The Washington Redskins reached a new level of frustration on Dec. 12 after a botched extra point attempt left the home fans shaking their heads following a 17-16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

With only nine seconds remaining after Washington mounted a 69-yard touchdown drive to pull within one point, the extra point would have almost certainly sent the game into overtime. But a bad snap added a new page in a season-long book of regrettable moments for the now 5-8 Redskins and capped a game full of missed opportunities, blown coverages and head-scratching plays.

First Down: The Bad Snap
Down seven points with 3:47 left in the game, Washington engineered a 14-play, 69-yard drive capped by a six-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Donovan McNabb and receiver Santana Moss. The drive flooded FedEx Field with new life after a rainy and lackluster day had left much of the crowd anxious to head for dry ground. But that same momentum escaped the stadium after snapper Nick Sundberg heaved the ball through holder Hunter Smith’s hands, and the Buccaneers recovered the ball to end the Redskins hopes. Fans left booing, shaking their heads and cursing a franchise that appears to be snake-bitten. That wasn’t Washington’s only miscue of the afternoon, but it was their biggest.

Second Down: Wasted Torain Gains
After rushing for 160 yards in the first half, including 121 yards in the first quarter, Ryan Torain showcased why he’ll be a finalist for the role of lead running back next season. Torain broke off a series of long runs throughout the first half including dashes of 54, 12, 23, 10, 12 and 19 yards. The fact that Washington was only able to muster 10 first half points after Torain’s huge half is evidence of the red-zone problems that have plagued Washington for the past few seasons.

Tampa Bay adjusted and got a handle on Torain in the second half, but it was the missed chances in the opening two quarters that really cost Washington the win, including bad clock management at the end of the first half, holding calls on long kick and punt returns, and a pair of missed field goals.

Third Down: Gano the Goat
Kicker Graham Gano has been a big part of the Redskins offense this season, so it’s a shame he’ll be one of the men to blame in Washington’s latest loss. Gano missed makeable field goals of 34 and 24 yards in the first half before the ball on the extra point sailed past him on the Redskins’ final play. Gano has now missed his last three field goal attempts and could be replaced at the end of the season if he continues to struggle.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO