Monday, December 13, 2010

Skins give game away with special teams mistakes

Another game, another heart-breaking loss. Here's what they're saying about the Redskins' latest embarrassing moment (both the loss and the extra point debacle, I guess), this time a 17-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs.

- "On the deciding play of the game, a snap on the extra point that went through holder Hunter Smith's hands, Gano said he did not see what happened because he keeps his head down on attempts. Gano seemed to be injured trying to pick up the fumbled snap, but he said he only aggravated a rib injury suffered against the Detroit Lions earlier this season and that he was 'fine.'

Asked if he was worried about his job security, Gano said he would 'love to still be here,' and Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan did not sound as if the Redskins were immediately considering releasing the kicker - who is 22 of 32 on field goals this season and 26 of 36 for his career." [Paul Tenorio, Redskins Insider]

- "The Redskins (5-8) overcame a lot of adversity to have a shot at putting this game into overtime. But a high snap and the failure of holder Hunter Smith to catch a wet football doomed the Skins with 9 seconds left on the clock. After falling behind for the first time in the game, Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb engineered a late scoring drive that ended with a short touchdown pass to Santana Moss. This was by far the most painful loss of the season for the Skins because of the way things ended." [Matt Mosley, NFC East Blog]

- "Brett Conway. Eddie Murray. Michael Husted. Kris Heppner. Scott Bentley. James Tuthill. Craig Jarrett. Jose Cortez. John Hall. Ola Kimrin. Jeff Chandler. Nick Novak. Shaun Suisham.

After Sunday's performance, Graham Gano seems likely to join the gentleman above in comprising the list of ex-Washington Redskins kickers of the past decade. Gano missed two chip shot field goals in the rain and was part of a unit that blew a routine extra point that would have tied the game with nine seconds remaining. He's missed the most field goals in the NFL this season (10)." [Chris Chase, Shutdown Corner]

- "Smith was a stand-up guy, fielding the same questions about the play over and over again until everyone had finished. And he was matter-of-fact about what happened, refusing to blame his teammates or the elements or anyone else. 'It's raining,' he said, shrugging. 'The ball is wet when it goes on the field, it's wet when it's put down, it's wet when Donovan throws a touchdown pass to put us in a situation to tie the game. And it's wet when I go out and have to hold the ball in a manner that we can kick the ball and tie the game up. I didn't do that.'

And, later, he summed that sentiment up even more concisely: 'The ball's catchable; the kick is makeable; put this one on me. If anybody needs to take the blame, I'm willing to take it.'" [Matt Terl, Redskins Blog]

- "Let’s count the special teams gaffes: 1. Gano’s first missed FG. 2. Gano’s second missed FG. 3. Wilson’s fumbled kickoff. 4. The holding on Brandon Banks’ long kick return. 5. The botched snap/hold on the extra point. Also, fire Danny Smith." [Jamie Mottram, Mr. Irrelevant]

- "For a while, it appeared that the league lucked out with the Redskins winning. The play-by-play at initially revealed that, the Redskins got a fifth down from the Tampa Bay six yard line, 20 years after Colorado received five downs to beat Missouri.

The play-by-play on has since been changed to show that what was believed to be second-down and one from the Tampa two was actually first and goal. So when it appeared to be fifth down for the Redskins, it actually was fourth down.

Either way, it doesn’t matter, thanks to Hunter Smith’s popcorn hands." [Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk]

- "David Akers could miss a potential game-winner and keep his job. Because he's done his job well for years. He's earned the right to make a mistake or two. Gano hasn't.

Just like every other career in the world, if you do your job well consistently and you make a mistake, your employer will understand. If you make the same mistake repeatedly, you could be out of a job. It's been nice knowing you, Graham." [Martin Shatzer, SB Nation D.C.]

- "The botched snap/hold on the decisive extra point attempt was such a Redskins play, if you know what I mean. This team just makes sloppy, boneheaded mistakes every week. They come in different forms, but the baseline is the same: They’re what losers do to lose games.

This season, alone, they’ve had a block in the back that negated a kickoff return for a touchdown against Minnesota, Houston’s 34-yard touchdown reception against them on fourth-and-10 with 1:13 to play, blocking breakdowns that resulted in two blocked punts, a missed chip-shot field goal in today’s 1-point loss, and the list goes on. Such lapses are what separate the Redskins from contenders such as New England and Pittsburgh. [Editor's Note: That and, you know, several other things.]" [Rich Campbell, Redskins Journal]

- "Go ahead, cut [Hunter Smith]. Make him turn in his playbook.

Send him to Oakland like Jason Campbell. Give more money to a millionaire malcontent before deciding way too late to get rid of him.

Hunter the Holder is just today's alibi. We'll find another martyr, another scapegoat, someone else to deflect blame from another 12-year veteran in that warm luxury suite." [Mike Wise, The Washington Post]

- "But should it really be surprising that the Redskins couldn’t close out their game against the Bucs on a victorious note? It was a bad day for the Redskins from top to bottom.

The players committed costly mistakes on the field and mental errors as well, but they weren’t the only ones. Mike Shanahan had a rough outing from a clock management standpoint. . . . The Redskins were able to overcome those last-minute mistakes and score on the pass from McNabb to Moss. But with so much confusion flying around throughout the game, it’s no wonder Washington couldn’t get things right when they really needed to on Sunday." [Mike Jones, TBD Skins]

- "Heck, I almost feel bad for Redskins fans at this point, if it wasn’t for the fact that something like this happens to them every year. Feeling bad for a Redskins fan after epic failures like Sunday is like feeling bad for a friend who keeps getting sick eating dairy but refuses to admit he’s lactose intolerant.

Wait, there’s a pill you can take for that. There’s no pill to cure the almost weekly gut-wrenching the Redskins provide." [Dan Levy, Press Coverage]

- "Unless you actually play for the Redskins, you probably had to scream, laugh or just watch slack-jawed in awe at the single most unfathomably amateurish and embarrassing blunder in the last 18 years of gaffe-, gall- and guffaw-filled Washington football.

That decisive play - a snap that wasn't terribly bad and a muffed hold that wasn't all that easy - combined the cruel and unfair, but also seemed perfect and symbolic, too. It captured everything the Redskins have promised to be but then, for almost two decades, usually have failed to deliver.

The sublime and the ridiculous, usually poles apart, occasionally collide to produce the sublimely ridiculous. The Redskins are artists in the form. Yet, somehow, they never flip the script and accidentally stumble into the ridiculously sublime." [Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post]


And after all of that, the Redskins face the Cowboys next Sunday. With a win, the Skins would sweep the season series -- not that I'm expecting something positive or non-embarrassing to happen, of course.

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