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Giants—After Further Review

Giants—After Further Review

Fishing a few nuggets out of last night's stream of consciousness.

Pregame

--Dallas lost which, as I said earlier, is OK with me. If—and it's a big if—the Redskins' chances of making the playoffs comes down to the last game, I'd rather it mean something to the Cowboys. After last week's near-miss against the Lions and today's dud against Philly, they're running into choppy waters for the first time of the year and at the worst time of the year. Not only that, the Redskins went toe to toe with them in Dallas last month. Bring 'em on.

I got a comment last night lamenting the fact that Dallas may not have the top seed wrapped up when they go to FedEx on the eve of New Year's Eve. And I certainly can understand that point of view. Who wouldn't rather face Brad Johnson and Sam Hurd than Tony Romo and TO? Still, I hate games that have no meaning for one or both teams. It would be great to force the Cowboys to travel to Lambeau to play in the NFC title game.

That is, if they make it that far. They haven't exactly looked like one of the best teams out there the last couple of weeks, needing a late score to beat a reeling Lions team and failing to post a TD in losing at home to the Eagles.

First Quarter

12:10—McIntosh is down with an injury. He's sitting up and it doesn't appear to be that bad, but the way this season is going for the Skins on the injury front anything is possible.

As we now know, it was quite serious. His year is done and training camp seems to be in jeopardy after suffering multiple torn knee ligaments. H. B. Blades and, in passing situations, Khary Campbell played well in Rocky's spot. This team was being panned for having no depth at the beginning of the year. McIntosh with be the 12th of the 22 opening-day starters to miss a start. He is the sixth of that group to suffer a season-ending injury (counting Jason Campbell, who may or may not be back for the playoffs, and, of course, Sean Taylor in that group). The fact that they're 7-7 and in the playoff hunt is quite a tribute to their depth.

A low line drive by Suisham gets the Skins on the board.

FG Suisham 50
Redskins 3, Giants 0

It was officially a 49-yarder and it would have been good from 55. Suisham is getting his leg back under him and he's again looking like a valuable asset. Still, he's far from proven. I'd like to see him with a 40+ yard attempt with the Skins trailing Dallas by two in the fourth quarter.

Second quarter

14:10—Collins is now 0-8. He's been getting some pressure, but he's been misfiring with time to throw, too.

Yes, Collins started out poorly and wasn't spectacular at any point. Eventually, he seemed to figure out the wind's effect on the ball and he dropped a couple into the arms of Moss to get things going. The important thing was that he didn't put the ball anywhere near a Giant's hands.

Who says the third-down draw won't work?

Betts 14 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 13, Giants 0

I was thinking, of course, of the pure hell that Gibbs and Saunders caught for calling a draw play in the fourth quarter of the Eagles game in Week 10. It was third and goal at the seven with the Redskins up by two. Portis was stuffed, the Skins settled for a field goal and Philly was able to come back for the win. This one was on third and nine at the 14 with the Redskins up by six. Is there a difference in the two play calls other than one of them worked and one didn't? When it works, you're a genius, when it doesn't you're an idiot.

1:51—Bad, bad play by Landry after a great, great play. He pops the ball out of Burress' hands and then taunts him. Dumb, dumb, dumb. The rookie needs to grow up.

At least when he popped the Bears receiver late he gained a little bit of an intimidation factor in exchange for the 15 yards. Wagging your finger at a receiver doesn't get you anything except laughed at.

Landry cost them three points. I think Joe Gibbs was very tempted to use words stronger than "buns" when he saw that penalty.

You could make a case that he didn't really cost the Skins three points, at least not in net terms. If the Giants punt there the Skins probably are pinned back well inside the 20 with about 1:45 to go. Maybe they drive for a field goal from there, maybe they don't. It was a lot easier to do so after getting the kickoff return to the 30, that's for sure. So, it's possible that the Redskins carry a 13-point lead into the locker room regardless of Landry's penalty. That doesn't make it OK by any means, but the net result wasn't too damaging.

Third Quarter

Portis has 16 carries for 88 yards after a slow start. If he hits near those same numbers in the second half and the Redskins continue to play with what I'll call intelligent aggression, the Skins will win. Oh, and the D needs to adjust to NY's halftime adjustments.

Portis ended up with 25 carries for 126 so he had nine for 38 in the second half, so his production did drop off in the second half. Actually, the team's offensive output after the opening drive of the second half was minimal. They had 197 in the first half, 46 on the drive that made it 22-3 and just 66 after that.

1:47—Thank you, Amani Toomer. He smoked Springs and then flat-out dropped a pass in Washington territory.

