I would like to have told you that we closed this one out by intercepting a pass on the Bills last drive (it wouldn't be the first time), or that we blocked the field goal and then returned it just far enough, with no time left on the clock, to kick the winning field goal, or that we sealed the victory with a fumble recovery touchdown earlier in the game, because we've done that a couple of times. But I can't tell you that, because those were the kinds of things that Sean Taylor did to will this team to victory, and he wasn't on the field. Sean Taylor closed games. The Redskins don't do that.
I would also like to have told you that this was unusual Redskins football but, unfortunately, this had all the elements of a Washington game. We characteristically squandered a first half lead. Bruce Gradkowski joins Trent Edwards as the kind of NFL quarterback behemoth that is too much for us. We lost the turnover battle. We played oustanding defense except for when the game was on the line. We refused to let our pesky inability to run the ball stop us from trying again and again. A redzone offense that settles for three points again and again and again. And, of course, the mismanaged timeouts, now an abject lesson in how not to finish a football game. There wasn't much doubt that Lindell was going to nail the kick but, just for good measure, let's defeat any question of it by moving him 15 yards closer.
I would like to tell you that we can turn it around, but the fact is that we are 5-7, our best player (and apparently the only one who played like the game depended on it) left us this week. This team is big on questions and small on answers. We did not pressure the quarterback. We did not run the ball well. We did not play defense at the end of the game. We did not, cannot protect the football. We did not, cannot utilize our timeouts correctly. We did not, cannot generate turnovers. We cannot reach .500 until Week 15, at the earliest. We are injured, old, and morally battered. Outlook not so good, says the 8-ball.
Given the circumstances, I wasn't depending or demanding a Redskins victory. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the players this week and especially today, to go out on the field having lost a teammate and friend. There are hardly less ideal circumstances for victory, and I feel bad for the players. Unfortunately, things won't get any better. We play again this coming Thursday against the Bears with just a few days rest off an emotional loss. If they weren't before, and they were, our backs are now firmly planted into the wall, which happens to be the position under which we do our best folding.
More than all that other nonsense, it is scarily apparent just how much we miss Sean Taylor, both on the field and off. 21 would have been at the ball, and thus Josh Reed wouldn't have. He is irreplaceable.