Monday, January 3, 2010, 2:01 p.m.
By Rich Tandler
REDSKINS PAGE REDSKINS VIDEO
If you think that youve never seen a Redskins season quite like this one, youre right. For the first time in their history, the Redskins did not win at least one game by at least seven points. And no team in NFL history has played more games decided by three or fewer points in a season than the 2010 Redskins. The nine games decided by a field goal or less ties an NFL record held by six other teams. There really isnt much of a point in taking a detailed look at Sundays loss to the Giants except that in was in some ways a microcosm of the season. It was a close game that hinged on a few plays. The Redskins missed a short field goal and turned the ball over four times, three of those coming in Giants territory at the 20, 30, and 10. Obviously, when you finish the way we did with six wins, we got some areas to work on, said Mike Shanahan after the game. On the positive side, there were six games in there that we had a chance. I think five of those we were ahead in the fourth quarter or two or three points behind. So, six wins and I believe six or seven other scenarios that we had our chances to finish. Hopefully in time, we will learn how to finish and be a better football team. The Redskins were 4-5 in those games decided by three or fewer points. In fact, they could have won all but a few games that they lost and they certainly could have lost every game that they won. The what ifs are as good a way as any to look at the 2007 season in review. To summarize, the 6-10 Redskins lost seven games that could have been wins if some plays had gone the Redskins way. All six of their wins also hung on a razors edge, with a play here and a play being critical to the outcome. Looking at this, it seems fair to say that the 2010 Washington Redskins were what their record said they were. In six of their 10 losses the Redskins led, were tied, or trailed by three points or fewer at some point during the fourth quarter. Week 1 vs. Cowboys, W 13-7They won because: The Cowboys decided to run a pointless pass play at the end of the first half. The result was a fumble that DeAngelo Hall scooped up and returned for the Redskins only touchdown of the game. They could have lost if: Just about every game this season we saw an example of Brian Orakpo getting held by an opposing lineman without a flag being thrown. If the zebra had kept his flag in his pocket on the last play of the game, the Redskins would have lost a heartbreaker on Tony Romos touchdown pass to Roy Williams. Week 2 vs. Texans, L 30-29 (OT)They lost because: The Redskins blew a 27-10 third-quarter lead. Houston sent the game into overtime on a 34-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass from Matt Schuab to Andre Johnson. They could have won if: A lot of ifs in this one. One was a blocked 29-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter when three points would have given the Redskins a 30-20 lead. Another was what appeared to be a game-winning 52-yard Graham Gano field goal in overtime that turned out to be a no-play because Texans coach Gary Kubiak called timeout just before the snap. Gano missed the second try. Week 3 at Rams, L 30-16Not very many ifs in this one although the Redskins did have a 16-14 lead in the third quarter. Week 4 at Eagles, W 17-12They won because: The Redskins posted two touchdowns on their first two possessions and were able to hang on at the end. They could have lost if: Jason Avant had a Hail Mary pass in his hands in the end zone on the last play of the game. Week 5 vs. Packers, W 16-13 (OT)They won because: Jeremy Jarmon rushed Aaron Rodgers on a pass in overtime. LaRon Landry got the interceptions, setting up Ganos game-winning 33-yard field goal. They could have lost if: Mason Crosbys 53-yard field goal hit off of the left upright with one second to play in regulation. Week 6 vs. Colts, L 27-24They lost because: Peyton Manning was able to dial up a pass, a drive, or a score whenever he needed one. He was 25 for 38 for 307 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. They could have won if: There were a few interceptions dropped by the Redskins that could have turned the tide. Also, in the closing seconds, Donovan McNabb had Joey Galloway behind the defense going down the sideline but the potential miracle was thwarted by a one-handed interception. Week 7 at Bears, W 17-14They won because: Hall returned one of his four interceptions of Jay Cutler 92 yards for a touchdown. They could have lost if: Lovie Smith had challenged a third-quarter play at the goal line. On first and goal at the one, Cutler ran a sneak and the ball came loose. The officials called a fumble and a Redskins recovery. Replays revealed that Cutler had the ball over the plane of the goal line prior to losing the handle, a touchdown that would have put the Bears up 21-10. Smith kept the red flag in his pocket, however, and the fumble stood. Week 8 at Lions, L 37-25They lost because: The Lions put up 17 points in the final 3:17 of the game, scoring on a pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson, a Jason Hanson field goal, and a 17-yard rumble with a Rex Grossman fumble byNdamukong Suh. They could have won if: First, a 95-yard Brandon Banks kickoff return for a touchdown was nullified by a silly penalty. Then, after a subsequent 96-yard Banks kickoff return for a TD that counted, the Redskins had the ball with just less than five minutes left. McNabb threw a head-scratching interception that set up the first score of the Lions late-game avalanche. That pass, probably more than any issues with knowing the two-minute offense or cardiovascular endurance, led to the chain of events that started with Mike Shanahan benching McNabb at the end of the game in favor of Grossman and ended with McNabb sitting out the last three games and the Redskins looking for a new starting quarterback. Week 10 vs. Eagles, L 59-28Maybe they could have won if Michael Vick had failed to find his way to FedEx Field but even then it would have been difficult. Week 11 at Titans, W 19-16 (OT)They won because: They were able to hang in the game with starters dropping out of the game almost every series. They could have lost if: The Titans committed two boneheaded penalties on the Redskins game-winning drive in overtime. The worst was a Titan ripping off the helmet of Kory Lichtensteiger to draw a 15-yard penalty and then a roughing the passer call shortly after that. The 30 free yards got the Redskins into Titans territory and they moved in for a 48-yard Gano field goal to win it. Week 12 vs. Vikings, L 17-13They lost because: After an impressive initial 83-yard touchdown drive, the Redskins offense fell into a slumber the rest of the game. They gained just 216 yards the rest of the way. And after Adrian Peterson left the game with an injury, the Redskins allowed rookie backup Tony Gerhart to control the clock and the game. They could have won if: Perry Riley committed an unnecessary block in the back that nullified a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown by Banks. The score would have put the Redskins up 20-17 midway through the fourth quarter. Week 13 at Giants, L 31-7Not much in the way of ifs here. If the Redskins six turnovers hadnt done them in, the 197 rushing yards they allowed would have. Week 14 vs. Bucs, L 17-16They lost because: Josh Freeman threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow in the fourth quarter with the Redskins leading 10-9. The touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion put Tampa Bay up by seven with just less than four minutes left to play. They could have won if: Gano smacked a 34-yard field goal off of the upright in the early going. With a few seconds left, Hunter Smith muffed the hold of a high snap on a extra point try, rendering a fourth-down touchdown pass from McNabb to Moss meaningless. Week 15 at Cowboys L 33-30They lost because: Two turnovers, a Grossman interception and a Grossman fumble, set up 14 Dallas points. They could have won if: Back to back sacks of Grossman after the Redskins rallied to tie the game at 30-30 helped give Dallas good field position after a punt. The Cowboys had to move just 31 yards to set up the game-winning field goal. Week 16 at Jacksonville, W 20-17 (OT)They won because: David Garrard threw an ill-advised pass in overtime to Kevin Barnes. The interception set up Ganos game-winning field goal. They could have lost if: Pro Bowl running back had played instead of missing the game due to injury. Of course, the Redskins also were missed several defensive starters, including both safeties, so the injury factor did even out. Week 17 vs. Giants, L 17-14This is detailed above. You can reach Rich by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Join Rich Tandler for his weekly Tuesdays With Tandler Redskins chat starting at 6:00. Drop by www.CSNwashington.com to join in the fun.