Awakened From My Slumber
Redskins 16 - 10 Saints
I missed much of this while in transit, but from what I've read the defense really brought it. I turned on the TV just after the Carlos Rogers INT of Drew Brees in the 4th and saw the Saints had 10 points and thought one of two things was going on.
1) The Saints were turning the ball over repeatedly
2) The Redskins were finally playing defense like they have in the past and just stopping the Saints
I learned quickly that it was 2), as the Rogers pick was the only turnover by the Saints all day and they only gained 270 yards of total offense. The Skins didn't shoot themselves in the foot with penalties (only 3) ran the ball well, and didn't turn the ball over once. With a young quarterback, you need to run the ball well and keep the opponent off the scoreboard to keep the kid from having to win the games on his own. You could argue that running the ball and stopping the other team is always the formula to win, but it becomes that much more important when winning the game on the arm of the QB isn't really an option.
The Captain thinks that Ladell Betts is a better fit for the Redskins and the Joe Gibbs running game than Clinton Portis, and thinks that Ladell's recent performance proves his point. Statistically Betts has been great since Portis left with injury in Week 10 against Philadelphia. Portis carried 6 times against Philly in that game and Betts carried 20 times, so we'll consider Week 10 as the time that Betts became the primary carrier. Since then, he's carried 134 times for 650 yards for an average of 22.3 carries per game. Before Portis got hurt, he played in 8 games (including Week 10). In those 8 games he carried 127 times for 523 yards, and an average of 15.9 carries per game. Statistically, Betts is better, but that doesn't mean that he's the better back. Why? 22.3:15.9, the per-game carry ratio for Betts and Portis. Having a young quarterback means you have to run the football more, and the Skins have returned to that M.O. with Campbell in there. Under Brunell, who was supposedly a more reliable passer, the Redskins went away from the run a bit and it showed in the stats for Portis. 16 carries a game for your star running back is not going to win you games. Also, in 8 games Portis garnered 7 rushing TDs and a long run of 38 yards. Betts has 2 rushing TDs all year and a long run of 26 yards. Betts is good for chewing up yards, but Clinton Portis is the guy that makes big plays and scores you touchdowns. You tell me which you'd rather have - and don't get me started on how the rushing offense is now more simple with less plays designed for cutbacks (as Portis specializes) now that Betts is in.
Freddy Adu to Real Salt Lake
Good riddance. It was about time. That's about all I have to say about that. Nick Rimando, on the other hand, I am sad to see go.
Washington Wizards 147 - 141 Los Angeles Lakers (OT)
If you didn't stay up late to catch this, you missed a real treat. Gilbert Arenas set a career and franchise high by scoring 60 points (including 16 in overtime!) as the Wizards eventually held on to beat the Lakers after blowing a 17 point 4th quarter lead. Arenas went head to head with Kobe Bryant, besting Bryant's 45 points and beating him off the dribble a few times down the stretch, and came out on top in the W column and in the statistical column. Bryant (who later said Arenas has "no conscience") scored only 4 points in OT, and finished 2 rebounds shy of a triple double with 10 assists and 8 boards. It's just a shame this game was at Staples Center and ended after 12:30am EST.
Terrell Owens is a spitter
Funny. I figured he only spits when it's Parcells, but swallows when it's Tony Romo and Jerry Jones. On Saturday night he evidently spat on Atlanta Falcons alleged cornerback (though you'd never know it from his play) Deangelo Hall. I don't like Owens or Hall and I'll wait to see if there's footage, but whether it's Roberto Alomar, Sean Taylor, or Terrell Owens, nobody should be spitting on anybody. Of course this will get more attention than it should since it's Terrell Owens, but it will be interesting to see whether the hammer comes down on him.
Nuggets v. Knicks
What a brawl in Madison Square Garden huh? To think I was actually in the city that night but didn't hear about it til I got back home. Carmelo Anthony wins the punch of the year award, but it looks like he pulled a Brendan Haywood and ran away immediately after. The Wizards travel to Denver tonight to play the Nug (leave off the "gets" because they'll probably be less than half a team) tonight and should win easily. Penalties will likely come down today. Too bad the Knicks and Nuggets have already finished their season series. I guess Round 2 will have to wait until next year, unless they meet in the NBA Finals.
...okay, I was laughing as I typed that last part. We all know the Knicks aren't going to the finals with Isaiah Thomas running things, and speaking of Zeke, he evidently is under NBA investigation for his role in the fight, including telling Anthony that he and Marcus Camby should not have been in the game after it was decided, and also advising Anthony not to go near the basket shortly before the foul that started the whole brawl occurred. Hmm... The Fire Zeke watch could be heating up. I mean, more than it already is.