To quote Bill Parcells "you are what your record says you are." The Redskins are 5-8; therefore, they are not very good. On Sunday, at least they got off to an encouraging start in a 17-16 loss to Tampa Bay. The Redskins came out and ran all over the Bucaneers in the first half with a 272-144 yardage advantage, but had only a touchdown lead to show for it.
Too add to the degree of difficulty, they imploded on special teams with missed kicks, a fumble on a kickoff return, a hold on a different big kickoff return and a botched snap on the potential game tying extra point. Special teams were so bad I was looking for Mel Kiper's field goal kicker and holders rankings for 2011).
I'm guessing the game is unlikely to make NFL Replay this week on NFL Network. However, in the end the Redskins lost the ugly game that matched the weather at Fed Ex Field.
Haynesworth Gone, Drama Remains
Mike Shanahan did not even bother responding to the FOX Pregame report that Donovan McNabb would be on short leash Sunday. There was no drama in the game as Donovan McNabb took every snap. However, the Redskins are an easy target for pregame fodder because they are a bad team and have a history of drama. You never see these kind of stories about New England Patriots.
Then this one from crazy town on Football Night in America, where Mike Florio reported Shanahan is on the hot seat and Dan Snyder likes John Gruden. Really? Even Snyder is not that crazy, right? Again, nobody reports this kind of crap about the Patriots.
Welcome Back Ryan Torain. Now Stay on the Field
Ryan Torain was back Sunday after missing four games with a hamstring injury and he came out running angry with 121 yards in the first quarter and 158 yards by halftime. For the game Torain would rush 24 times for 174 yards for his third 100-plus yard game this season. He made Tampa Bay's defense look like they were players in the Tiny Football League. Nice return.
It would have been even better if he got more than six carries in the second half. Yes that is on you Kyle Shanahan. It was just another example of the Redskins' inability to sustain anything for a full 60 minutes this season.
McNabb Fit Enough for Two-Minute Drill
Donovan McNabb had a solid day Sunday thanks to an actual running game. He was given protection most of the game and the play action worked for him too. He was even fit enough to lead the Skins on a 13-play 75-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Santana Moss (of course it was ruined by botched extra point). McNabb was 22-35 for 228 yards and a QB rating of 100.7 with two touchdowns and zero turnovers. It should have been enough for at least overtime.
Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell are long gone, but the clock management issues continue. Kind of shocking considering the team has a veteran head coach and a veteran quarterback. The strangest thing is it appears Mike Shanahan controls the timeouts from the sideline.
Just before half, the Redskins had the ball on the Bucs' two-yard line and took their second timeout. But then, the Redskins let the play clock run all the way down, causing a delay of game penalty that pushed the ball back to the seven-yard line. Then, to add insult to injury, they burned their final timeout, and McNabb's third down pass was incomplete. Somehow Graham Gano actually made a field goal to put the Redskins up by seven at the break.
Graham Gano missed field goals from 34 yards and 24 yards. Chris Wilson fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half when the Bucs kicked short to avoid Brandon Banks. A 34-yard return by Banks later was erased by a Mike Sellars hold (which didn't hurt in end because the Redskins marched down for a touchdown). And, of course, there was the low light, with Hunter Smith botching the snap (which was a bit high) on the potential game tying extra point. I'm not about to assume Ga-No would have made it had the snap been put down though.
A side note: sure Ga-No has been frustrating, but had Norv Turner stuck with David Akers in 1998 after he missed two kicks in a game, the Redskins would not be in this spot. So unless the next David Akers is available right now, the Redskins are probably better of sticking with Gano through the season. The point here is that the market place is not flooded with a lot of kicking options and this team has much bigger needs.
Brian Orapko is so Holdable
On Josh Freeman's 4th quarter touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow the soldier Brian Orapko was held ... or hugged ... or violated without a flag. The Buccaneers end up going for two and take a 7 point lead. The play kind of sums up the treatment the second-year player gets each week. He is a force and one of the few young bright spots on this roster and the team moves forward.
However, a piece of advice Rak, change your cologne. Whatever you are using is driving Offensive Tackles crazy and they can't seem to keep their hands off you.
Fox Creates a Fifth-Down Controversy
Fox Announcers had us convinced the Redskins final touchdown was scored on a 5th down. One problem: they were completely wrong! For some reason, FOX didn't pick up that Anthony Armstrong got a first down with a 10-yard completion to the two-yard line. They had it as second and two instead of first and 10 from the two. That explains the discrepancy.