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Posted at 5:11 PM ET, 12/12/2010

The botched extra point: What went wrong?

By Barry Svrluga


By Rick Maese

All the Redskins needed to send Sunday's game into overtime was a simple extra point. There was no shortage of players accepting blame for the botched play that sealed Washington's eighth loss of the season.

"What happened tonight is my fault," said punter Hunter Smith, who's charged with catching the snap and holding the ball for Graham Gano's kick.

But Nick Sundberg snap was a bit high, and the ball sailed through Smith's hands. The result was a one point 17-16 loss to Tampa Bay.

"I think it was a little higher than I want it to be," Sundberg said. "Conditions and everything Ii know don't help Hunter in that situation. Unfortunately, it was a little higher than i want it to be."

Still, Smith wasn't ready to blame the team's long snapper. He's been holding for years, but says he's never failed to catch one in such a high-pressure situation.

"I have to catch the ball and put it down," he said. "It doesn't matter if the snap is high, it doesn't matter if it's low, it doesn't matter where it is. It's just the kind of thing that happens. It's a situation you get put into as a professional. I've been doing this a long time. I've caught a lot of high snaps, I've caught a lot of snaps in the rain. And I dropped this one and we lost the game."

Of course, the team's field goal unit had earlier opportunies. Gano missed a 34-yarder in the first quarter and a 24-yard attempt in the second quarter.

"It's definitely frustrating," Gano said. "I got to make those kicks, and hopefully I'll get another opportunity."

Asked after the game whether the team would bring in kickers this week for tryouts, Shanahan said he would not discuss the matter so soon after a game.

By Barry Svrluga  | December 12, 2010; 5:11 PM ET
Categories:  Graham Gano, Hunter Smith  
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Next: Did the Redskins get a fifth down?

Comments

The botched extra point: What went wrong?

Snap was a little high and then Hunter let it go thru his hands..

That's it that's the list.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 12, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

It happens. The most important thing is not to be a Norv Turner and look for scapegoats. Gano is a good kicker. All kickers have a bad day. The kicker he replaced--Shaun Suisham--was a good kicker, too--and is proving it with the Steelers now.

Posted by: taonima2000 | December 12, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, anyone remember the 1999 playoff game against the Bucs. Yeah, just shows how important good long snappers really are. Now we've lost to crucial last minute games against the Bucs due to bad long snaps. I was afraid of this when we didn't bring back the Red Snapper.

Posted by: isonic1 | December 12, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Today was just sad.

Posted by: freakzilla | December 12, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"It's definitely frustrating," Gano said. "I got to make those kicks, and hopefully I'll get another opportunity."

How many more effing opportunities do you need? You're lucky your a** is still employed.

There's no excuse. The TB kicker made all his kicks, which were even longer than Gano's. NFL kickers need to make 30 and 20 yard kicks, rain or no rain. It's time to look at other kickers.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

don't blame the kicker, everyone has a bad game.
why can't this offense put points on the board and why can't this defense stop people on important drives?

Posted by: priceisright | December 12, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to blame the offense.. blame the kicker too. He has one job to do.. he isn't doing it.

when the offense gives you an opportunity to make a kick you better make it, not to mention SHORT kicks in NFL terms. The offense is some sh** but you have to put blame on gano too. those 6 points in a tight game like this make all the difference. i didn't see barth have any trouble kicking in the rain. he's a sucky kicker!!!!!!!! he should be cut!!!!!! does anyone know if he's injured? i hope he is.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Snap was a little high and then Hunter let it go thru his hands..

That's it that's the list.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 12, 2010 5:38 PM

Are you new here? This is Redskins Insider. There's a lot more blame than that: Danny Smith, the Refs, Shanahan and Son, failure to make second half adjustments, Gano for missing earlier, Joe Gibbs, Dan Snyder, Vinny Cerrato, curse of the Native Americans, jet noise from Andrews AFB, Jack Kent Cooke for not leaving the team to his son, Presidents Bush and Obama.

That'll have to do for now. Got to go cook supper.

Posted by: beep-beep | December 12, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

bring back the red snapper!!!

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | December 12, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

does anyone know if he's injured? i hope he is.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2010 5:52 PM

unbelievable. How do you come up with that much hate? Missing your Cowboy trolls?

Personally, I hope he's not.

Posted by: beep-beep | December 12, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

sundberg has been erratic all season... didn't re-sign the red snapper (who was a pro bowler)...skins brought james dearth in the pre-season... maybe erik cook can be the long snapper... bidwell and hunter smith (who is 1 of the better holders in the nfl) have had trouble with sundberg!!!

danny smith is 1 of the best special teams coaches in the nfl... danny smith doesn't kick, snap, or hold...

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | December 12, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Keep Gano.

It does no good to let him go now. Is another kicker somehow going to change the laws of time and space and get us into the playoffs?

The guy has had an up and down season, but it's not like there are a bunch of Vinatieri's out there looking for a job. This team does not need one more revolving door. To just cut the guy and look for someone else is to play Snyder-ball.

Instead, work with the guy. He has talent so figure out what's wrong and fix it with the time remaining in this season. Then assess. Don't let him become another David Akers.

