Sunday, December 12, 2010, 3:56 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
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Five observations from the Redskins 17-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday:
1. This was a classic Redskins defeat. Start off well offensively but come away with no points. Create turnovers but dont cash in. Allow the opponent to hang around. And then, of course, lose late because of a mistake. Tampa Bay didnt lead until 3:47 remained in the game. The Redskins offense finally awoke on its last drive and was prepared to force overtime until Nick Sundbergs PAT snap went through Hunter Smiths hands. The Redskins are 1-4 in the second half of the year and drops the Redskins to 5-8, clinching owner Dan Snyders ninth non-winning season (third straight).
2. Torains performance including 158 first-half yards (the most in the NFL in five years) may be just a tease but well see for sure in the final three games. Throw out the second half he had a single yard in the third quarter mostly because the Redskins didnt have the ball much. The first half, though, was impressive as Torain carried 18 times for 158 yards, the highest first-half rushing total since Tiki Barber against the Redskins five years ago. Torain was physical in running through tackles and made several effective cutbacks to create yardage. The key for Torain is maintaining production over the final month without getting hurt again.
3. Amid a pregame report that he might be replaced by Rex Grossman if he struggled, Donovan McNabb got away with three dropped interceptions and was again uneven save for the final drive, which ended with a touchdown pass to Santana Moss. The Redskins first drive ended when he threw a one-hopper to Chris Cooley on third down. More troubling is that it didnt appear Kyle Shanahan had a lot of trust in McNabb, certainly not as much as the Buccaneers had in Josh Freeman. Exhibit A was calling a running play on third-and-goal from the 12-yard line. A majority of McNabbs throws didnt travel beyond the line of scrimmage and it took him 56 minutes to find Cooley for the first time.
4. It cant be said the Redskins missed Albert Haynesworths presence on the defensive line. He served the first of his four-game suspension and his average of 25 snaps were occupied by Vonnie Holliday, Anthony Bryant and Chris Wilson. A new personnel grouping had five linebackers and one down lineman (Holliday) on the field for passing downs. One player that figured to be involved was Jeremy Jarmon but he was inactive for the seventh straight game.
5. Although the cries were loud on Twitter after misses of 34 and 25 yards, it would be a surprise if the Redskins gave up on Graham Gano. Yes, he has 10 missed field goals this year and even his first make (24 yards) just squeaked inside the left upright, but coach Mike Shanahan has maintained throughout the season that Gano will go through growing pains and his kickoff ability makes him an asset.
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