Week 8 Recap: O-Line Wipeout Leaves Skins Sitting Ducks


Faced with a virtually un-winnable game due to extinction-level injuries on the offensive line, the Washington Redskins did not win against the Dallas Cowboys in the rain on Sunday. It was not unexpected. Dallas 33. Washington 19.

This won’t stop the usual post-loss pie throwing party amongst fans. We always want to offer ingenious fix-it solutions, gloat about certain “told-ya-so’s” and of course, find a few villains. I’m no better than any other fan. But I am trying to get better. So when a game like happens, it’s almost best to just “burn the game film” as the coaching cliche goes, and forget about it.

Thanks to the Monday Night game at Philly, the team was working on a short week to begin with, then so banged up come Wednesday that they cancelled practice due to a lack of healthy bodies. The worst case scenarios of Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, and Spencer Long not being able to play, ALL came true. Then Mason Foster and Bashaud Breeland were added to the pile of not availables.

Once the game began, Niles Paul got knocked into next Tuesday with a concussion. Matt Ioannidis broke his hand. And Jordan Reed – having battled all year to get right – wanked a hammy and had to exit. To make the O-line injuries go from horror show to pure comedy, our last healthy starter Shawn Lauvao exited with with a shoulder stinger.

The line at the end of the game was as follows: Guy Off The Street, Undrafted Rookie, 6th Round Rookie, and two guys we stole from the practice squad of the next NFL team geographically closest to us, so we could get them here in time to fit them for a red helmet.

This is not a game you win. Period.

But while we have a moment, let’s go ahead and bemoan the coulda-shoulda-woulda’s from the game as it unfolded, shall we?

At 13-7, lining up for a short field goal to make it 16-7 in the first half, I think all of us Redskin fans were dreaming the big dream of this game being “our finest hour” as they said in Apollo 13. Instead, the most Redskin-ey thing possible happened, with the blocked FG being returned (from BEHIND the line of scrimmage, mind you, which almost never happens) down to 1st and goal.

Of course.

It’s hard to tell where the blame for that kick goes. It sure looked low. But Dallas did get a big push with hands in the air. The snap might have been tight to Tress Way’s chest. The bobble might have been all on him. The ball got down seemingly in time. But the tilt might have been angled improperly because they rushed. And yeah, Nick Rose might have had his timing messed up and skulled it. Or the timing and the hold were still perfect at the moment of truth, and the undrafted rookie who just got here, might have gakked it all on his own.

I’ve talked to Skins kickers before about this kind of thing, and believe it or not, there’s no definitive “black box” that shows the exact data of a FG disaster.

So whatever.

Chris Thompson’s KRumble was inexcusable. It’s the worst play in football. Period. The Kick Return (f)umble! KRumble. Cooley was bitching on the radio about how come we NEVER run any kick returns wide. He’s got a point. I’d be mad at Thompson but he’s like my favorite player on the team.

Kirk’s sack-strip fumble was inexcusable. Not only was there a hot route available and wide open, but in jailbreak mode protecting the ball is job one. Fail.

Now, let’s talk about the wide receivers. It’s tragic. And that includes Jamison Crowder having a big “wake up” game himself today. The fact that going into today, no Redskins WR’s ranked above #90 in the league in “Yards Receiving” is beyond belief. And the drops are enough to give Skins fans anyuerisms. I excused the Doctson drop in KC. Not that one today. Brutal. Right through your arms. On a soft throw. And even with his TD catch late, it doesn’t mask the fact that the cement of opinion is hardening fast on him. He has 8 catches in 7 games. Three are TD’s. So… yeah. Whatever.

Ryan Grant had two bad drops himself. The second one ended up as a non-factor, since Docton drew the PI that led to a late TD.

The Dallas d-line is pretty sick right now, and their investment in that side of the ball is starting to payoff big time, even with Taco Charlton as a (so-far) 1st round miss. Sure the game could have been “different” if a few of the bad things that happened to us, did not. And a few of the good things that happened to Dallas, didn’t either.

But the Cowboys played the game that presented itself to them. A game where they knew they had control of the trenches on both sides, and could afford to play it safe. Remember: your opponents effort and strategy are always variable, not static.

Of course at the end of the day, Kirk got the ball back with no timeouts and about a minute to play. In a pouring rain, with some guy named “Bergstrom” in on the o-line (he got here on Friday) and a long field to go, Kirk threw a WR screen for 3 yards, and then a no-hope check-down that was tipped for a pick-6.  Kirk haters could rejoice. They had their narrative! It was like finding an unguarded plastic pumpkin of candy on a neighborhood doorstep as Halloween night wound to a close.

It’s true. Kirk threw two soft-toss INTs that were dropped. He was far from great. But then again, he was 66% with 3 drops, and having lost his #1 TE mid-game. With no line. If Colt McCoy can do the same, I’ll eat my hat. I guess we might find out soon enough.

So at 3-4 it’s an uphill war to somehow find 10 wins. It doesn’t look likely. But like most years recently with this team, I’m not getting out the black suit until they lose 7.


  1. I am not a Kirk hater, but that “2 minute drill” at the end of the game was an embarrassment. 80 yards to go and he throws a 3 yard pass…..I am beginning to think that all Kirk is, is a stat compiler. Unfortunately, that stat is not touchdowns.

    • I too hate not on kirk…but it’s worthwhile to wonder about stats composed entirely of Chris Thompson’s YAC. Of course…we apparently have no running game or WR’s. I’ve read somewhere that these are important parts of an offensive game. To Kirk’s credit, he’s managed to stack stats with only Thompson and Vernon and without a running game.

  2. If they can not win next week and get to .500 this season will unwind and quickly.
    My biggest fear is the in-fo-mus 5-11 not too good. Then this question the Head Coach, GM and QB do all stay or all go??

  3. Czabe, why did you bother to write about this game? As I write this comment, I’m watching one of the best World Series Games EVER!!!!! When this game is finally over, feel free and write about it. Your Redskins are done this year. Stick a knife in them and move on. It will save your sanity.

  4. It’s odd to listen to the football pundits and just hear resignation. This is a unique Redskins meltdown as there’s basically no redskins left. However, we still have Snyder’s checkbook on the roster, right? Get us Martavius and all the OL’s we can find. Crap, get us any WR who played in the last 5 years who can still run a sub 5 40.

  5. You are missing the most obvious problem with both the Redskins and with Watson. Turnovers kill. (And a blocked FG is a turnover for this discussion). Watson may become a top 5 QB if you stops the turnovers. Otherwise he’s Jeff George. Good enough to lose a game. And kill a coach. As far as the Redskins … Cousins did enough to overcome the O Line but not enough to overcome the turnovers. The NFL is that simple. Win the turnover battle. Win the game.


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