(photo by Brian Murphy)
1. “Giving Up The Gun” by Vampire Weekend
The Washington Redskins were coming off of one of their most lopsided losses in franchise history – a 59-28 dismantling at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
That loss, mind you, was on the heels of the debacle in Detroit, where quarterback Donovan McNabb was benched and everyone not-named Brandon Banks had plenty to work on after yet another defeat at the hands of a Lions team that is routinely at the bottom of the NFL standings.
Their opponent was a Tennessee team that had a 12-game winning streak against the NFC, which was tops in the league. And, oh by the way, the Titans had already defeated the rest of the NFC East earlier this season with relative ease.
So naturally the Redskins won. Why wouldn’t they?
Even though the last month had been filled with disappointment and heartache, the Redskins somehow managed to resemble a profession football team once again. The offense, which had been missing in action for weeks, racked up 465 total yards – 107 on the ground and 358 in the air.
McNabb and friends ran 86 plays, converted eight of 16 third-down chances (which had plagued the team all season long) and held the ball for more than 40 minutes. Because the offense was able to sustain long time-consuming drives, the defense was finally able to get some much-needed rest.
One week after allowing 600 yards of offense to Philly, the Redskins defense shut down the Titans attack. Tennessee’s offense finished the day with 373 total yards, converted just three of 11 third downs and failed to reach the end zone.
The only reason the game was even close was an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown by Tennessee returner Marc Mariani. Otherwise, the game never would have made it to overtime.
2. “You Will Leave A Mark” by A Silent Film
Making this victory even more impressive is that the fact that the Redskins were so decimated by injuries that linebacker Chris Wilson suggested the were living in the movie “Final Destination.”
Redskins running back Chad Simpson didn’t even make it through warm-ups before he was out for the game with an injured foot. Running back Clinton Portis lasted just five carries before re-aggravating his groin injury. Safety Anderson Russell, who started because safety LaRon Landry is also hurt, left the game with a knee injury, and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
And let’s not forget the offensive line. Both center Casey Rabach and guard Derrick Dockery were sidelined due to knee injuries, as was defensive lineman Kedric Golston, and rounding out the injury report, linebacker Rocky McIntosh left the game with an injured groin.
Add in Landry, cornerback Carlos Rogers, guard Artis Hicks and running back Ryan Torain who were already out of the lineup before the Tennessee game and it’s safe to wonder if the Redskins will even have enough players to field a team next week against Minnesota.
3. “Tennessee” by Arrested Development
“If I ran the Titans, I’d give the ball to Chris Johnson every single down. Glad Fisher doesn’t feel the same way.”
I caught some heat during the game for posting those two sentences on Twitter one drive before Fisher apparently remembered he had the best running back in football on his roster. I was even accused of sleeping with the enemy after Johnson was given the ball three straight times on Tennessee’s next possession – with Johnson gaining 20 and 29 yards on back-to-back plays.
Why it took the longest-tenured coach in the NFL three quarters to try and utilize a guy who ran for more than 2,000 yards a season ago, I’ll never know. But rather than overanalyze it, Redskins fans should just be thankful that boneheaded decisions were being handled on the other side of the field for once.
And Fisher isn’t alone here.
After being pulled out of the game because of a thumb injury on his throwing hand, quarterback Vince Young had a hissy fit of historic proportions that included throwing his jersey and shoulder pads into the stands and storming out of the locker room after getting into a heated exchanged with his head coach.
And yet, Young wasn’t alone.
The game very well could have ended in a tie because neither team could do anything once they got into the red zone, if not for a series of back-breaking penalties by Titans players in the game’s deciding moments.
Titans defensive end Jason Babin was called for unnecessary roughness on 2nd-and-22, which gave the Redskins 15 free yards. On the very next play, linebacker Will Witherspoon was called for roughing the passer after going helmet-to-helmet on McNabb – which gave Washington 15 more yards. Four plays later, Cornerback Alterraun Verner was called for illegal contact while defending Redskins receiver Anthony Armstrong, which means that in three plays, the Titans gave the Redskins 35 yards.
4. “This Is Such A Pity” by Weezer
How dangerous would the Titans be if they added Randy Moss to their offense? Guess we’ll never know.
5. “Big Empty” by Stone Temple Pilots
The highlight of the day for many Redskins fans was the re-emergence of the Washington offense. Seeing receiver Santana Moss and tight end Chris Cooley both in a rhythm, as well as guys like Fred Davis and Keiland Williams contributing was a welcome distraction from the three-and-out parade we’ve been subjected to for a month or so now.
The only issue I have with the Redskins offense on Sunday was McNabb’s steadfast