The Freak’s road show

John
John Turner
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Checks out Redskins’ home game

The Freak is on the road for the next six weeks, visiting a different NFL city every Sunday, and will be rating the fans, stadiums, city, tailgating, football knowledge, etc.

The road trip started on a rough note after The Freak’s sister-in-law Bev provided some surprise game tickets to the Giants and Redskins on Monday night in Landover, Md. Unfortunately, the Gmen forgot that games are 60 minutes long, and it cost them in a 17-16 loss. 

The Freak wasn’t the only person there from Summerside as Jason Ahern and a crew from the Island were also at the game. They seemed to be enjoying it a little more than The Freak.

It was great to see Eli Manning play live for the first time (will see him again in a month in New Jersey) as he was sharp and fitted a number of passes into a very small window. But some untimely penalties, and a couple of dropped balls, hurt the Gmen on this night.

In terms of FedEx stadium, it holds over 85,000, which makes it one of the largest stadiums in the NFL after Cowboy Stadium. There were a number of empty seats for such a big game for the Redskins, which is rather surprising. 

The Freak, who previously visited old RFK Stadium and that place used to shake, thought the crowd wasn’t very loud until the Redskins took the lead in the fourth quarter. It was deafening loud when Eli and the boys got the ball on their final drive. 

There were also many Giants’ fans at the game as the trek from New York is not that far if you’re a die-hard fan. There were lots of Eli and Cruz jerseys, with a number of LT jerseys as well. 

Surprisingly, The Freak wasn’t abused or hit by a beverage by the good-natured Washington fans when he stood up on a couple of big plays by the Gmen, so you can’t knock them too hard. 

Although this is a pro team, their “Hail to the Redskins” song is rather college-like, but on the two touchdowns the whole stadium was singing the chant, which was neat to see – if you weren’t a Giants’ fan.

One thing for sure about Redskins’ fans is they love RGIII. The rookie’s jersey was by far the most popular amongst fans. There were many chants of “RG3” prior to the game and throughout the game. He definitely is the man and the face of the franchise, but can he continue this great play for a whole season, and a career, with the way he runs the ball? 

The second-most popular jersey had to be No. “21” – the jersey of the late Sean Taylor while you also saw some old ones in “28” (Darrell Green) and “44” (John Riggins).

The hype of RGIII is real. There isn’t a faster player to see in person, because if he gets to the edge and if you don’t take good angles, you won’t catch him.

However, a quarterback like him has a larger bulls-eye on his back than a pure pocket passer because of his running ability. He really took some scary, clean hits from the Giants’ defence, and we all know these type of quarterbacks will get injured sooner than later.

He is a great talent, with a very accurate arm, and probably the best play-action quarterback The Freak has ever seen. On most of his plays, 90-per-cent of the crowd was faked out by his play-action and quarterback keeps. 

With defences needing to commit to the solid running game of Alfred Morris, teams can’t key on RGIII, making the option, and even triple option, very difficult to defence.

It’s time for The Freak to pack up the vehicle and head next to see the Falcons play Cam Newton and the Panthers. Hope to see a good game, and will report from Charlotte next week.

 

Stat of the week

20-for-52 and four picks was the combined quarterback play by Ryan Lindley and Mark Sanchez.

 

Pet peeve of the week

Listening to the Redskins’ fans and their lack of knowledge about the automatic review rules on touchdowns and turnovers.

 

Bonehead play of the week

San Fran’s Colin Kaepernick lateralling the ball over Ted Ginns’s head on an option play for a Rams’ touchdown, which sent the game into overtime.

 

The sure thing

Green Bay finds ways to win the close games, and Detroit finds ways to lose them. The same will apply this week. Take the Pack at home.

The Dolphins must make the trip across country to San Fran, which is angry after blowing another game to the Rams. 49ers will make Miami pay for last week’s performance. Take the Niners.

Poor old Arizona could only score six points against the Jets, and now have to play in the toughest stadium in the NFL against the Seahawks. Seattle is playing for the playoffs, and the Cardinals are playing for pride. Pride takes a back seat to the playoffs. Take Seattle.

 

Don’t mortgage the house picks

The Freak is a believer in RGIII and after seeing what he did to the Giants’ defence, he will do the same to the banged-up Ravens’ defence. The Redskins win at home, and are in the NFC East playoff hunt.

In perhaps a preview of the AFC Championship game, the Pats host the Texans on Monday Night Football. This should be a great game, but the Texans have shown they have some holes in their defence, and Tom Brady will exploit them. New England wins, and it gives them a shot at being at home throughout the playoffs.

In a big game for both the Cowboys and Bengals, Tony Romo will play well away from the pressure of Big D. Dallas will beat Cincy on a late fourth-quarter drive.

 

Upset special

The Freak will be in Charlotte, and has a gut feeling the Panthers will upset the 11-1 (won-lost) Falcons.

Cam Newton has played well the last three weeks, and will want to show his best for the travelling Islanders.

Superman is back, and the Panthers’ defence will pressure Matt Ryan into mistakes all day.

Last week: 5-for-7.

Season: 60-for-91.

 

John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

Organizations: Redskins, Giants, NFL Panthers Jets Cardinals Ravens Cowboys

Geographic location: Summerside, Landover, Iceland New Jersey FedEx stadium Cowboy Stadium RFK Stadium New York Washington Charlotte Detroit Miami Arizona NFC East New England

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