In the NFL you don't have to do more than one or two things poorly to lose a game. Against the Titans, Washington could not stop the run, could not prevent a blocked punt for a safety and could not pass effectively when they needed to most.
Everything looked great early on; the Redskins jumped out to an early 14-3 lead. Two possessions had yielded 7 points a pieces and the Titans had suffered a three and out. Then the wheels came off and Tennessee started ruining us, first with another field goal, then a touchdown, then a safety. The Redskins, now playing from behind, abandoned the run and the defense couldn't stop Travis Henry to save their lives.
The cliche is so often repeated that it's become somewhat ridiculous to hear: teams that run well and defend against the run well win football games. Yet the tired platitude also happens to be utterly true, and prophetic in this instance as the Redskins lost largely because they could not stop the run. The Titans dominated the Redskins little elsewhere; they won the yard battle but not dramatically. The Redskins averaged more yards per rush and more yards per pass than Tennessee. The Skins had better a better red zone offense and even managed to beat the Titans where they've suffered most this year: 3rd down. We had ample pressure on Vince Young, recording 4 sacks including a forced fumble (recovered by the bad guys, of course).
In spite of all that the result of a unsuccessfully stopping the run is a 70-56 play deficit in favor of the Titans who controlled the clock for a full 10 minutes longer than Washington. That safety didn't help either.
It wouldn't be a Redskins loss without at least one baffling drive. At the beginning of the fourth quarter the Redskins appeared to have some momentum: on consecutive plays the Redskins picked up 1st downs with a 10 yard pass to Betts followed by a 14 yard pass to Portis. A 1 yard snoozer up the middle on 1st down sets up an incomplete pass on 2nd down. At 3rd and 9 the Redskins are on the Tennessee 30 yard line; about a 47-49 yard field goal attempt looms in their future. A 0 yard rush up the middle would have been enough to put points on the board. Incredibly a delay of game penalty moves us just outside of, I guess, comfortable field goal range. On 3rd and 14 (now at the 35) Brunell can't get a completion and here we are with a tough decision: You are down 14-22 to the Tennessee Titans at home. You've got a potential 52-55 yard field goal attempt. Instead you bring out Derrick Frost so that he can fail miserably by kicking a 20 yard punt returned for 3 to the 18. Net change of 17 yards field position. I would've gone for points.
Other then that the loss was fairly cut and dry. You don't stop the run, you don't win close games. We were barely beaten by a team that has barely done anything of interest this year, a team that legitimate post season contenders would have mopped the floor with at home. I don't think our post season hopes are in full blown jeopardy yet, but they're damn close. Much closer than I would've liked them to be 6 weeks into the season.
As fans we try and move on. Next week we face a Colts offense that is likely drooling at the opportunity to face our secondary. Incidentally, the Colts are another team the Titans played close; maybe there's something to that. Who knows.
We'll discuss more this week about the Quarterback situation, which is apparently settled according to Coach Gibbs. We will also talk about what needs to happen for this team to win in Indy, and elsewhere.
Congratulations to the Titans for their first win of the season. I'm going to go puke now.