A couple of New York and national media outlets have been saying that Toomer dropped a sure touchdown here. No. Landry was playing his deep safety position and he was in the vicinity of Toomer, who isn't going to outrun anyone, much less Landry. New York would have had the ball in Redskins territory, but not very deep and certainly not anywhere near the goal line.

Fourth Quarter

13:10—Tynes (I think I've misspelled his name earlier once or twice) goes wide left on a 38-yard try. I still think the Skins will need another score, but a 12-point lead looks pretty nice right now.

That was more the lack of confidence caused by so many second-half collapses than logic talking there. That, and a memory of Manning going from looking awful to leading the Giants back in the fourth quarter against Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Still, for all intents and purposes, the Tynes miss sealed it for the Redskins. Even if he'd hit it it still was a two-score game.

5:10—Portis for four. A big third and six coming up here. I'm not sure what the call will be, which is a good thing. A few weeks ago, I knew it would be a run.

Again, not really being rational here. There was a zero percent chance that Collins was going to drop back there. The only way the Giants were going to get back into the game was with a turnover and quick score.

1:54—Ironic, isn't it? Betts was in at the end in September against the Giants and he couldn't score. Today, he gets three carries and the Skins go into victory formation.

Of course, it was a very, very different situation compared to when Betts couldn't get into the end zone in Week 3, but there was a touch of irony there.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

One of the longest eras in NASCAR will come to an end concluding the 2017 season.

Early on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports announced that 18-year veteran, longtime Redskins fan and popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire at the conclusion of the current season.

Earnhardt, son of the late legendary seven-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr., told his No. 88 team members before the organization released the news.

Last season, the 42-year-old missed the final 18 races of the NASCAR season due to a concussion. The injury resulted in a 32nd place finish in the NASCAR standings and it was the first time he missed the association's 'playoffs' since 2010. 

Throughout his long career, Earnhardt captured 26 race wins, two being the elusive Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. Due to the legendary status of his father, he never quite lived up to the level many placed on the Earnhardt family name. His win total is roughly a third of his father's and has not won a championship. Best career points finish for Earnahrdt was third in 2003, and finished fifth three times (2004, 2006, 2013). Starting in 603 total races, he has finished in the top 10 in nearly half of those races, 253 times.

Despite the lack of a championship, he was named NASCAR's most popular driver 14 times, trailing only Bill Elliott who won that honor 16 seasons. 

RELATED: EARNHARDT FORCED TO RACE IN EAGLES-THEMED CAR

At the end of 2017, Earnhardt's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire after 10 seasons with NASCAR's most successful team. Prior to his tenure with Hendrick, he was a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for eight years where he won 17 of his total 26 race wins. 

Currently, Earnhardt is 24th in the NASCAR standings, 50 points behind the cut-off for the final playoff spot. There are still 18 races remaining in the season for him to make up the ground with some of his best tracks still on the docket. In addition, a win would boost Earnhardt up into a playoff spot due to NASCAR's playoff system. 

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring, there will be one Earnhardt remaining in the Monster Energy Cup Series to carry the family name. Grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and nephew of Jr., Jeffery Earnhardt is a regular in the series. 

Hendrick Motorsports announced in their release that they will not name a replacement for Earnhardt Jr. just yet. During his 18-race absence in 2016, he was replaced by a young prospect, Alex Bowman and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

It is anticipated either Bowman or 19-year-old William Byron, who Rick Hendrick signed to an Xfinity Series contract last season, will take his place. 

As a lifetime fan of the Washington football team, Earnhardt has been known to put his opinion of the team out there.

He was not happy with how the team handled Scot McCloughan situation, and publicly voiced his support of Kirk Cousins

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One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

Football coaches hate fumbles, and Jay Gruden is no different. Remember that Matt Jones had established himself as the Redskins lead running back despite persistent fumbling issues his first two years in the NFL. That was until a goal line fumble Week 7 in Detroit. Jones never played again in 2016. 

Fast forward to Thursday night's NFL Draft, and the buzz surrounding the Redskins interest in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey could all boil down to fumbles.

Both Cook and McCaffrey visited Redskins Park, and both players possess the speed and game-breaking ability that could deliver big returns to the Washington offense. Since the NFL Combine, McCaffrey has emerged as the higher draft pick.

Their college statistics are fairly similar. Both players went for more than 5,000 total yards in three college seasons. The size is similar too, Cook gets listed at 6-foot, 209 lbs., while McCaffrey gets listed at 5-foot-11 and 203 lbs.

One area that's quite different: Fumbles. 

An average NFL running back fumbles once every 100 carries. Rich Tandler researched an incredible stat about the two players:

  • McCaffrey averages one fumble every 243 carries.
  • Cook averages one fumble every 63 carries. 

The difference is staggering. And it could be enough to keep the 'Skins away from Cook at 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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