Fresh from their role as a victim in a Michael Vick showcase, the Washington Redskins returned to action on Nov. 21 against the Tennessee Titans. Needing a victory to get back on track, the Redskins responded with a 19-16 road win over the heavily favored Titans in a field goal party in Music City.

First Down: Gano is Good
With their offense struggling yet again, kicker Graham Gano was the hero of the day. The second-year kicker overcame two missed field goals to boot the game winner in overtime, and finished with season-high four field goals as Washington escaped with a much-needed win. Gano has often had to shoulder the offense this year with the team struggling in the red zone, and he came up big again. Gano definitely earned the day’s game ball and should probably earn the right to return as the primary kicker for Washington next season.

Second Down: Defense Returns

Vick annihilated the Redskins’ defense a week ago, putting up six touchdowns and making the defense look silly in a Monday night massacre. Against a Titans team featuring Randy Moss, Chris Johnson and Vince Young, Washington returned to playing solid football while limiting the Titans to just 16 points at home. Moss has struggled mightily this season and the Skins secondary added another chapter to a disappointing season for the ex-megastar, keeping him without a catch in the game. Johnson ran for 130 yards, but was held without a touchdown.

Third Down: D.C. Pride
It wasn’t their best game, but the Redskins and their coaching staff deserve praise. Millions of viewers witnessed the team’s 59-28 demolition at the hands of Vick and the Eagles, and following up with a solid road win should help right the ship. The Redskins were the laughingstocks of the football world as Vick’s highlight reel ran repeatedly on every major sports network and radio shows questioned the coaches, the players and the system under Coach Mike Shanahan. But the Eagles might have beaten any team they played that night, and the Redskins are nowhere near as bad they appeared in that game. They proved it today by upending one of the AFC’s better teams.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO