Sunday, November 14, 2004

At Least I Didn't Pay $59 For The Ticket

I comped a pair of tickets to the Redskins-Bengals game, so I just got back from FedEx field. It was, how should I say this, the worst game I've ever seen a team I was rooting for play. The Redskin offense was abismal in the first half. Mark Brunell, rest his NFL soul, was 1-8, 6 yards, 1 INT, before Joe Gibbs finally took pity and yanked him in the second quarter. Patrick Ramsey played somewhat better, especially in the second half. Part of his problem was that the receivers were not used to his passing style (he tended to throw in the general area of the receiver) and his passes come in hard. If Ramsey had practiced his other sport, javelin, in ancient times he'd be the one they stood up on the top of the hill and used to rain spears down on the enemy below.

The offensiveness of the offense has finally affected the defense. In the first half they managed to make Carson Palmer look like Brett Farve and Rudi Johnson look like Walter Payton. Many times, it seemed, the defense would make a good stop during a set of downs, and leave the Bengels with third and long. Then Palmer would throw something for 10-15 yards, and we'd start over again. Other times, Johnson would just take off and not get tackled. No one looked good on the defense. Smoot missed two tackles on pass plays that went for long yards. Now, I'm not saying that he has to stop everyone, he's not that big. But he should be able to hold on and slow them down until help comes.

At half time I was considering doing something I'd never done before -- leave immediately. I was wrong, I should have left at the end of the first quarter. In any case, we stayed. Ramsey got better as the game went on, but he wasn't good enough to get 17 points on the board during the second half. Time management was a problem. The first Skins scoring drive, the field goal, started with 9 minutes left in the fourth and ended with less than 5 minutes on the clock. At that point we left. Washington did score one touchdown, but the game ended with Ramsey throwing an interception on the last drive.

Well, that season's over. At 3-6, with Pittsburgh, Dallas, Philly, New York, and Philly all left, there's no way they can get a wildcard. We can go on to basketball and wondering how much Beltran is going to get from Steinbrenner.

FedEx was its usual charming self. We were told to get there early, since they were allowing (gasp) pedestrians to access the stadium, and this was sure to slow things down. Of course, since most of the parking lots are about two light-years from the field everyone spends most of the time walking. Anyway, we arrived at 2pm for the 4pm start, and had no problem parking. Actually, I think we could have gotten there at 3:30 and had no trouble, because the place didn't fill up until into the first quarter. It never filled up completely, in fact. Even though the game was officially sold out, at least 10% of the seats were never filled. I spent most of the game with my feet stretch onto the seat in front of me. But, for our pains, we were rewarded with two hours of ear-damaging hip-hop. Note to Danny: the speakers are only 20 feet above row 25 in the 4xx sections. Don't you know, that makes things rather loud up there? Actually, if I wanted to hear that much rap, I would have hired my own DJ and spent the afternoon someplace warm. Funny, I thought the "NFL Experience" was WATCHING A GAME, not having my nerves jangled by incomprehensible music at a volume that must be measured in kilo-decibels. If I'd actually paid for tickets, given the performance of this team, I wouldn't.

I never went to a game at RFK, but this crowd certainly didn't match what I've heard about those years. Since the defense had few big plays, and the offense none in the first half, we were reduced to waiting for a chance to boo Mark Brunell. Fortunately, we had many chances. No one booed Ramsey, but that will come if the offense doesn't improve. Sorry Patrick, but that's how it is.

Prospects for next year: it depends on how Ramsey develops. He's never really gotten a fair shot, and Gibbs does wonders with even mediocre QBs, so I have some hope. But it's going to be next year at the earliest, and only if Gibbs can persuade the Danny that he doesn't need to sign a big free agent, just a lot of good utility players.

It seems like I have a lot more to say, but I can't remember it now, so I'll sign off.


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