- Against the advice of people who generally care about my well-being, I have kept the faith through the years as a Redskins fan despite the football gods donning the longest spiked cleats ever and using my loins as a trampoline. I am still so trapped in the anger and hopelessness that stems from losing a game like the Redskins did yesterday that I fear this won’t be a “look-at-the-bright-side” kind of Sixpack. I watched that game at home...around my wife and kids. I imagine that wives of Redskins fans all over the world yesterday thought to themselves, “Next week, he watches it somewhere else.” I honestly can’t remember a game that affected me as deeply as the loss to the Saints just did—there have been tough losses over the years, but this one hurt in a way that seemed to seek and destroy undamaged areas of my heart and psyche. It was an aggressive form of anger and bitterness that threatened to overtake all of me. Had I not had the good fortune of having a few hours of very hard manual labor to tend to after the game, I worry the rage would have fed on itself and irreparably altered me, leaving a soulless monster where there once stood a happy-go-lucky football fan always expecting the best to come. All of those well-meaning friends and family who have preached distance and self-protection to me saw yesterday as a shining example of their policy. Even the most disconnected among us could not remain disaffected yesterday. As Bill Murray said in the movie “Quick Change,” after witnessing two men joust in an alley on bicycles and using garden equipment, “It’s bad luck just seeing something like that.”
- On one hand, you really have to hand it to the Redskins. I can’t think of many teams that can lose the way they did yesterday. Sure, terrible teams like the Browns and 49ers have suffered a bad beat here and there, but they enter each and every contest as prohibitive underdogs and are rarely referred to as a team that can “hang with” top squads in the league. To lose in the fashion the Redskins did yesterday is equal parts soul-crushing and head-scratching. It takes a special sequence of events for things to turn that way and for a team to surrender a 15-point lead with less than SIX minutes to go in the game. On some level, you have to just slow-clap the shit out of a standing ovation for a team that can’t seem to EVER satisfy its appetite for turd sandwiches.
- On the other hand...WHAT THE HELL?!?!?! After spending all day getting what they wanted in the run game, the game came down to whether or not the Redskins could get half a yard. HALF A YARD!!! Where the hell is the quarterback sneak in this offense? You can lean forward for a half a yard. From inside the pile, a half a yard is possible to steal. I don’t understand the opposition our offense has to this play. Do we think our center is that weak? Do we think Kirk can’t pick the right side of a man’s ass to penetrate and extend? (Hold it together, people.) I mean, wasn’t it just last week against the Vikings that we failed on third AND fourth downs trying to run a handoff play? Are we worried about Kirk getting crushed on a keeper? We shouldn’t be, because he takes plenty of shots already that don’t result in GAME-WINNING first downs. That shot to the helmet that Kirk took from Vonn Bell on the third down run that also cost us Chris Thompson for the season was as bad or worse than any shot he would take on a keeper (probably). The fact that the season came down to a tight end needing to make a catch in overtime with two injured hands (Vernon Davis) followed by a running back in the flat not named Chris Thompson trying to make a catch to give us a chance was simply perfect...us. Despite the Redskins failing to get less than a yard to ice the game, they still had a very reasonable chance to win the game. Enter the referees.
- It sounds like the NFL is “sorry” about that Intentional Grounding call that was NEVER F’ING INTENTIONAL GROUNDING. The ball was clearly overthrown to a receiver who looked to be off his route and off the same page as the quarterback. That the Saints succeeded in convincing the referees there was Intentional Grounding is a testament to how badly the referees wanted to see something that would gut the burgundy and gold fanbase. Thankfully, the NFL knows EXACTLY how to escalate a situation from “Hide the fine china” to “Self-Immolation Watch.” As bad as it felt to see that call—and the 10-second runoff that comes with it—the NFL really drives the knife into the wound when it delivers its weekly does of, “My bad.” I spend 99% of my time trying to convince fans that football games rarely—if ever—come down to one play. You get 60 minutes to do your work. Opportunities abound throughout all four quarters. Pressure and stakes are raised at the end of the game, but every single play matters. In the case of the loss in New Orleans yesterday, however, the referees injected their stupidity and incompetency into the contest at the exact moment when all of our collective wangs were sitting on the window sill. The incorrect call and time runoff was the equivalent of a guillotine-dropping window slam. Thanks for that, NFL. It really was a great way to kick off the holiday season.
- I barely have the energy to fight off the Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins haters this week. I still think both are good for our team and necessary to keep for the long-term growth of this franchise. You won’t succeed in convincing me that this loss gets hung on either of these two men. Think about how beat up and battered our roster is and how hard they play on Sunday. Think about how many rookies have seen and are currently seeing the field for us. I want to say Kevin and I counted NINE draft choices that have played at some point for us this season. Unless the team is dead-set on jettisoning Kirk Cousins in the offseason, I think we will see the pair back together next season on the sidelines in burgundy and gold. I could be wrong, of course (there’s a millionth time for everything), but I feel like I was watching a pretty damned good quarterback yesterday—and Drew Brees looked pretty good as well!
- Well, the venting will surely continue on into tomorrow night’s taping of The Audible. Thank God it’s a short week, but not even a stumbling Giants’ team is getting me excited about playoff chances at this point. I need to wear my preseason prediction. I called the Minnesota/New Orleans back-to-back the linchpin of our season. Not only did those two losses sink us to a lowly 4-6 record, it gave us two very costly NFC losses. We are so far down in the playoff standings, and behind in so many tie-breakers that it would come off as insulting to sit here and try and convince you or myself that the Redskins are playing for anything on Thanksgiving. The irony of everything is that the schedule is set up for a classic Redskins end-of-season run. With six games to go in the season, there is a lot of football to be played and the Redskins should enter more than half of the remaining games installed as favorites. The road to the playoffs isn’t closed yet, but the math involved is doctorate level. I STILL won’t root for losses just to get a higher draft pick. I STILL don’t believe that tanking makes offseason decisions about the head coach and quarterback “easy.” I will STILL be front and center at 8:30 PM Thursday night to watch this team take on the New York Giants. In the world of silver linings, and as the holiday season launches, perhaps there is no better realization than knowing that all of those people who have been warning me away from the Redskins really do seem to have my best interests at heart! I wish I could take their advice...but I can’t. I’ll be back for another shellacking...and I’ll somehow talk myself back into the idea that this Redskins team is as good as it looked yesterday—for 54 minutes.
Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays
The Redskins manage to find a way to lose in one of the most devastating ways possible in New Orleans, where the 2017 season officially went on life support.