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    • DATE: December 3, 2013
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    Redskins Nation is a half-hour show devoted to giving fans unfiltered access to the day's events at Redskins Park. Hosted by Larry Michael, the show features Redskins players, coaches and sit-down interviews with team officials. (Show re-airs at 11:30 p.m/7:30 a.m. daily)

    • DATE: December 3, 2013
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    • DATE: December 3, 2013
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    • LOCATION:  Comcast SportsNet

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    • DATE: December 3, 2013
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Tuesday, December 29: Vote For The Worst Loss (Or Win) From 2009

Posted by Matt Terl on December 29, 2009 – 2:39 pm

Sure, the 2009 Redskins season still has one game left, this Sunday’s contest at San Diego. But that contest is pretty much meaningless to both teams; the Chargers have locked up their division title and a first-round playoff bye, while the Redskins … well, you know the deal with the Redskins by this point. Also, that game will actually take place in 2010 (the year we make contact!), which lets me exclude it from this post for being chronologically challenged.

It seemed like I heard almost every loss this season described as the worst in Redskins history. A few escaped the accusation — the opener against the Giants, maybe one of the Eagles games — but not many. And to balance those couple of non-horrible losses out, there was at least one WIN this year that people completely hated.

So here they are: the losses (plus the Rams win), along with a couple of key reasons they were terrible, some of what I wrote about them at the time, and a few thoughts in hindsight. Once you’ve finished reliving this depressing three-and-a-half months, you get your chance to vote for which of them really holds up the best (worst?) in the awfulness sweepstakes. And remember: whichever one of these wins the vote probably becomes the de facto worst loss in Redskins history, just because.

So here we go:


9/13 @ Giants L 17 – 23

The season-opener. One of the two touchdowns came on a fake field goal run in by Hunter Smith; the other on a fourth-quarter drive.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

There were plenty of causes for concern. The defense had trouble (again) getting off the field. There seemed to be a distressing number of missed tackles, especially from the secondary. Clinton Portis had a couple of very good runs mixed in with more than a few that went nowhere. Albert Haynesworth was dominant on the field, and was off it more often than I would’ve expected. Malcolm Kelly and Santana Moss need to combine for more than three catches for 12 yards. All of these things — and more — need to be worked out.

But in the end, it was a loss to a good team in their home stadium. It wasn’t a humiliation. It wasn’t an unmitigated disaster. It’s just something that has to look much, much better next week at home against the Rams.

IN HINDSIGHT:

A worse loss than it seemed like at the time. These were not the 2008 Giants, let alone the 2007 Giants. And it’s somewhat unsettling to see how many of those “causes for concern” became season-long issues. Still, probably not in the conversation for worst of the season.

* * * * * *

9/20 VS Rams W 9 – 7

The only win that made the list. Three Shaun Suisham field goals made up the entirety of the Redskins scoring; the fans were quick to express their displeasure.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

Here’s the best thing that I’ve seen from the Redskins today: Mike Sellers invited twenty Wounded Warriors and their families to the game and took a few minutes to talk with them during pregame warmups.

Since then, it’s been a series of disappointments. Not that everyone’s playing completely horribly — Jason Campbell hasn’t thrown an interception and has made a few decent plays; Clinton Portis has looked much more explosive than last week in fewer carries — but it’s mostly been the same concerns we’ve seen again and again recently: costly penalties, an inability for the defense to get off the field on third down, and the offense stalling out close to the goal line. It’s just that this time, those things are happening against the Rams, not a team like the Giants.

IN HINDSIGHT:

I’m still of the opinion that a win is a win, but there were a lot of people — I mean a LOT — that were more upset by this game than the opening loss. This win somehow managed to kill almost all remaining bits of preseason optimism in the fanbase. The next game took care of the rest.

* * * * * *

9/27 @ Lions L 14 – 19

Final bits of preseason optimism: crushed. The Lions were, of course, riding a nineteen game losing streak when the Redskins got to town, and starting a rookie quarterback to boot.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

I’ll be honest: I’m finding it hard to come up with many articulate, printable “thoughts” about this one.

I think this was a catastrophically bad loss for team that really needed a win — even over a Lions team that wasn’t highly regarded.

IN HINDSIGHT:

Yeah, that’s pretty much spot on. I’d argue that the season never fully recovered from that loss — although, to be fair, the 2-13 Lions have turned out to be a bit less horrible team than their record would indicate. (Incidentally, 70% of 2,500 people voted this one the worst loss in Redskins history immediately after the fact, for whatever that’s worth.)

* * * * * *

10/11 @ Panthers L 17 – 20

The Panthers were the fifth straight winless team the Redskins had played (we skipped the Tampa win), and they looked like it early. The Redskins’ two touchdowns came on drives that started in Carolina territory, and the offense looked anemic all day. Also, this was the game that ended with a missed tackle by DeAngelo Hall that a lot of Redskins fans still haven’t forgiven.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

Jason Campbell was under a lot of pressure pretty much the whole time and largely didn’t find a way to make plays on his own. When he did get the ball away, his receivers didn’t do very much to help him out, whether it was Fred Davis not making it to the first-down marker or Devin Thomas having one of Campbell’s rare long passes bounce off his hands.

