LANDOVER - Sitting in the fold up chair right in front of his locker, Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, still beside himself after his team lost 27-24 against the Dallas Cowboys, took his time getting dressed. He knew a throng of reporters stood waiting right behind him, and that he'd attempt to explain how he turned in what he considers to be his most disappointing effort of the season.
When Hall finally stood up to faced them, he delivered a self-loathing tirade that epitomized his frustration.
"The way I'm playing right now," the corner seethed, "[the Redskins] need to cut me."
In a game that was as closely contested as it was, Hall knew that his team was just one big play away from a victory, one that would end the team's losing streak. He had his chance to deliver in overtime, when Tony Romo scrambled and spotted an open Dez Bryant on third-and-15. Hall was matched up with Bryant, but slipped on the play, creating the opening for Bryant to make the catch for a 24-yard gain. The completion put the ball in range for the game-winning field goal.
"When you pay a guy the kind of money I'm making, you expect [me] to make that play," he said.
What was worse for Hall is that this is a feeling he knew all too well. He'd been beaten earlier in the season by Bryant on a third-and-21 catch that would eventually lead to the go-ahead field goal.
"I'm the reason we lost the game. It's frustrating. It's tough to swallow. Second time in a row to Dallas [and Bryant], so definitely a little pissed off at myself," he said.
Hall was correct to think the Redskins were one big play away from winning the game. They were. And though he ultimately gave up the game's decisive play, there were others in the Redskins locker room who felt they were had their chance to seal the win.
On the opposite side of the locker room, a dejected Graham Gano had to face the music after he too missed his chance. Earlier in overtime, he lined up to attempt a potential 52-yard game-winning field goal. The kick had the distance, but sailed wide right, denying the Redskins of ending their five-game skid and giving the Cowboys an excellent chance to stretch it to six.
"I just missed it," he explained frankly. "No excuses, just missed it."
"It's very frustrating. I don't feel any pressure out there whatsoever. I love those opportunities [to win the game] and to not pull through is very disappointing."
It was just that kind of day for these Redskins, now losers of six in a row. Just when they showed signs of life in each phase of the game, they still couldn't make that one last play.
Rookie Ryan Kerrigan was another Redskin player lamenting his opportunity to change the game. Early in the fourth quarter, Washington's top 2011 draft pick dropped back in his zone with plenty of time to read and react to a Romo pass. He leaped up and extended his arms, trying to haul in what would have been a momentum-shifting interception. Instead, the ball was deflected off his finger tips and landed into the arms of Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett for a first down. Three plays later, Romo found Jason Witten for a go-ahead 59-yard touchdown.
"That [play] was a heartbreaker for me," Kerrigan said. "Nine times out of ten I bet I make that catch, and then the one time I actually got the chance, I didn't make it. I should have made the play."
Of all the losses the Redskins have suffered this season, this may have been the most frustrating. Not only because of how close the game was, but because they lost despite getting season-best performances from the two units that rarely came to play over the last month and a half. The offense was resurrected, scoring a season-high 24 points. Brandon Banks had his most impactful day of the season, sparking the offense with returns of 32 and 55 yards.
And yet, on a day where the team did make plenty of plays, it's the fact that they couldn't deliver just one more that'll keep Washington's search for their fourth victory of 2011 going until after Thanksgiving.
"It's one thing to fight, but it's another thing to fight and win," said defensive captain London Fletcher. "I feel like eventually, because of the character, it's going to happen for us and we're going to make more plays. We're going to make more plays to win these games."
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