Zorn: "It is bleak"
That was kind of unfortunate. Leading and shutting out Dallas in the Cowboys' ridiculous home stadium for most of the game, then losing by one at very end after two missed field goals feels more nauseating than losing to Detroit, I think.
"There's no loss tougher than this," Doc Walker said at the end of ESPN 980's radio broadcast. "This makes you sick to your stomach, to be here in this cesspool and lose."
A few quick reactions.
"I really believe this is a special team of players who will not just chuck things in," Jim Zorn said. "Being 3-7, it is bleak. You know, being 3-7 is bleak. And yet we're gonna come back, we've got another big name next week, we're gonna look at our roster, and patch it up and go again."
All that being said, I'm going to focus on "it is bleak," not just because I'm a negative person. Well, largely because of that, but also this weekend, the Caps lost twice, the Wizards lost twice, Terps football lost, and this happened. For a lot of local sports fan, it was a bleak weekend during a bleak year.
(As always, apologies to the Caps; you're not bleak, and even this weekend wasn't so bad, but still.)
Defense did enough
It's pretty common for reporter types to say that "the defense did enough" or some such, when you go on the road against a previously explosive offense and keep them to seven points. It's less common for defensive personnel to say that. London Fletcher hinted at that to Comcast SportsNet's Kelli Johnson, and defensive spokesman Jerry Gray came right out and said it.
"If you hold any team in the NFL to seven, you should win the game," he said, which is a pretty open shot at the offense. "We probably could have intercepted the ball early in the game and ran it in ourselves for a touchdown. It probably would have been over. It would have probably been over. London missed one [intercpetion], Rocky missed one, DeAngelo came back and picked up a fumble in the high red zone, London intercepted the ball around the 50-yard line. We got two turnovers and we held the team to seven points, so you should have a chance to win."
He sort of moderated his language later in the interview, praising the offense's performance against the Broncos a week ago.
"You really really want those guys to do well," he said. "And when you only have two field goals, I think that's the stuff that kind of hurts you in the long run."
I spend my Sundays with the Redskins, so I haven't been watching enough other NFL games to judge this, but does every team fritter away its timeouts to this degree? Feels like every single week, there's a timeout pulled out of someone's pocket, doused with gasoline and just incinerated at some random third quarter moment, for no reason whatsoever. It's brutal.
There were two wasted timeouts this time, leaving the Skins unable to stop the clock more than once when Dallas got it back with around two minutes left. Here was Jim Zorn's explanation, which is not going to make you feel better.
"Well, shoot," he said. "Yeah. We got caught on a clock, and I really don't know how it happened, because I felt like we got the play in, I felt like we were out of the huddle, and we were down to :01 [on the clock] before we knew it. Absolutely have no idea how that happened. Because we were moving in and out of the huddle pretty well then.
"And then on the second timeout, that use of timeout, that was just so frustrating to me. We hurt Jason on that play. I hurt him, because I didn't have the needed call, and we got caught on time again, where we had a shift and a motion and I had to call timeout because it wasn't gonna be [snapped in time]. It was just totally mine, totally on me. I screwed us out of that timeout. I did everything I could just to maintain my composure, and then it absolutely had an issue at the end of this football game, so it's just on me."
First of all, what does "the needed call" have to do with you; you no longer call plays, right? Second of all, what exactly are your in-game responsibilities? Rallying the troops, handling challenges and taking care of timeouts, I'd think. And I'm not sure you're performing any of these tasks particularly well. Maybe the first one, I guess.
"Convoluted? Would that be a good word to describe the play calling of the Washington Redskins?" Joe Buck asked on the Fox broadcast.
"Bizarre," Troy Aikman said. "Bizarre."
If Zorn really has some final oversight, then I agree, completely. Unless Zorn was taking a bullet there.
Forget bodybag games, this was an aircast game? As you're gonna hear a lot this week, we've now seen five guys play right guard (including two different guys named Williams), three guys play right tackle, three guys play left tackle, and three guys as the top tailback.
"It's just been one of those seasons where it doesn't seem like anything's gone right for us," Mike Sellers told CSN.
"At the particular time that things were happening, you were just kind of going awwwh, argggh," Zorn said. "You were just getting stabbed every time something happened. Even with our injures, it was like, not again."
Tell me about it. Tell Wizards fans about it, too. Enough already.
If you're 3-6, you don't play for a 50-yard field goal attempt late in the fourth quarter. If you're 3-6, you might consider letting the Cowboys score with two minutes left, keeping it a one-possession game and getting the ball back. And if you're 3-6, and there's 15 seconds left in the first half and it's only third down, take a bloody shot, no?
"I didn't want to complete the pass in bounds," Zorn said, leading to this suggestion from me: so don't. "And I could have taken another shot to the end zone, but they were coming after us, too, and they were blitzing, so I didn't want to get pushed out of the field-goal range we got. And then when we got our five yards back [on the weird replay thing], it made it even better, so I don't think that hurt Shaun. He just got across the ball."
In praise of Rock
"Hey, our backups are pretty good, aren't they?" Sam Huff asked in the first half, and yeah, they seemed to be okay.
"The thing about Rock is when he gets his chances he takes full advantage of them," Sellers said. "And there's always been these running backs being brought in here and being brought in here. Rock felt like he kept being overlooked, and I think he made his point: get me on the field and I can show you what I can do."
Obviously you could see the absence; the Cowboys ran up the middle, Romo had plenty of time, and the line seemed gassed late in the game. Still, as mentioned above, the Cowboys scored seven. That should be good enough. So maybe that money could have been better spent elsewhere, perhaps, sort of, maybe. And no, I don't want to get into an argument about Haynesworth's performance, because I freely admit he's awesome. As is his backwards visor.
Signs of hope
To each his own on this matter, but LaVar Arrington, anyhow, sees hope. Turning his Twitter feed into a real paragraph:
"Redskins lost today but I must admit I was proud of them. They fought their butts off they seem like they are on the right track. Sure, they had missed opportunities, but they should have won that game. First time in a long while I was proud to be a former Skins player. They balled. The defense looked like a living animal. They were having fun."
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