Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel have had one heck of a year playing corner in a league where the position is becoming rediculously hard to play with all the ticky-tack flags. Sheldon laid another perfect hit this year, probably his third huge-perfectly timed hit of the year by my estimation; this one on rather massive WR Brandon Marshall. Asante had another nice pick, and it would have been a huge play for us if the referees hadn't thrown a flag on macho for: A) laying a clean block after an interception B) laying a clean hit on a guy as Asante was coming down with the ball.
We have needed these guys to be this good, because our safety position is probably now worse than our lb position. I say this because Tracy White, the Spoon, Trotter, and akeem all played very well against the broncos. They all made nice tackles in the open field and played good coverage. Over the last handful of games I would probably name Quentin Mikell as the most dissapointing veteran player starting on the team. He has looked bad on some plays and is missing tackles. It wouldn't be so bad if Sean Jones hadn't looked much worse on some plays and whiffed on hits, as well as looking slow and taking poor angles to ballcarriers. I didn't see him get much time against the broncos, and I felt it was deserved.
I think our defense played a pretty good game. I was excited to see all our linebackers looking good, especially Akeem and Witherspoon, and including Moise Fokou. I already like Fokou more than Gocong, who I disliked from his first snap (so slow). The defense was put in some tough positions and they came through with clutch plays in the 4th. I am very excited about what this group can do in the post-season. A defense that creates alot of turnovers can be huge in the post-season and our offense can take advantage.
Jaqua Parkar has looked good against some pretty weak lineman the last two weeks, he had a nice game. But he really seems to disappear in big games, and I hope both Clemons and Howard get more chances going forward. Howard did another really nice spin move, everytime I see him on the field lately he is beating blockers. Bunkley, Patterson are looking in top form against the run, and we continue to hope they show up in the pass rush more. I am real happy with our DT's though, we stuff the run when we need to and a few years ago that wasn't the case.
In the first half our offense was a thing to behold. We designed plays for our great trio of McCoy/Weaver/Westy and then took strikes downfield to our pass-catchers. I wish we would have stuck with the formula. This Runningback trio should be fed in both the running and passing game and the other playmakers should become the very dangerous punishment if you focus on them too much. Dropping back and passing to the WR's 3 times in a row should not happen. Throw a screen or pitch or shovel pass or draw or swing pass or Run it to McCoy/Weave/West on at least one of them. Maybe if Vick was healthy the Wild-cat would have gotten things going. But the Wild-cat with Westy and then desean were bad plays.
Maclin made a very difficult and clutch grab. I remember Reggie Brown's rookie season, when he dropped a much easier pass against the Cowboys in the clutch and cost us. And lets not forget Kevin Curtis last year (I like KC but his hands are small and he drops a few). The point is that if Maclin can be DMac's man in the clutch, then he has Maclin/avant/djax/celek to make clutch grabs instead of Brown/Curtis/Pinkston/Thrash/Mitchell/LJ Smith.
Peters bounced back after a rough start. The O-line didn't play great but the Broncos defense is pretty good. McNabb made some nice off-balance throws with pressure all around him, but he also took some sacks trying to make plays. Good to see McNabb rip off a big run, hopefully he makes a few of those in the playoffs. I think our O-line will hold up well enough without Jamaal to allow our offense to be effective.
Best playoff match-up possible: Vikings - we'd destroy Favre and shut down peterson enough. We'd kill their safeties with our speed
Others: Boys - playing any team two weeks in a row is tough
Packers - Their defense continues to improve and they were my super-bowl pick in the NFC before the season, mostly because I thought Rogers was elite. He is.
Saints - should we make it to a showdown with the supposed best team in the NFC for much of the year, I like our chances. Their defense got beat enough by Kolb, and they've regressed from where they were then. Our defense stunk the first meeting and I would look for McDermott to bring alot more heat this time around. Reggie Bush won't play for fear of Sheldon Brown making him look like a ragdoll again.