Posted by: fan-o-matic | December 12, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

extra point wouldn't have mattered if Fletcher and Holiday make the stop on the 2pt conversion.

Posted by: coparker5 | December 12, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Move along...new post

Posted by: TWISI | December 12, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

also wouldn't of mattered if gano hit the 2 he missed. we can play that game all day long.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Smith should be fired.

That said, I believe this is a results-based business. (Are any businesses not?)

If these are his results, then Smith can't possibly be one of the NFL's best special teams coaches. He may be respected around the league, but he no longer has the results to back up the "best in the league" argument.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 12, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't Hunter be wearing gloves? Especially with a wet ball? If it helps the receivers is should work for him.

Posted by: pwilly | December 12, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The hold on the extra point is not the issue - the issue is that it should never have come to that stage. This entire organization from the top down is a DISGRACE. The same fundamental dysfunction is embedded no matter who the coach or players are. The clock management and play calling were atrocious. Mentally, the team started the second half appearing as if the game were "in the bag." Shahahan does not trust McNabb so Shanny has to call the time-outs. McNabb had several "pick-six" on basic routes dropped. As Howard Cosell once said..."it's all a big joke - it just goes on and on..."

Posted by: i155133 | December 12, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

did anyone else notice mcnabb get grabbing his throwing shoulder? I think his arm is just giving out! He throws balls at wr's shoelaces way too much! We need a yound future star a qb that fits this system not sum outta shape old man that will only get worse! He was wastes of quality picks! Hope we can trade him and fat al to help move up in the draft and get a future star that fits this wco type system! That can grow and flourish into it!! HTTR!! Hope the cowgirls don't blow us out!

Posted by: warriorking111285 | December 12, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"It's definitely frustrating," Gano said. "I got to make those kicks, and hopefully I'll get another opportunity."

Hopefully you don't. Hopefully you're off the team tomorrow.

Posted by: slowdive | December 12, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | December 12, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

sundberg snap was a little high but not over Smith's head by a long shot. To say it was is just looking for a scape goat. It went through Smith's hands he should've caught it, but I don't believe any of them should be fired. Including gano, who had a bad game but all kickers have them, I still think has a lot of potential.

One thing coming out of this game that I think a lot of people aren't going to admit but its good to point out, is that the skins youth movement is underway and is playing well.

Torain (24) like I keep saying, is a beast and will be for some time. Keiland (24) was solid. Brandon Banks (22) had one great return that was overturned on a questionable holding call. Kory Lichtensteiger (25) had a great game, so did Trent Williams(22). Will Montgomery (27) (but does not have a lot of swear and tear on him for his age) was solid as well. Kevin Barnes (24) played well when he was in there. Anthony Bryant (29, but didnt start playin in the nfl till 25) was a beast when he was in, he showed play more, he is the run stopper we have been missing.Carriker (26) did a good job against the run as well. These guys are some solid pieces that are young and are playing better and better the more chances they get. We had some hungry vets in free agency, and some more youth through the draft and undrafted players and we should be much improved next year.

I know redskin fans, the losses are really tough and frustrating because we could've won that game at least four times but didn't. But in the nfl, a component that people sometimes don't look at is luck. It's sometimes is what separates a interception from a touchdown, or a sack from a completion or a win from the loss. And the redskins are snake bitten, even when they outplay teams they can't seem to pull it out. This is a tough season, but the fact this team seems closer and is still playing hard shows that there not quitters and still believe in the coaches and each other. And these struggles well set us up to succeed in the future and make success so much sweeter when we get it. Keep your heads up, skin fans.

Posted by: culprit59 | December 12, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Let's play a game:

Pick a college team and try to think of any position that their starter wouldn't be an upgrade for the Redskins.

Team: Alabama

Upgrades: Everyone

.... now we just need 25 draft picks...

Posted by: mac2j | December 12, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

It's not the kicker or holder, it's the damn organization!!!! Blowing up the team will help but for how long as long as Dannyboy is around. We can all be die hard fans but don't put your hard earned money into the hands of this egomaniac owner. Boycott the games and make him sell the team, unless that happens, we will be in a similar predicament for the next decade.

Posted by: mofares | December 12, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I am now convinced that the League Officials have something against the Redskins and it probably stems from the toes our owner has stepped on. After some of the bizarre flags that have been thrown against us, and so many of the "obvious" penalties that were not called for us, I can only believe that this goes beyond the events on the field.

Posted by: carnack | December 12, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Recommend checking out footballoutsiders' take on what they're calling the Fifth Down play (Skins-Bucs). True weirdness.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/2010/closer-look-fifth-down


Posted by: Samson151 | December 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

i would like to get the opinions of some loyal redskin fans. we all read all the negative posts and comments from the fans but i just wanna speak on a realistic level. we have a team that has bacically zero star potential. the only high level players that we have are Landry (who gets burnt all the time and misses tackles every game) and Orakpo (who hasnt had a sack in 5 games, and cant play the run like he should). My question is: where do we start to rebuild? honestly!

Posted by: lincolnhomes | December 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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