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It doesn't take much to lose a game

The Eagles beat the Redskins 21-19. That moves us to 4-9 or officially out of the playoffs -- as if we didn't know that already. For all I know we were mathematically eliminated last week, though it's easier to tell now. Philly and Atlanta both own tie breakers against us, and they both can't possibly finish with more losses than us.

There was some good news. Recently resigned Ladell Betts had a career high 171 yards on 33 carries (over 5 YPC). Here comes the apologist in me: despite a rocky start to the game with two picks, Jason Campbell remained calm and put us on the board. Four of the last five drives resulted in points for the Redskins. I had no doubt that, should the defense have held strong at the end of the game, JC would have marched the length of the field and put us in a position to win the game with a field goal.

Speaking of that, Shaun Suisham was four for four on field goals. The longest was 45 yards and the rest were within 40, but consistency is important and I was happy to have a perfect kicking game for the first time in a while.

We won in many of the predictive stat categories: total yards, rushing and passing yards, time of possession, 1st downs, plays, and even 3rd down percentage. We only lost the turnover battle by one, though when two picks result in 14 points for the opposing team (one on a pick-six), it's difficult to walk off the field with a win. We also choked on penalties. The Eagles committed 2 for 20 yards, we committed 11 for 68 yards.

Recaps: NFL, WaPo, Official Site, AOL Fanhouse, and Hog Heaven.

Here are some things that really pissed me off:

  1. Jason Campbell's first interception was a forced pass to Santana Moss. He didn't see Omar Gaither who easily stepped in front of the pass. Five plays later the Eagles would take the lead.
  2. The Redskins start a drive on their own 30 and march the length of the field. A 3rd and 9 comes up and the Redskins are in Field Goal territory at the Philly 23. The play call is horrible; a quick pass left to Chris Cooley who is tightly covered by what looked like 18 Philadelphia Eagles. Even if he'd caught the ball, he wasn't going for more than 2 yards (certainly not 9). Everything about the decision was terrible. Instead, Chris Cooley puts the ball in the area where it is taken by Michael Lewis for 6.
  3. Former Redskin Jeremiah Trotter finished the game with 13 tackles (8 solo). Lemar Marshall, Warrick Holdman, and Marcus Washington would combine for 11 tackles (5 solo). Damn.
  4. The Redskins march from their own 20 to the Eagles 26. The score is 21-3 and the Redskins could really use a momenting changing touchdown. 3rd and 7 is manageable. Santana Moss is flagged for false start, making it 3rd and 12. Still manageable, but now a field goal looks less likely and perhaps a more conservative call is required to save 3 points. False start on Derrick Dockery. Now we're at 3rd and 17 which means the smart play call is anything that gets us closer for the field goal. A 9 yard pass does just that, but a crucial opportunity to hang 7 on the opponent is missed to two dumb false start penalties in a row.
  5. Here is the worst set of downs I've witnessed this year, from earlier in the game: 1st and 10 false start on Sellers. 1st and 15 a TJ Duckett 10 yard run is called back on a 10 yard offensive holding penalty. 1st and 25 TJ Duckett 2 yard run. 2nd and 23 Jason Campbell sacked for -8 yards. 3rd and 31 Betts runs for 5 yards. The drive started on our own 25 yards line, we punted on our 9; a negative 16 yard series. Fortunately we'd recover a fumbled punt to keep the drive alive, but that's besides the point.
  6. Trailing 21-6 at the beginning of the third quarter, the Redskins face a 4th and 2 deep in Philly territory at their 14 yard line. Normally this is a field goal situation. But we're 4-8. At home. Against a hated division rival. Ladell Betts has already rushed for over 100 yards and seems to have no trouble pushing the defensive line back. Also, that TJ Duckett guy is, you know, large. Mike Sellers can punish people. You are 4-8... I say go for it.
  7. The Defense rolled over at the end of the game when momentum was entirely in our favor.
It's frustrating that we're now 4-9, but there's always next season. Jason Campbell will continue to develop into a great quarterback; he obviously took another step backwards. I only blame him for one of the interceptions (which was clearly his fault) but the other was put up in the air by Chris Cooley (who shouldn't have even been a target on that play; why would we call a quick pass to him on 3rd and 9???). Also, we can still ruin the Giants postseason with a win December 30th.

HTTR no matter what. I'll never abandon this team.