After five weeks of the 2005 NFL season, only the Indianapolis Colts at 5-0 are undefeated. The Redskins fell from the ranks of the unbeaten in the mud and the rain of Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High, 21-19.
Said Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs: "It was a matter of making a bunch of plays on offense but not scoring enough points."
Although the Redskins dominated in first downs 28-11 and in total net yards 447-257, they produced just the 19 points. That's a relatively paltry point total, given the Redskins' statistical edges.
Further, Washington's defense couldn't stop Tatum Bell (12 carries, 127 yards, two TDs) when it counted most and Bell broke the 100-yard mark, the first opposing back to do since Jerome Bettis (31 carries, 100 yards, one TD) last Nov. 28 at Pittsburgh in a game the Steelers won 16-7.
Among the positives, though, to come out of the Week 5 trip to Denver was the spectacular fourth-quarter punt block of Chris Clemons.
"We got that punt blocked, and it really kept us going," Gibbs said Monday.
With 8:34 left in the game, Clemons broke through a gap in the Broncos' punt protection scheme and batted down Todd Sauerbrun's effort. Four plays later, Nick Novak connected on a 36-yard field goal and the Redskins were within 21-13.
The point about Clemons, whose brother Nic is a Redskins defensive lineman, is that he's shown an ability to come up with big plays in limited minutes.
A year ago, Clemons, a 6-3, 234-pound linebacker out of Georgia, was signed a matter of hours prior to the game at Pittsburgh. In his second NFL snap, he sacked the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger.
Clemons got into six games in 2004, sacking Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb and the Cowboys' Vinny Testaverde as well. The speedy linebacker was with the Redskins until the 2004 preseason, then did a stint on the Cleveland Browns' practice squad before re-signing with Washington on Nov. 24.
Down the stretch, he made the most of his opportunities, finishing with three sacks, nine tackles and a forced fumble.
He has caused Redskins assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams to say: "Chris is a guy who came back to us, and we knew exactly what we were getting."
In general, the special teams units of coach Danny Smith played well at Denver. Those players will need another solid effort on Week 6 at Kansas City, of course, given the exceptionally dangerous return capabilities of diminutive Dante Hall, the Chiefs' multi-purpose star.