The main concern, though, has to be the offensive line. The depth was a question coming in to the season, and that certainly came back to bite the team today. With Mike Williams making his first start at RG in place of Chad Rinehart (who had been in in place of Randy Thomas) and D’Anthony Batiste coming in in relief of an injured Chris Samuels, the running game struggled and Campbell found himself (as mentioned) almost constantly under pressure.

IN HINDSIGHT:

That description is accurate as far as it goes, but it underplays the significance of the Samuels injury — which turned out to be season-ending — and how outmatched Batiste looked on the line. The loss of Samuels was vastly worse than the loss of the game.

* * * * * *

10/18 VS Chiefs L 6 – 14

Ugh. I had forgotten how bad this game was until I started writing this. Now facing their NFL-record SIXTH STRAIGHT winless team, the Redskins still somehow found themselves outperformed. Jason Campbell was benched at halftime, and the Chiefs won with four field goals and a safety. Eeesh.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

This was one of the most frustrating and disheartening games I’ve watched — and there have been quite a few frustrating and disheartening games in the past. The team somehow managed to look completely overmatched by the 32nd ranked defense in the league. And this week, there’s no confusing muffed punt call to discuss: the Redskins failed to take advantage of their opportunities and lost. The patchwork offensive line played as well as you could hope, and it didn’t matter. The coach tried a quarterback change, and it didn’t matter.

In the end, this was just a flat-out bad loss.

IN HINDSIGHT:

Possibly even worse than that excerpt makes it sound. Being unable to muster more than two field goals against the then-worst defense in the league was bad; losing to four field goals and a safety is probably worse. And that final safety — a sack of Todd Collins in the endzone — was particularly galling. I really did not enjoy this game.

* * * * * *

10/26 VS Eagles L 17 – 27

The first primetime loss of the season. Not the last, and definitely not the worst. The defense failed to contain Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson on big plays, despite that being a main point of emphasis during the week of practice. New play-caller Sherman Lewis made his debut, prompting scores of bingo jokes, and Chris Cooley broke his ankle.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

As is the way of things with this squad, though, every positive had to be matched with a negative. The defense holds? Antwaan Randle El muffs a punt and gives the ball right back. Hold the Eagles to third-and-22? Donovan McNabb throws a 57-yard touchdown pass. And so on and so forth, all quarter. The team feels either out-of-sync or snakebit, depending on how you choose to describe such things.

And the injuries are verging on the disastrous, primarily a foot injury that’s knocked Chris Cooley out of the game. The score is 27-10 Eagles, but it honestly feels like it could easily be much closer. Or much worse, actually. It’s that kind of game.

IN HINDSIGHT:

Well, the Eagles have put themselves in the drivers seat for a first-round playoff bye and the Redskins kept it close, so this one doesn’t look particularly bad now. (Especially after looking at that horrid Chiefs game.)

* * * * * *

11/8 @ Falcons L 17 – 31

Halftime of this game, it looked like things were hitting yet another rock bottom; instead, this is where the season started to turn around just a little bit. Not in the win-loss column, of course, but the team started playing just a little more competitively, leading to a string of less-unwatchable matchups.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

Every so often as this depressing season has rolled along, someone in the building will say something like, “It can’t get much worse than” whatever the most recent debacle is. And yet somehow it always does. The first half of this game featured the Redskins offensive line giving up a Falcons record for sacks in a half (five), injuries to Clinton Portis and Jason Campbell, and a shoving match that came on the heels of a late hit to the Falcons quarterback.

At this point, I’m beginning to miss the days when my biggest complaints were questionable playcalling and the defense having trouble on third downs.

IN HINDSIGHT:

That excerpt was written following the second quarter. As I mentioned, things picked up immensely after that, to the point where people have actively speculated that losing Portis may have been a blessing in disguise. This game was actually followed by the last home win, over the Broncos. By 2009 standards, not a terrible loss.

* * * * * *

11/22 @ Cowboys L 6 – 7

This was a heartbreaker. Despite only being able to muster two made Shaun Suisham field goals (and despite missing two more), the Redskins managed to take a lead into the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough. This game’s notable injury: Ladell Betts, although seeing Chad Rinehart break his leg on the enormous Dallas video board was appalling. Also, this was loss number two all-time in the all-burgundy uniforms. There would be another.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

It’s been a season of crushing losses, and each one feels like the most devastating when it happens, but this one — coming against the hated Cowboys, after holding the lead for so long, after playing over their heads with guys leaving injured seemingly every series — this one is now the frontrunner for worst loss.

