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Redskins vs. Cowboys – Fourth Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Matt Terl on December 27, 2009 – 11:30 pm

In an awful game full of frustrating things, the punt was — for me — the worst. Yes, it was fourth-and-11. But with 5:55 left in the game, trailing by 17 points, here’s what you are doing by punting: you are ending the game. It’s roughly equivalent to taking a knee on offense while losing. I don’t see how it could signify anything other than complete and utter surrender, although I look forward to the postgame interviews to hear how I might be wrong.

But wait, it gets better:

After punting — which, again, seems to be more or less conceding the game — the team started calling defensive timeouts to stop the clock and get the ball back. Ultimately, that worked: two full minutes later on the clock, and with the Redskins now completely devoid of timeouts, the Cowboys punted. Great.

Honestly, this entire sequence completely blew my mind … and then it got even STRANGER. Because when the Redskins got the ball back, did go vertical, start running plays downfield and trying to get into the endzone quickly? Not so much.
Instead, they stuck with the dink-and-dunk short passing game, chewing up clock and desperately trying to get at least one touchdown … why? To avoid the first-ever season with no touchdowns scored against the Cowboys? To save face? But if you were worried about saving face, why did you punt on that fourth down in the first place?

And then, just to cap off the bizarre string of events, when the final drive came up short and Dallas took a knee to end the game, the band struck up Hail To The Redskins. They transitioned quickly to the vastly more appropriate Auld Lang Syne, but it still was a final off note capping a deeply off series of decisions that finished an off football game.

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