Monday, December 27, 2004

Week 16: Hang. Your. Head.

Washington 10, Dallas 13

You had to see this coming. If you're a fan of the Redskins or Cowchips, you had to see this coming. Why? Because it's happened before, and the year was 1999. Washington had built a 35-14 lead in the fourth quarter, only to allow them to tie and watch Troy Aikman find Raghib Ismail behind the entire defense for a 76-yard, overtime touchdown.

I spoke with my cousing Angie, a Cowchip-lover, who confided that late in the contest she was prepared to accept a rare loss to the Redskins. Surely the decrepit Vinny Testaverde couldn't muster a winning drive in 1:30, without timeouts, against the second-ranked defense in the league who had sacked him five times that day (including twice on their previous possession). No way would Dallas convert a desperate 4th and 10 and then score for almost 40 yards out. What a completely improabable scenario.

But then when it happens, right before your eyes, you can come to but one conclusion of this so-called rivalry:
you can change the players, you change the coaches, heck, you can change the salaries. But you cannot change the outcome.

As the Thing used to say, "whatta revoltin' development."

I'm not one to point fingers (okay, pointing fingers is pretty much what the Redskins Review is about), but I need to feel better after this loss. So who should be pointed to, shamed and told to Hang Your Head?

...Antonio Brown for his fumbled punt in Washington territory late in the fourth quarter, that, but for a defensive stand, could've cost the game?
...Patrick Ramsey for a subpar passing day (19/29, 158 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs), lofting passes high and rarely throwing deep?
...Pro Bowl-bound Marcus Washington, whose offsides penalty on Dallas' final drive granted a free stopping of the clock?
...Sean Taylor and Shawn Springs for letting a wide receiver run free to the end zone at the end of a game as if Dallas would throw the ball anywhere else?
...the offense for reverting to midseason form, producing a pitiful 10 points, and failing to earn one measly first down to run out the clock?
...the entire Washington defense for allowing the Cowgirls to move the ball, without timeouts, 75 yards in 55 seconds with only four completions?
...Coach Gibbs for allowing players to continue wearing incorrect socks? Former Redskin Brian Mitchell, on the SBC/Comcast SportsNet Sports Nite Post-Game Show sponsored by Tischer Acura of Laurel, Maryland, noted that team unity is suffering because Gibbs isn't demanding that players like Taylor and Portis conform to league and team uniform standards. All I can say is that players wear "uniforms" because--surprise!--they're supposed to be uniform. (This only annoys me because, honestly, we lost.)

Frankly I don't know who should run extra laps this week. I will ease up on my criticism of the defense, if only because they were again called upon to win a game that should have been a Redskins blowout. But for the love of Darrell Green, even if defensive coach Gregg Williams called for a Prevent package, there's no way that Dallas wideout Patrick Clayton (his face now in the Hall of Great Cowchip Wins) should get four yards behind the safeties. This is why, coincidentally, they're called safeties. Even if Sean Taylor is keeping a wise eye on a possible jump ball to Keyshawn Johnson, the defense still should have had 8 men (in a Quarter defense) in the secondary to cover, what, four receivers? Sheesh.

As much as I abhor quoting Dallas fans, I must communicate Angie's final words to me as kicker Jeff Chandler's 57 yard attempt fell short: "we may stink, but y'all smell worse." I dunno if that's true, but I know it'll take a long time to wash the funk out of this loss.

OFFENSE: D (It's like watching two middle-aged housewives jousting on American Gladiators. But without the unintentional comedy.)

DEFENSE: B (I was this close to giving them an A+. But four plays later they get dropped more than a letter grade.)
Sp. TEAMS: B+ (Punter Tom Tupa is perhaps the only player happy with this season's offensive ineptitude.)
COACHES: C (Gibbs and company gotta lotta 'splainin' to do. No way should we have been swept by Dallas this year.)

As reported last week, the Young Avengers were bounced from the Festivus Maximus playoffs on account of Pittsburgh's defense getting rolled on by Eli Manning and Terrell Owens pulling up lame. Fortunately, my arch-rivals, the BlackBirds, were simultaneously dismissed by last year's rookie sensation Juggernauts, piloted by D-Trux. The Juggs met Shirtless Wes' 4Gen Warriors, and that game's coming down to Monday Night Football. This year's rookie sensation is the waiver-wire-wonder Roy's Boys, and they've won their second-round playoff game already. (Who the $#%%# is Lee Evans, anyway?) Like the Carolina Panthers, nobody wants to meet them in the playoffs.

Washington area fans will get the rare opportunity to see Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss at FedEx Field as they fight for a playoff place. We are fighting for a modicum of respectability. Forget being the #1 ranked defense stickers on your helmet or wearing fancy socks; let's win the game. Skins win, 14-13.

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