By Tony Kornheiser
Monday, December 5, 2005
Late last week my colleagues Sally Jenkins and Tom Boswell wrote columns ripping the Redskins as hopelessly mediocre. Each in their signature way -- Boz, using statistics; Sally, from her home in New York -- made specific fun of me because of my optimistic opinion that the Redskins would win the rest of their games, beginning with the Lambs in St. Louis.
Who's laughing now, huh?
Norv Turner may be 1-0 against Joe Gibbs. Marty Schottenheimer may be 1-0 against Joe Gibbs. But nobody named Joe Vitt is going 1-0 against Joe Gibbs.
Granted, it was a terribly, terribly dull game, where the most exciting play occurred when Mark Brunell had enough wits about him to shovel his fumble through the end zone and take a safety rather than risk a defensive touchdown. I wonder if the Harvard kid would have been as sharp in that instant.
But as plodding as the game was, the Redskins dominated it. The defense gave up next to nothing. Ryan Fitzpatrick was decent, but how many points did he put up? Seven. That's what happens when professional coaches see you on film and get a week to prepare for you. On offense the Redskins ran the ball like they were applying for a patent. Clinton Portis and Rock Cartwright both gained well over 100 yards, eating up geography and time. The Rams were barely on the field in the second half. Their big runner, Stephen Jackson, ran more like Andrew Jackson.
This was a vintage Joe Gibbs formula win: Give up nothing in the second half, and pound the ball relentlessly. It's the formula Gibbs will try to replicate in Arizona next Sunday. I bring this up because at the end of the first half, the Fox head Brian Baldinger lashed out at Gibbs for not scoring enough points and being unreceptive to input. Baldinger essentially called Gibbs a mastodon, and insinuated that the NFL game had passed him by. I checked with the desk to find out how many Super Bowl rings Mr. Baldinger has. He has none. He's rich in opinion, though.