(photo by Brian Murphy)
1. “Gotta Have It” by Kanye West and Jay-Z
The Washington Redskins had the unique opportunity to effectively end the Philadelphia Eagles’ season with more than two months remaining on the schedule.
The Redskins also had the chance to avenge last season’s lopsided loss to Philly while showing the rest of the NFL that this year is different and that these Redskins can handle the spotlight.
Unfortunately, Washington was unable to take advantage of the situation and instead of silencing the critics and getting revenge on a divisional rival, the Redskins are left searching for answers after a disheartening 20-13 loss to the Eagles.
Philadelphia came into this contest with a 1-4 record and the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Coming into the game, the Eagles were getting beat in the trenches on both sides of the ball, defensive players failed to execute something as simple as tackling a ball carrier consistently and quarterback Mike Vick had a turnover in 12 straight-games.
All the Redskins had to do was get off to a fast start to make Philadelphia play from behind, and there was a good chance that the burgundy and gold faithful would have enjoyed a front-row seat of the beginning of the end for Andy Reid and the Eagles.
Of course, nothing is that simple in Washington. So naturally, the Eagles jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first half and held on for the win.
And while there’s plenty of blame to go around after a loss, one Redskins player did his best to ensure where the bulk of the criticism was directed.
2. “I’m Not the One” by The Black Keys
What do Tom Brady, Mike Vick and Rex Grossman all have in common? Each quarterback has finished a game this season with four interceptions.
But while the Patriots and Eagles remained confident in their starting quarterbacks, the same cannot be said for the Redskins. Not after Grossman completed twice as many passes to Eagles defenders (four) than Redskins receivers (one each to Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth).
In three quarters of action, the artist formerly known as Sexy Rexy completed nine passes on 22 attempts for 143 yards with zero touchdowns and four interceptions. That’s good enough to earn a 23.7 quarterback rating and an early trip to the showers.
“Bottom line is you have a good day or you don’t,” said head coach Mike Shanahan. “We’ll take a look at the film and try and talk about where the mistakes were in the reads and those types of things. Right now everybody knows that if you have four picks in a game good things aren’t going to happen.”
Amazingly enough, this isn’t even Grossman’s only four-interception performance – the nine-year veteran threw four picks against Arizona back in 2006.*
*You might remember this game for it’s memorable post-game rant by Grossman’s head coach Dennis Green.
“You’ve just got to flush it,” Grossman said of his disappointing performance. “There are so many times in this league that you face adversity for one reason or another that you’ve got to go back to your core beliefs. I believe in myself no matter if the whole stadium doesn’t or the coaching staff doesn’t. Whatever the situation is, I believe in myself that every single play I’m going to get it done. So, I fall back on that.”
While that’s all well and good, I’m not so sure anyone else in town has quite as much confidence in Grossman after this dud of an outing.
Watching Grossman’s performance spiral worse and worse with each passing game, it’s nearly impossible to build a case for The Rex Cannon to take the field again anytime soon.
3. “Brand New Day” by Van Morrison
Once Grossman’s day mercifully came to an end, Redskins fans got their first glimpse of backup John Beck.
The fifth-year pro shot up from relative obscurity to presumed starter during the lockout, but was unable to unseat Grossman for the starting job during the preseason.
Had Grossman simply been mediocre against the Eagles, Washington would have likely won and Beck would still be an unknown commodity.
But Grossman was so awful that he left his coaching staff little choice and now there’s every reason to believe Beck will be the team’s starter moving forward.
Beck wasn’t spectacular against Philadelphia, but he was better than Rex – completing eight of 15 passes for 117 yards in one quarter of action.
The former BYU standout also scored a two-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw and also completed a career-long 32-yard pass to receiver Terrence Austin.
“When I came in we had the whole fourth quarter and that was enough time to potentially win the game,” Beck said. “That was the number one thing on my mind. We were a couple scores away from tying this thing up, potentially sending it into overtime and right now I’m thinking about those plays and what I could’ve done that so that way whatever happens next, the next time I get on the field, I want to be fully ready and do the best I can.”
4. “Unhappy” by Outkast
After punting on their first possession, the Eagles scored on each of their next four drives against Washington.
Philadelphia mounted drives of 11, 10, 10 and eight plays while racking up 264 total yards and 20 points against a shell-shocked Redskins defense that couldn’t get off the field.
Even though the Eagles entered the game last in the NFL in turnover ratio and with a makeshift offensive line, the Redskins defense was unable to get consistent pressure on Vick.
“There weren’t too many assignment adjustments that we had to make,” said safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. “It was more of an attitude and an emotional adjustment. I believe coming off of the bye week we came into this game flat. We didn’t start as intense as the defense usually does. That can hurt you against a team like this that is so offensively powerful.”
In the second half though, the Redskins defense finally got rolling. Philadelphia’s second half possessions resulted in two interceptions, two punts and a turnover on downs which is why Washington still had a chance to tie the game on a day when the offense was so dreadful.
“Coming out for the second half, we just started to play the way we know how to play,” Atogwe continued. “It worked in our favor in that half, but unfortunately, it takes two halves of football to win.”
5. “Broken” by Jack Johnson
Offensive lineman Kory Lichtensteiger is likely done for the season after tearing ligaments in his knee. Tight end Chris Cooley needs surgery after fracturing his index finger. Tackle Trent Williams suffered a high-ankle sprain that will likely sideline him for at least a game or two.
And suddenly, one of the NFL’s healthiest teams is scrambling to fill the void on an offense that has shown no signs of being able to handle adversity.
Washington’s offensive line wasn’t going to be confused for “The Hogs” as it was, but with Lichtensteiger and Williams out of the lineup it’s going to be even tougher for the Redskins running game to get going (the Redskins had just 42 yards on 14 carries against Philadelphia) or for whoever is playing quarterback to have enough time to let his receivers run a route.
For as ugly as things got on Sunday, it’s conceivable that things could get even worse before they get better if the Redskins can’t find a way to put together a serviceable offensive line.
Finally, here’s a link to my favorite photos I was able to capture during the game.