Boxscores are often lying jerks.
A casual glance at last night’s end game tells us that Robert Griffin III was both mobile and aerial with his 281 passing yards and 44 rushing yards with three touchdowns. Then there’s Alfred Morris and his 139 rushing yards, and Pierre Garcon with 119 yards of his own, and all the yards after the catch a guy could ever want. This is the separation between fantasy and reality, as those names and more were hot fake football producers last night (let’s also toss in Jordan Reed’s continued uprising with 62 yards and six catches), but the result for the Redskins was still undesirable.
Why? And how? Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel, that’s why and how. Really.
The Vikings were trailing by 10 at halftime in a game they eventually won 34-27, and with a quarterback situation that’s mostly been incompetent, this isn’t a team built to come from behind. But there was Ponder, looking…mobile? And accurate? And confident?
Yes, he was all of those things, especially throughout an early third quarter drive in which he made several throws into tight areas while on the run, highlighted by a 28-yard touchdown pass to John Carlson, who is an emerging fantasy flex in his own right with 98 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions. For those brief moments Ponder showed all the tendencies that made him a first-round pick: that running ability, and comfort while out of the pocket.
Then he broke.
Frazier said ponder has dislocated left shoulder. Not sure when he’ll return
— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) November 8, 2013
That happened when Ponder did that Ponder thing, squirting out and experiencing an eyes widening effect when he saw the end zone. Unfortunately, he then learned that few good things happen when you stick the ball out while fully extended in a heroic touchdown dive. Even if he scored (note: he didn’t score), Ponder was still going to get whacked while in a position that left him fully exposed. But hey man, good job, good effort.
Ponder hopes to play next week, but in his absence Cassel was pretty alright. Sure, Adrian Peterson did his running and juking thing on his way to 75 yards and two touchdowns, but Cassel played the part of the babysitter well. The highlight of his non-implosion was a high-arching 25-yard pass to Jerome Simpson that cleared the linebacker, and landed just in front of Baccari Rambo.
The implosion was left to Griffin and the Redskins offense overall. Griffin was sacked four times, including back-to-back sacks early in the fourth quarter, and three from Kevin Williams. He had only been sacked four times over the Redskins’ past three games.
But there was a chance to erase it all, or at least force overtime. Oh, there was a chance, with the Redskins advancing the length of the field with three shots to score seven points from the Vikings’ four-yard line. Their timeouts had been erased, and so play calling options became somewhat limited. That’s why the run was abandoned, but a fade to Santana Moss is never a good idea on a play that will win or lose (or tie) a game. Yet there the ball was, sailing high to the corner on a low percentage throw. And there the Redskins’ playoff hopes went, crashing out of bounds along with Moss.
A fine fantasy night was had by all who started a primary Redskins offensive player. A reality night, however, was not to be had for Washington.
More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Hazing is just the dumbest
Look, I get the mentality behind hazing, and why it happens. Some young stud comes into the locker room after he was the big shot on campus and a top draft pick, and the veterans promptly show him that in the NFL, he’s just another player now. There’s that aspect, and there’s also the feeling that hazing is a rite of passage passed down continually year after year. Earlier this week Vikings defensive end Jared Allen talked about both of those things:
“From a player’s standpoint, I think some of the younger guys come in and there’s a sense of entitlement, and you lose that work ethic, you lose that true veteran-led locker room sometimes. You got to know who you’re dealing with. You can’t treat everyone the same. You can’t treat every rookie the same. Some guys are more sensitive than others, but it’s a sign of respect.”
Fair enough, and if the hazing is limited to typical boys being boys behavior like weird haircuts, tying humans to goalposts, or forcing the singing of fight songs, then whatever. All of that is stupid, but it’s harmless stupidity, and often even fun stupidity.
I dropped my Jonathan Martin hot take yesterday, and what he’s experienced is the very opposite of harmless. The same can be said for former offensive lineman Cam Cleeland, who’s hazing will stay with him for the rest of his life in a very literal sense.
Go read Sam Farmer‘s excellent piece on Cleeland, and then be thankful that the NFL stripped away at least a shred of its neanderthal tendencies some time ago, shedding the most extreme forms of hazing. Here’s what Cleeland had to endure as a Saints rookie, and the result was a shattered eye socket after taking a sock filled with coins, which still impairs his vision.
It was 15 years ago in a University of Wisconsin La Crosse dormitory that housed New Orleans Saints players for training camp. Cleeland and his fellow rookies were herded at one end of a long, narrow hallway. Their veteran teammates, most of them drunk, lined either side of the hall, leaving about a one-foot gap to get through.
This was the gantlet, a well-worn Saints tradition of hazing and a rite of passage for the rookies. Each had to run through with a pillowcase over his head, allowing each veteran a free shot at him.
Will we get another Matt Flynn sighting?
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Matt Flynn will reportedly workout for the Packers sometime in the near future. This won’t end well, though neither will Seneca Wallace.
But hey, if important men who rep the great state of Wisconsin in da big White House know a thing or two, Flynn is the guy, dammit.
Dez Bryant is a beast, and he’s second among all receivers with eight touchdowns.
That is good, but this is bad: Bryant missed practice Wednesday, and was limited yesterday due to a bulging disc. Settle down, because he’s not in any danger of missing time. But clearly this is ungood, and it could limit him going forward.
Cortland Finegan’s new kicks: yea or nay?
Cortland Finnegan is not a quiet man. No, he is a loud a boisterous individual, and later this year for a Week 16 game against the Bucs he’ll be wearing custom made shoes that will scream at you:
This is accurate
— 2Strong (@alexromeroo33) November 7, 2013