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Texans 30, Redskins 27: The checklist

First of all, before I do my rundown on the game I want to make it clear that I believe this team played their hearts out but just came up short of a victory. This is still a team to be excited about; no need to pull rip cords or hit panic buttons at this point.

Now that I got that out of the way, let's go through the checklist of things that the Redskins needed to do to win the game against the Texans:

The offense

1) Finish drives with touchdowns, not just field goals: Check

They proved to themselves and the league against a good team that they can generate points; that's a big positive. The offense posted four drives that resulted in touchdowns.

2) Block Mario Williams; keep him off of Donovan McNabb on passing plays: No

Mario not only recorded sacks off both sides of the line, but to add insult to injury, Trent Williams was injured while giving up a sack to Mario Williams, not good.

3) Continue to try and establish the running game with Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson: No

Portis only had 33 yards rushing on the day and Johnson went the opposite direction with a whopping minus-7 yards. Although the team still came close to winning the game with no running attack, it didn't win, and the lack of production here played a major part. If the running game had been more effective, it would have allowed the offense to chew up time and yardage. By not executing this phase of the game plan, the team was forced to do it all by air, which means incomplete passes, which means stopped clock, which means more time on the clock. Sorry, but 18 yards rushing in total won't get things done.

4) The passing game needed to improve; McNabb needed to get other receivers involved this week: Check

McNabb spread the ball around very well, getting Joey Galloway, Anthony Armstrong, Roydell Williams, Chris Cooley and Santana Moss touches in this game. They were going to need a superior effort in the passing game and they got it, racking up 426 yards.

5) McNabb needed to take some shots down field: Check

McNabb hit Galloway for a 62-yard pass completion and almost had him a second time, just missing it by inches.

The defense

1) Stop the Texans' run game that ran through the Colts a week before: Check

They held Arian Foster to 69 yards and the team as a whole under 100 yards.

2) Limit Andre Johnson and force someone else to beat them in the passing game: No

Johnson and Kevin Walter went for over 100 yards receiving and both had a touchdown, Johnson's TD catch came in the last minutes of regulation, sending the game into overtime.

3) Make Matt Schaub uncomfortable in the pocket and limit his chances to get into a rhythm: No and no

There was very little effective pressure on Matt Schaub and although the Skins recorded five sacks on the day, he made the Redskins pay in the second half. The defense and offense share the responsibility for this. No rush on defense in the second half and no rushing on offense all day gave Schaub more than enough opportunities to get into a groove, and that's exactly what Schaub did. Washington gave up 20 unanswered points in the second half and overtime -- that spells total collapse.

Special teams obviously had two key plays that cost the Redskins the game: the blocked field goal and the winning field goal attempt that was wiped out by a last-second timeout by the Texans. The punt game improved, but the kicking game failed this week.

There are three phases to the game of football: offense, defense and special teams. A team must win at least two phases to win a game. The Redskins lost every phase in this game; it's impossible to win when that happens.

They travel to St. Louis for their first road game, against the Rams. This should be the perfect game to get back on track but they must not take the Rams lightly. The Redskins must approach this game with the understanding that St. Louis is a team led by a rookie quarterback and a second-year coach who is struggling to figure out how to win. The Redskins need to make sure this isn't the week they figure it out.

By LaVar Arrington  | September 20, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
 
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Comments

They let this one slip away. It was a much improved team over what we've seen in the last few years. #22 CAN catch a ball!!! Calling a timeout as Gano is kicking the ball is a classless move.

Posted by: cowbell | September 20, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow, what a game. I know we lost but it was a hell of a battle. Wish that 4th and 10 would have been played better though. What was the CB thinking? He slowed down and let Doughty try to make the play on his own. He should have attacked the football or hit AJ so hard to make the ball come loose. Instead he just watched the play for about 5 yards away. Then the blocked kick? Why did that loser not chip off the defender? He swiped at air. 2 plays. 2 plays we could have made to win the game. Ther eis hope though. There is hope.

Posted by: mustang_johnny1 | September 20, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

2 steps fater and Galloway wins the game for us in the 4th. WHat about Heyer with a holding call after Moss made the firts down at midfield in the 4th? The mistake we did not make against the Cowpokes cost us the game this time. Take care of those and we'll be fine. On to the Rams.

Posted by: mustang_johnny1 | September 20, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I must say LaVar Arrington column is very well writen and to the point. It's great to have a refreshing sports column like the one Mr. Arrington is writing. I look forward to reading Mr. Arrington upcoming columns.

Posted by: WashingtonEverythingFan | September 20, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

We showed that we can do it. We showed that we have the potential to be a strong and successful team. Every team makes mistakes through out a game, so trying to throw a single player under the bus, just pointless.

The running game needs to improve, whether to lay the blame on the line or on the backs, I know not. But, if we can't run the ball, then it shuts down our offense. One thing I did notice, though, was when Trent was taken out of the game due to injury, things started to falter.