Head coach Jim Zorn — who was also not blameless in the loss, burning a timeout that could’ve come in handy and being involved in the decision to attempt the field goal at the end of the first half — summed it up with precision in his postgame remarks. “It is bleak,” he said. “Being 3-7 is bleak.” It’s a good word for this game, too: bleak.

IN HINDSIGHT:

Actually, this one bothers me a little less in hindsight. It was brutal punch to the gut at the time, but it doesn’t continue to nauseate me quite the same way a few of these others do. I suspect Shaun Suisham would disagree. On the plus side, that giant video board was AWESOME.

* * * * * *

11/29 @ Eagles L 24 – 27

This was the 2009 Redskins in the middle of their frisky period, playing with a ton of heart but simply not having enough horses to close out what would’ve been a pretty impressive late-season win.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

Another frustrating end to another frustrating game, and it didn’t help at all that I halfway saw it coming at the end of the last post.

For the second straight week, the Redskins took a lead over a division opponent into the fourth quarter, for the second straight week the defense finally ran out of stopping power, and for the second straight week the offense was unable to move the ball down the field for so much as a field goal attempt.

There are probably a lot of causes for these collapses, but as I sit here in the pressbox at Lincoln Financial Field, trying to get this written before the buses leave — for ANOTHER depressing ride to ANOTHER depressing plane flight back to ANOTHER depressing week at Redskins park — there’s just one that’s standing out to me:

Injuries.

Because of injuries, you’ve got guys unable to rotate out, forced to play more minutes in those first three quarters than they’re accustomed to. Which leaves guys tired and worn down when they most need to protect a lead. It also leaves previously healthy guys more susceptible to injury during the fourth quarter, which further depletes the team, and so on. Which is how you win up on a crucial defensive series with Carlos Rogers, Byron Westbrook, and Kevin Barnes as your three corners on the field … with no one healthy at the position on the bench.

IN HINDSIGHT:

In the pantheon of awful losses, I don’t think this one even ranks.

* * * * * *

12/6 VS Saints L 30 – 33

The then-undefeated Saints came to town fresh off a huge win over the New England Patriots and — we now realize — starting to wear down under the grind of the NFL season. The Redskins built a lead by playing well — not through luck or trickery or whatever — and held it for almost the whole game. Then Shaun Suisham missed a 23-yard field goal that would’ve made it a two-score game with under two minutes to play, the Saints flew down the field for the tying score, and wound up winning in overtime after a Redskins turnover. Suisham would be cut shortly afterward.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

This is just brutal. Like being kicked in the face repeatedly.
IN HINDSIGHT:

It was brutal. Like being kicked in the face repeatedly. Heck of an entertaining game, though, and the Saints haven’t really seemed the same since.


* * * * * *
12/21 VS Giants L 12 – 45

One of the most one-sided beatdowns I’ve ever seen, this game also featured one of the most roundly-reviled trick plays I can remember. Third loss in the all-burgundy uniforms, and the second primetime defeat of the 2009 season. Only the first primetime humiliation, though.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

When you reach the point that calling some sort of incredibly elaborate fake field goal to end the half seems like a good idea, it probably means something’s gone wrong. And when that fake field goal winds up turning into an interception and near touchdown on the return, it DEFINITELY means something’s gone wrong.

In fact, let’s turn to our old friend statistics to see exactly how wrong things have gone:

SCORE: 24-0
FIRST DOWNS: 16-2
YARDS: 232-78

In case you’re confused, the Redskins’ numbers are on the right.

There have been a lot of words thrown around for this game, words like embarrassment, disappointment, depressing, failure, and my old favorite, grim. Hard to argue with any of them. The fans started leaving at halftime, and I can’t blame them.

IN HINDSIGHT:

I don’t even want to think about it. It’s too soon. (But I still don’t think that trick play was as abysmal as everyone says.)

* * * * * *
12/27 VS Cowboys L 0 – 17

Everyone seemed sure that THIS primetime game couldn’t possibly be as bad as the week before. Everyone was wrong. 0-for-primetime this year. 0-for-the-NFC-East this year. 0-for-points in this game. 0-for-touchdowns-against-Dallas this year.

WHAT I WROTE AT THE TIME:

It’s never a good sign when the people in the press box are discussing hugely negative statistics — last time the team went winless in the division (1994), last time the team was shutout at home, last time the team was shutout by the Cowboys. The listless offensive showing has been supplemented by a defense that constantly seems to be just barely keeping its head above water.

And if the performance on the field weren’t bad enough, the injuries are piling up. Mike Williams is out for the rest of the game. So is Reed Doughty. Rocky McIntosh was sidelined with a back strain and hasn’t been seen since. Stephon Heyer looked like he might be out, but returned. It’s been a more or less unmitigated disaster on the field tonight.

IN HINDSIGHT:

It was two nights ago. I really haven’t gotten a whole ton of perspective on it. I can say that it was dreadful, though. Especially that decision to punt.

* * * * * *

Your turn:


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