Terps can become Bowl Eligible with a victory. That means 6 wins in 8 weeks for a program that won just 6 times in the first two seasons under coach Randy Edsall. Quarterback CJ Brown is back after missing the Virginia game with a concussion…but a dinged up defense is what concerns me: linebacker Alex Twine joins the banged up bunch with a shoulder injury—they’ve already lost Yannik Cudjo-Virgil for the season this week and one wonders how they’ll keep Tanner Price in check. The Demon Deacon senior isn’t Jameis Winston, but he’s much better than David Watford. Terps punch their ticket to some bowl we’ll be complaining about in two months, 21-19.

Virginia vs. Duke– the Cavaliers begin a three game homestand by trying to snap a three game losing streak. The winless in the ACC Blue Devils drop by Scott Stadium—and you’d think two things: a UVa season-saving win and a tailgate reunion of Tommy & Cricket with Kippy & Buffy. But Duke’s 0-2 conference start is a byproduct of not having Anthony Boone at quarterback for those games; he’s returned and the Blue Devils are unbeaten when he plays. Meanwhile, Tommy & Cricket remain pissed that Kippy & Buffy are going with Virginia-wines only; as a subscriber to Wine Spectator they only delve in Napa Cabs nowadays. K&B go with Barboursville Octagon—the 2009 vintage winning the Governors Cup: “Fine garnet color with very forthcoming aromas of lush, fresh fruit, emphasizing ripened cherry…”. Perfect with Cotswold Cheese on Nabisco “Sociables”. While T&C lose on the wine, the Cavaliers come up short, 37-26.

Navy tops Toledo, Georgetown loses to Lehigh, Howard is humbled by Florida A&M, Towson tops Albany, William & Mary falls to Maine, Richmond loses to Rhode Island.

Last Week: 6-1.
Overall: 40-7.