November 22, 2011
Even though the Skins extended their losing streak to six on Sunday, they should still be proud of the way they played. In a game most expected to be a blowout, the Skins held their own. This was despite the fact that the Redskins had lost their last five games, while the Cowboys had won their last two. It was one of their best offensive outings of the season and almost put an end to their longest losing streak under current owner Dan Snyder. (The team had an 0-7 start in 1998, one year before Snyder took over).
The game was highlighted by a 55-yard punt return by Brandon Banks, and a solid performance by Rex Grossman. This was Grossman’s second start since reclaiming the starting QB job from John Beck. Grossman completed 25 of 38 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns, including the final second four-yard touchdown pass to Donte Stallworth to tie the game and force overtime.
The Skins appeared to have swung the game in their favor when they won the overtime toss and got the ball first. Unfortunately, they were stalled at Dallas’ 34-yard line. Unable to get a first down, Mike Shanhanan made the call that (should) still have Skins fans fuming: a long field goal.
A 52-yard make or break field goal attempt is understandable if you have an expert veteran kicker like Adam Vinatieri (Colts) or a young accurate one like Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots), but the Skins don’t. They have Graham “Uh-oh” Gano. Why would you put the fate of the game into the hands of a kicker who had just missed a 49-yarder in the third quarter? According to reports, Shanahan never even considered punting rather than attempting a field goal. Whether that shows confidence in Gano or arrogance on his part is up for debate.
Gano, of course, missed the field goal and the Skins turned the ball over to the Cowboys with an excellent field position. Romo then led them 37-yards downfield and Dan Bailey railed the field goal to win the game and put the Cowboys in a tie for first place with the New York Giants. The Skins, meanwhile, fall to 3-7, their worst record in several seasons and the worst losing streak of coach Shanahan’s career.
It was a disheartening game for the Redskins (and Skins fans), not because they didn’t play well. They played their hearts out and still lost.
After a perfect 7-0 start to the season, the momentum of the Capitals has slowed. While it’s too early to say if the Capitals will have a “Redskins-esque” meltdown, it’s safe to say they are far from perfect. They have a 4-5-1 record in their last 10 games and had lost four in a row before nabbing a 4-3 comeback win over the Phoenix Coyotes at home on Monday night. With the win, the Caps snapped a four game losing streak and silenced rumors that Bruce Boudreau was on the chopping block – for now.
While their 11-7 overall record still has them in second place in the Southeast Division, it’s a far cry from the commanding lead and power they showed in the first few games this year. With two more home games scheduled before heading north, the Capitals have a chance to improve their record and build their confidence before facing the Buffalo Sabres this weekend.