Monday’s headline in the Washington Post sport’s section read “For Redskins, Tough Losses.” The article on the game’s loss mentioned we gave up three touchdowns in the 4th quarter. The problem with the Redskins’ game plan in the 4th quarter was that they weren’t trying to win, they were trying not to lose.
At the end of three quarters the score was 13 – 13. With about 10 minutes and 30 seconds left, we pinned the Jets back on their 11-yard line. The defense held and after three plays, the Jets were punting from their own 20. Banks ran the punt back for the Redskins and guess what? We had the ball on the Jet’s 31 yard line! Just 31 yards from a touchdown. But rather than try to score, we went into a shell. I said to my wife, “We aren’t trying to score, we are just positioning ourselves for a field goal.” We ran the ball three times, gaining very little and then kicked a 46- yard field goal. That gave us a three point lead.
I am satisfied that not going for a touchdown on that series destroyed our chances of winning. The Jets came right down the field and five plays later, we were behind. Then, our uphill battle went to hell in a hand basket.
My problem is who is in charge? Who decided that three points would do, when everybody watching knew we needed a touchdown. When you go for it, is there a chance that a pass will get intercepted? You bet. There is also a chance for a touchdown. In the words of the state lottery, you need to play to win!
I am a board certified, level 7, armchair quarterback and kibitzer. From my years of observing, I have determined that if you pass on running downs and run on passing downs, you will have more success than doing the obvious. Against Seattle, we did pass on running downs and we were quite successful, but I didn’t see much of that against the Jets.
I think that the owner, Dan Snyder, is a big part of the problem. He has done some really stupid things like firing Marty Schottenheimer after one 8 and 8 season in which Marty won his last five games. And who did Snyder hire? He hired the “ball coach,” Steve Spurrier (12-20), who is probably a decent college coach (probably also a good high school coach), but he turned out to be a rotten pro coach. Another disaster falling on the shoulders of Snyder is the hiring of Jim Zorn. Jim was a nice guy, but had no business being a head coach (12-20). After six games in his second season, Snyder stripped Zorn of his play calling duties. Snyder could have fired him rather than humiliating him. But that might have cost Snyder more money. If he could get Zorn to quit, he could save some money. Never mind what this stunt was doing to the football team. As long as Snyder is making money, I don’t think we can get rid of him.
I am not a big Shanahan fan. He was 6 and 10 his first season and probably won’t be any better this year. But firing the coach every two years doesn’t seem to be the answer. Who knows, things can’t get much worse. Give him a couple more years to put a team together.
Of course the headline regarding “tough losses,” also referred to our two players (Trent Williams, starting left tackle and Fred Davis, starting tight end) who have been suspended for the rest of the season for smoking pot. They were tested three times over an extended period and failed the test each time. They both knew if they failed the third time they would be suspended, but they did their thing anyway. I love Thomas Boswell’s line about it in the Post where he said, “Sometimes a drug test is really an IQ test.”
Written by PJ Rice at www.ricequips.com