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Monday, September 28: Worst. Redskins Game. Ever.

Posted by Matt Terl on September 28, 2009 – 9:25 am

Well, after a night of further reflection, yesterday was still pretty freakin’ unpleasant. In fact, I think one of the only interesting things to come out of the game was a discussion in the comments here. No, not the ongoing attempt to assign blame for the loss — that one is just very grim to read — but the side discussion about which game represented the worst loss for the Washington Redskins.

In the heat of the moment yesterday, I had blandly suggested that the loss to Lions might be the worst Redskins loss in my lifetime. Other, cooler heads took grim pleasure in reminding me of any number of other terrible losses, and I thought it might make for a suitably depressing discussion and poll on this depressing Monday morning, while we wait for open locker room and Coach Zorn’s 12:25 press conference.

Here, then, are your choices, in chronological order:

Bears 73, Redskins 0 (1940) – In the 1940 NFL Championship Game, the Chicago Bears came to Washington, D.C., and administered what remains the most one-sided beatdown in NFL history. This game is memorable for a few other reasons — they stopped kicking extra points for fear of running out of footballs; Sammy Baugh responds to a post-game question about the significance of a dropped Redskins touchdown by saying, “The final score would have been 73-7.” — but despite all of those things it has to lose some points by having taken place almost seventy years ago. The Washington Post game story looks eerily familiar, though.

The Clint Longley Game (1974) – This one STILL makes both of my parents apoplectic. I sometimes think my father dislikes Clint Longley more strongly than anyone he has actually met. For those of you who don’t remember: in a Thanksgiving day game they needed to win to make the 1974 playoffs, the Redskins beat the Cowboys up and down the field for a half, then knocked Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach out of the game in the third quarter. Then rookie backup Clint Longley — so unheralded that “unheralded” implies too much heralding — led the Cowboys on a two-minute drill that included a fourth-down conversion and a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson. Final score: Dallas 24, Washington 23.

Super Bowl XVIII (1984) – Possibly the most depressing moment of my childhood. I can’t even write about it. Here’s some excerpts from the NFL.com recap: “The Los Angeles Raiders dominated the Washington Redskins from the beginning in Super Bowl XVIII and achieved the most lopsided victory in Super Bowl history, surpassing Green Bay’s 35-10 win over Kansas City in Super Bowl I. … In the third period, running back Marcus Allen, who rushed for a Super Bowl-record 191 yards on 20 carries, increased the Raiders’ lead to 35-9 on touchdown runs of five and 74 yardsThe 38 points scored by the Raiders were the highest total by a Super Bowl team.” Final score: Los Angeles 38, Washington 9.

Jets 3, Redskins 0 (1993) – Despite racking up 210 yards rushing, the Jets — who hadn’t scored a touchdown in something like three games during that 1993 season — still couldn’t get into the end zone. Lucky for them, the Redskins were even more pathetic. “We just didn’t make any plays,” head coach Richie Petitbon said afterward, unnecessarily. The loss dropped the Redskins to 3-10 and marked the first home shutout in more than a decade. Possibly the low point of a largely terrible season.

Shut out by Dallas (2003) – This would be the next home shutout, but that’s not why it’s here. This game — Dallas 27, Redskins 0 — is offered because a number of people suggested things like “Spurrier” for worst Redskins game. As Steve Spurrier was a head coach and not a game, I have semi-arbitrarily picked this game as the low point of the entire Steve Spurrier era: 161 yards of total offense, four interceptions (by Tim Hasselbeck — and the fact that Tim Hasslebeck had the opportunity to throw four interceptions says something in itself), two fumbles, and no points. Mark Maske’s game story in the Post is a study in despair, full of lines like ” In a season full of low points, they may have reached a new nadir.”

Annihilated in New England (2007) - The worst Redskins loss since 1961, this systematic beatdown by the New England Patriots was difficult to watch. The Patriots more than doubled the Redskins total yards 486-224, and the Redskins simply couldn’t seem to do anything, only getting on the board with a late touchdown to make the final score 52-7. This loss is partially redeemed by two separate facts: (1) this Patriots team went on to become one of the greatest of all time, and (2) this Patriots team suffered the most heart-breaking Super Bowl defeat of all time. Doesn’t actually help the Redskins any, but it made me feel a little bit better.

The Timeout Against Buffalo (2007) – The first game after the death of Sean Taylor, it was half memorial-service, half-football game. The fans and players were subdued and the weather was miserable. The team opened with ten players on the field as a tribute to Taylor … and gave up 22 yards to Buffalo’s Fred Jackson as a result. Coach Joe Gibbs inadvertantly moved Buffalo 15 yards closer for the game-winning field goal by calling two consecutive timeouts, and the Redskins lost 17-16. I was at that game, and I seem to remember describing the experience as “like seeing a hugely depressing movie and then getting mugged on your way home.” Just an awful, awful day all around.

The Lions Break Their Streak (2009) – ‘Nuff said.

So? Which is it going to be?


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