With nothing else to play for in a lost season, the Washington Redskins were simply trying to play the role of spoiler against the New York Jets at FedEx Field on Dec. 4. But a positive start turned sour resulting in a 34-19 defeat for Washington, who suffered their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Redskins rookie running back Roy Helu led an opening drive that pushed the Redskins (4-8) ahead 7-0 but Washington mysteriously elected to go away from their running game and throw against one of the better secondary units in the NFL.

Washington quarterback Rex Grossman finished 19-of-46 with 221 passing yards, no touchdowns and a costly turnover in the waning moments of the fourth quarter. Grossman’s fumble allowed the Jets (7-5) to turn a four-point lead into a two-touchdown cushion.

Grossman was blind-sided on third-and-long by a blitzing Jets defender who knocked the ball loose, giving the Jets the ball back inside the Redskins’ 20-yard line. Helu racked up 100 rushing yards in another solid performance and the budding rookie figures to be a key component next season.

Washington took a 16-13 lead in the final quarter after a field goal by Graham Gano, but New York marched down the field on the next drive. Quarterback Mark Sanchez found Santonio Holmes streaking down the left sideline for a 30-yard score to put the Jets ahead for good.

The Redskins could play the role of spoiler again when they host the New England Patriots (9-3) on Dec. 11. The Patriots have had the league’s worst defense this season, but also one of the best offenses, setting up a possible interesting shootout.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO