- Any discussion about the...game...that was played yesterday at FedEx Field between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins seems to center around two things: the blocked field goal and the Redskins offensive line. I was there, and before we touch on those two things, let me just tell you that there was that sense of “normal weirdness” that has settled in over the years in Landover. It is now as plain and real as the turf on the field itself. Redskins fans know EXACTLY what I am talking about, and if you have been to FedEx in recent years, you have undoubtedly experienced the results that stem from this emotional oddity. It’s not like we expect the worst (though some are beginning to)—it’s that something weird is ALWAYS going to happen, and it is just about ALWAYS going to go against us (the fans). It’s normal now...
- Every fan of a downtrodden team knows the feeling that can best be described as, “everything terrible only happens to my team.” We have all experienced it, but certain fanbases need to shut it when it comes to discussing it. For example, nobody wants to hear from any Boston/New England fans about Gordon Heyward’s ankle, or consequences of Spygate/Deflategate/etc., or some David Price conspiracy theory. That sports town is doing just fine, with a championship in ALL FOUR major sports over the last decade or so. This is when I put on my “DC Sports” hat for a moment—I understand not everyone here roots for the Wizards, Nationals and Capitals, but if you have chosen to root for the Redskins, then you can take a second to understand more about your DC sports brethren. We are still reeling from the Nats losing in yet another Game 5 debacle; the Caps were the Vegas-favorites entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season before getting bounced before the conference finals; the Wizards are a great story, but still find themselves looking up at about four or five Super Teams in the league. I bring that with me to FedEx Field every time I pass through the gate. EVERY TIME. Most of us do. It’s reality. It’s inescapable. I’m sitting here telling you that yesterday’s game was written by the same script-writer who penned such all-time greats as: “The Pete Kendall Fumble,” “Samari Rolle’s End of Half Touchdown,” “Joe Gibbs Loves Timeouts So Much, He Just Called Two,” “Jeff George Gets Dragged Ten Yards and Left to Rot By Teammates,” “How Much Are We Paying to Watch Danny Wuerffel,” and last year’s epic “The Giants Try To Lose, But Redskins Beat Them To It.” I have other news for you—this doesn’t even scratch the surface. (This particular script-writer also counts among his greatest hits: “And Scherzer Takes the Loss,” “Isaish Thomas Scores 53,” “[fill in your own Capitals’ collapse story].”)
- You might think this would be the right time to mention things like: making Adam Archuleta the highest-paid safety—ever; offering Albert Haynesworth a record contract without a proper plan for how to play him; the Jim Zorn/Sherm Smith/Sherm Lewis/Jason Campbell communication fiasco. I don’t think it would be. Again, that wouldn’t be fair to the real story of the self-inflicted wounds this franchise has endured (if someone wants to start a thread below with the self-inflicted stuff, I will be sure to mention everyone’s offerings on The Audible this week). We Redskins fans understand that Dan Snyder is hell-bent on doing more damage to the team than any amount of karma ever could—but the karma part is still there. How else do you explain the uncanny regularity with which calamitous events entangle Washington? It’s not just the poorly placed red zone interceptions, or the worst-timed fumbles ever, or even the dropped winning touchdown passes. It’s not just the “almost-sacked-but-throws-a-touchdown-pass-anyway” Carson Wentz stuff, or the buzzer-beating Anquan Boldin scores, or even the game where third down defensive penalties literally cost us the win. It’s all of it, and it happens to the Redskins with alarming consistency. Worse, even if we are building it up in our heads right now, whatever is actually occurring is still more than our team can handle. I have to tell you guys...it is an especially trying time to be a Washington sports fan—and that is without painting the full, trophy-less picture.
- I appreciate you riding with me a little through that—it was hardly exhaustive, but it does get exhausting. If you root for other teams in the other major leagues, you certainly tire quickly of it, but if you live it the way I and many others do, there aren’t enough pixels in the universe to properly tell the tale...which brings me to FedEx Field yesterday. Yet again, the Redskins took an early lead. Yet again, the offense moved the ball in the first half. Yet again, all signs pointed to things going our way...except the scoreboard. Thanks to an early touchdown and two field goals, the Redskins sat on a 13-7 lead, and a sustained drive put them in scoring position again. As the wind and rain blustered inside the stadium, Nick Rose stood ready to give the Redskins a two-score lead with about three minutes to go in the first half—and the Skins stood ready to receive the ball first in the second half. Instead, the Cowboys returned a blocked field goal to the doorstep of the end zone, which Ezekiel Elliott converted into a Dallas touchdown. That’s a TEN POINT swing folks. TEN POINTS. Last time I checked, the Redskins weren’t the kind of team that could just spot someone like the Dallas Cowboys that many points. And yes, I get that every Sunday, something dumb happens to some team that costs them dearly. I am starting to believe this doesn’t happen to anyone more regularly than it happens to us. At the EXACT moment that we all thought we were going to extend a first-half lead, we gave up the lead altogether. I hate sounding like a whiny fan, but I would argue that instead of bitching and moaning, this is more about reporting an actual...thing. You might be able to create a comprehensive list of times that karma has bitten other franchises, but that feeling that exists at FedEx Field (and all DC sports venues when the stakes get raised) is undeniably and uniquely ours.
- No matter how you grade that game yesterday, one thing that can’t be understated is how huge an issue the Redskins offensive line is at this point in the 2017 campaign. No need to waste computerized ink here. Tyler Catalina was playing left tackle at the end there. ‘Nuff said. I mean, how much blame can you put on Kirk...no, no more words...’nuff said. I mean, how do you expect to run behind a...no! no! more! words!
- (Here is where I justify holding out hope for this team.) The Redskins are 3-4, crossing the country to face the 5-2 Seattle Seahawks. I have seen this movie way too many times to completely write off a Redskins team that looks like it is glued to the mat after its latest knockdown. They have gotten off this mat before, and as bad as the next three games seem to look right now, it’s the perfect opportunity to reestablish a presence in the NFC. Seattle, Minnesota and New Orleans are all worthy NFC opponents that the Redskins have played well enough this season to beat. Of course, it has to be 60 minutes of sound execution all in the same day, but the Seahawks give up points (they just gave up 38 to the 3-4 Texans). We’ll prep for that game and talk about any possible positive angle to this Redskins season that is slowly slipping away on The Audible. We go live this week on Wednesday, since Tuesday is for trick-or-treating. One item on the show’s agenda this week worth noting, as it has been sitting there staring us in the face all season: my Week 8 check-in on the Kirk Cousins contract status that I was hoping would come at a far better time. (But, but, the offensive line! I know...don’t worry, it’s part of the problem, which means it has to be part of the solution as well.)
After a heart-breaking loss to the rival Cowboys, the Redskins need to get back in the win column badly...next up are the Seahawks—on the road.