I don't know if the Texans underestimated the Skins in the first half or we just out played them in the first half, but that was just a show of beauty. Second half, not so much.

Posted by: dogboy | September 20, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

It was a heartbreaker. But this team is much better than last year. The Texans are good.

Posted by: ryan_conaway | September 20, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Lavar says, "The offense posted four drives that resulted in touchdowns."

The Redskins scored 3 touchdowns and kicked 2 field goals.

The 2 FG's were their first scores of the game. The second FG of 27 yds was the result of a missed opportunity to score a TD.

If they score a TD instead of kicking a FG on either one of those drives.

THEY WIN THE GAME!

Not to mention the BLOCKED FG attempt late in the fourth quarter. If they make that SHORT kick,

THEY WIN THE GAME!

Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | September 20, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Great column LaVar and love your radio show. I think the pass protection given McNabb was excellent in the first half especially given that there was no running game. In the second half the Redskins tried to use up the clock with running plays but ended up in a lot of 3rd and longs - obvious passing plays. Despite the disappointment still great to see the Redskins offense scoring.

Posted by: mcg21 | September 20, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Someone please get rid of this slowik guy who knows nothing about being a db coach!

He was never any good before he came to Washington, and now that he's here we're giving up 30 points??!? Why is Reed Doughty covering Andre Johnson??? Shouldnt Landry be? No offense to Reed, but you're not going to use our best guys to cover their best guys??

Seems ridiculous to me...Johnson shouldve been completely contained so they could win with their other receivers if they could, but he had a very good day....

Posted by: ssm1 | September 20, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

4th and 10 an dthey convert? I agree. SHould have never happened.

Posted by: mustang_johnny1 | September 20, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Please put this man out of his misery and send him back to Penn State.

Posted by: g0tcha | September 20, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Campbell was good agaist Saints last year...they're a little better than Houston.

Yep McNabb is the same old McNabb...what were his 4th quarter stats ? When a first down or two would have put the game away ?

Same team...can't hold a lead in the 4th quarter...offense can't make a first down when needed,and defense can't stop anyone.

Posted by: petebowling1 | September 20, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Petebowling1 is an idiot. This team is far better than last year's team. And placing the blame on McNabb is totally ludicrous. McNabb is doing a great job, considering he missed the last two weeks during the preseason. He still doesn't have his timing down yet, but was good enough to throw for 426 yards agains the Texans. Dude, what is wrong with you???

Posted by: gtaylor64 | September 20, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I put LaVar's radio show on once and wanted to drive my car off the road. Fans, don't forget the way LaVar trashed our team after he left town.

Posted by: sjp879 | September 20, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The move of calling a time out to ice the kicker was invented by Mike Shanahan.

In fact, I think it is the origin of the phrase "Shanahanigans" for sneaky moves by the coach.

Kubiak got it from his mentor, the original shrew, Leatherface himself.

Posted by: mirf59 | September 20, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Don't call the timeout call a "classless" move. It's within the rules and Kubiak took advantage of it. The rule however needs to be changed. In any kicking circumstance the TO should be negated if the ball gets snapped and the kick is in the air before the official can actually stop play, not just blow the whistle.

With that being said this loss is clearly on the coaching staff and the players. There is NO excuse for blowing a game you are dominating in that fashion!! enough with the shoulda, coulda, woulda, crap.

I would have expected this type of thing under the last coaching regime, but this is supposed to be a great staff and they showed us anything but that yesterday!

Posted by: skins91r | September 20, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

How about some heat on Shanahan for running an end-around late in the game inside the Texans' 10-yard line? And if Johnson and Portis couldn't get it done, why not give the rock to Willie Parker? This was an opportunity for the Skins to grab the division by the throat and strangle the life out of it. We can't expect the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants to remain in a slumber the whole season, especially Dallas. At some point, the hated Cowboys are going to hit their stride, so we have to win the games we're supposed to win -- we're supposed to beat the Texans, sorry...

Posted by: Carl007 | September 20, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Umm carl007.....you DO realize that willie parker was cut before the start of the season don't you? after johnson, keilen (spelling) #35 is our 3rd back. I do agree that the other nfc east teams will wake up and things will start to get interesting. i also agree that running end around and sweep plays are pointless b/c our offensive line is inept at run blocking. we need more balance on offense b/c mcnabb shouldn't have to put that entire team on his shoulders. i still believe that our o line is overdosing on estrogen when it comes to runblocking. the testosterone is flowing strong in the passblocking so i'm a lil confused! i just hope we don't have this problem against the rams. it was already embarrassing to lose against the lions last season. it'll be hard to stomach losing to another desperate, lowly team.

Posted by: charronegro1971 | September 20, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

LaVar, your blog posts are the most informed and informative source on the Redskins anywhere. It is obvious that the Redskins are vastly improved this year but have some time to go to be truly competitive.

Posted by: dcc1968 | September 21, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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