LANDOVER - For Washington Redskins fans, this has to feel like groundhogs day. Coming off of a 23-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, there was a tiny ray of hope that the team would build on their offensive momentum created in that game and carry it into this week's match up against the New York Jets.
That wasn't to be. Not in the slightest. The Redskins fell 34-19 to New York to lower their record to 4-8, and one that gives them their seventh loss in their last eight games.
"It's frustrating," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "I'm just disappointed in the way we finished...It's hard to win the football game when you finish like we did."
To Shanahan's point, the game started off well for the Redskins, but ended in nightmare-ish fashion.
One of the toughest pills to swallow for the coach was the fact that the much maligned Redskins offense briefly looked like it had turned the corner in the early going. The seemingly resurgent offense started things off in impressive fashion as they scored on their second straight game-opening possession. The drive featured a heavy dose of rookie running back Roy Helu, who had six touches for a combined 40 yards, including his two yard plunge into the endzone to make it 7-0 early.
"Usually you script your first fifteen [plays]," said quarterback Rex Grossman, "and I stayed on schedule and had some great plays and some great runs."
The Jets responded with an opening drive score of their own, traveling 74 yards on 17 plays and just over nine minutes.
The two teams went on to exchange field goals the rest of the first half, going into the locker room with the Redskins leading 13-10.
After a third quarter which featured each team boasting their offensive ineptitude, with Grossman completing zero passes and Sanchez passing for just 19 yards, most were wondering if any team deserved to win the game.
But the Redskins refusal to put the Jets away cost them in the fourth quarter.
It only took New York just over a minute to put the nail in the Redskins coffin in the fourth quarter. The first big play came when the much maligned Sanchez connected with Santonio Holmes for a 30-yard touchdown.
But the Jets weren't done there. After forcing a Grossman fumble inside the Washington 10-yard line, the Jets essentially ended the game with a 9-yard Shaun Greene touchdown run to make it 27-16 in favor of the visitors.
"I think it's extra disappointing," said defensive tackle Barry Cofield. "Especially defensively, we played well for three and a half quarters. A lot of things hurt with the way we finished."
And just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. The Jets put the exclamation point on their victory as Greene scampered yet again for a score, this time for 25 yards to truly put the game away.
In a game that was so closely contested for most of the afternoon, the Redskins stunning fourth quarter collapse is clearly this game's defining moment.
"You look at the scoreboard at the end of the third quarter and see that we've only given up 160 yards of offense, we were playing really well," rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. "Unfortunately things got out of hand in the end."
The Redskins will now have to face an even stiffer test next week as they will host the 9-3 New England Patriots.