By Mark F. Gray
In the end this game should have never come down overtime and certainly should not have ended with a 30 – 27 loss to the Houston Texans. The difference between the Washington Redskins at 2-0 instead of 1-1 is they still have not learned to deliver the knockout blow when the opposition is on the ropes.
After catching the breaks on opening night against the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins blew a 17 second half lead to the Texans. They had the momentum, the energy, and everything in place to be at the top of their division heading into week three. While beating Dallas may have deodorized the stench of their problems, the loss to Houston exposed some rotten areas that threaten to spoil what could be something other than just a season to regain their respect.
This loss would not sting as much had the defense not collapsed with the offense scoring 27 points. The defense has been the rock for the last decade while the offense had gone months at a time not scoring as much as they did last Sunday.
Whether irony or happenstance the massive collapse on defense can’t be blamed on Albert Haynesworth who was inactive following a sprained ankle in practice late last week. Despite five sacks the Redskins secondary made Texans quarterback Matt Schaub look like a hall of famer allowing 497 yards and allowing them to convert on six of 14 third downs. When given a chance to seal the game on fourth and 10 late in the final period of regulation the secondary couldn’t make the stop. Even with Reed Doughty in perfect coverage he wasn’t athletic enough to win the matchup with Andre Johnson, on a bad ankle, who scored the game tying touchdown. It makes you wonder if they had kept Tyrone Carter, a safety who had nine years experience in Jim Haslett’s system and is a better athlete than Doughty, if the fate would have been different.
The game wouldn’t have gone into overtime if the offense capitalized on their first two drives. They had to settle for field goals after long passes that set them up in the shadows of the Texans goal line . McNabb completed his first six passes on their opening drive but it stalled at Houston’s 23 yard forcing the first of two Graham Gano field goals in the first quarter.
Carlos Rogers first interception since 2008 set them up at the Texans 37 but again they had to settle for three instead of seven. Had those drives ended in touchdowns instead of field goals the epic comeback by Houston would have been moot.
With a chance to seal the game again in the fourth quarter McNabb, in the midst just the second 400 yard passing game of his career, had Joey Galloway streaking behind the Houston secondary and laid out the perfect pass. Unfortunately, the often injured 38 year old fossil couldn’t “go and get it” to put the game on ice. They coaches remain frustrated by Devin Thomas running routes but it would have interesting to see if he could have hauled in that decisive scoring chance.
Those missed opportunities continue the trend which has doomed their fate for most of the last decade. This is still a roster that doesn’t have enough players who know how to finish. Until they learn how Sunday’s type of loss figures to be normal rather than an exception.
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