Answers to Burning Questions (Update w/Video)
I'm going to try to tie up some loose ends here quickly, then write a story for the print edition and get to the airport for an 8 pm flight to Florida. I'll write more on the plane and post when I get a chance.
We have already covered the fact that Joe Gibbs did not know a fundamental football rule. Publicly, his players said they were to blame for not making more plays; privately, many veterans fumed and looked at it as another egregious error by Gibbs in a season full of them.
"Come on man, this is the NFL," one veteran said. "What coach don't know the rules?"
I think they're right on both counts. Make a few more plays. Put the ball in the end zone every once in a while from the red zone, and don't allow that 30-yard up the middle and you win the game. Regardless, your head coach has to know the rules and get it right in that situation, especially after all the fire drills with timeouts and 4th down calls and going for it inexplicably a week ago. Thus yet another home halftime lead goes bye-bye.
I asked about 10 players if they knew the rule and all said yes though most did not want to elaborate on the record. Kicker Shaun Suisham said no comment, but Pierson Prioleau and others said they knew the rule, but that decision did not cost the game. LB London Fletcher was the only person who said he was unaware of it.
"I didn't know it," Fletcher said. "In my 10 years in the league it's the first time I've seen that."
Prioleau said: "That's a rule I was aware of and everybody makes mistakes."
Here's a quick primer on some other issues:
10 MEN ON THE FIELD
Gibbs said after the game he did not speak with Gregg Williams about the decision to use 10 men at the start of the game. But Williams and Gibbs met in the coach's dressing room for about 7 minutes after the game, and Williams said he explained the decision to Gibbs after the game.
Gibbs told us he did not have a problem with Williams doing it - though you got the strong impression he would have preferred to have known before hand - and when asked if Gibbs was okay with the move Williams said: "Sure he is. Yep."
Several players discussed the idea of opening with 10 men this week, and Williams told them of his decision to do just that during their defensive meeting Saturday night at the team hotel. They were unanimous in supporting the move. Williams kept safety LaRon Landry very deep "minimizing the big play," and did not tell the Bills staff about his decision before hand ("But everybody can count." Williams said.).
"We were going to let (Sean) ride with us one more time," Williams said.
Shawn Springs suffered a bruised back but both he and Bubba Tyer, director of sports medicine, said he will be okay and it is not a serious injury. Right tackle Todd Wade hurt his knee, but returned to the game.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Other than the final field goal, that 30 yard pass to Reed hurt. The Redskins were saying a combo of man and zone on that play and floated the ball over the linebackers and into a pack of 3 DBS, none of whom came up with the ball.
Safety Reed Doughty said he was responsible for a route down the middle of the field and nearly made a play on the ball but missed. London Fletcher gave credit to the Bills. "That was a great throw and a great catch," he said
STATS AND STUFF
Gibbs now blown 5 halftime leads this season in losses and 15 since 2004, most in the NFL ... Redskins rushed 30 times for 80 yards - 2.7 per carry, and Clinton Portis ran 25 times for 50 yards (do your own math on the yards per carry there). Big part of why they ended up short ... Jason Campbell finished with a 62.4 rating and has 13 turnovers in his last 6 games ... Tackle Chris Samuels, having a rough second half of the season, did not catch up with former Redskin Derrick Dockery before the game - one of his best friends - but said as he was doing a post-game interview on the field Dockery snuck up behind and they chatted for a spell .. Okay, gotta run. Post more later. What a week.
Editor's update: Here's a video taped this morning with Dan Steinberg at FedEx:
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