Gameday Graphic for Game on 11/21/2010
NASHVILLE –After all that talk about the two-minute offense, it turned out to be the two-minute offenses that really mattered.
A couple of personal foul penalties and an illegal contact call against the Tennessee Titans offered the Redskins 35 yards of turf and an opportunity to win in overtime. They did not let it get away. Graham Gano kicked a 48-yard field goal with 6:43 elapsed in the extra session and and a battered and bruised Redskins team escaped LP Field Sunday with a 19-16 victory.
"Sooner or later we had to have a good game," coach Mike Shanahan as the Redskins ended a two-game losing streak and evened their record at 5-5. "We were able to survive."
They had a chance to win without going to the fifth quarter. Donovan McNabb, questioned for weeks about his skills in the two-minute offense, got the Redskins in position for the winning field goal on the last play of regulation. A low snap preceded a kick that fell short from 47 yards and there the Redskins were, well, working overtime.
Next order of business? Repairs. Get out the paste, the glue, the rubber cement, the duct tape. It's time to put the Redskins together.
What to do when you lose a running back before the game … for the second consecutive week? And another once it starts.
If this were hockey, you'd have thought the Redskins were killing a couple of penalties and skating two men short.
Asked after the game about the lengthy list of injuries, Shanahan simply said: "I can't remember all of them."
First, Chad Simpson hurt his foot during warmups. He'd have been the third running back, the Redskins having learned how risky it is to have only two. Then Clinton Portis, back after a five-week absence, reinjured his groin.
The Redskins began with their usual complement of seven offensive linemen but Derrick Dockery was active instead of the injured Artis Hicks. Will Montgomery started for Hicks but soon was at center for a hurt Casey Rabach and that precipitated more changes.
Dockery jumped in at left guard, Kory Lichtensteiger moved from left to right guard and this group, which has had so little continuity for so long, now sported even less. Then Dockey went down, Lichtensteiger went back to the left side and Stephon Heyer, the swing tackle, became the right guard.
Confused? We now check the emergency room for the defense.
Strong safety LaRono Landry and his aching Achilles tendon and cornerback Carlos Rogers (hamstring) didn't make the trip, stripping the secondary of half of its starters. Then linebacker Lorenzo Alexander hurt his hamstring on Marc Mariani's 87-yard punt return for a touchdown, even as rookie safety Anderson Russell tweaked a knee. Linebacker Rocky McIntosh banged up his thigh.
"I don't think I ever had that many guys go down and the team stay together and keep fighting and find a way to win," Shanahan said. "With injuries, you still have to find a way to win."
The question coming in was whether the Redskins could put the 59-28 beating by the Philadelphia Eagles behind them. Now the question is whether they can get health care.
Denuded as they were, they hung together. The pass protection for McNabb actually seemed better with the cobbled-together line on the field than it did with the starters. Losing Portis hurt but Keiland Williams continued to prove himself serviceable and the Redskins dominated most of the stats, even though the game was tied 10-10 at halftime. McNabb passed for 376 yards but couldn't get the team into the end zone except for the one scoring pass to Santana Moss.
The defense kept Chris Johnson contained and pressured Vince Young enough that the crowd began to boo him late in the second quarter. The Redskins might not have been whole but they seemed hale. They allowed the Titans one first down in the first quarter and five in the first half and the only touchdown came on the punt return.
When cornerback DeAngelo Hall hurt his back tackling Johnson on the opening possession of the third quarter, the Redskins found themselves lining up Phillip Buchanon and Byron Westbrook at the corners, Andre Carter and H.B. Blades at linebacker, Reed Doughty at safety and Jerry Mathers as The Beaver.
Hall, at least, returned quickly.
The resiliency makes for a nice story but there's still the bottom line. The Redskins won. Buried that Eagles' loss and did it on the road in a short week against a team that had defeated the three other NFC East teams already this season.
Yes, more scoring would help. An interception stopped one drive and Gano missed a 51-yard field goal on the final play before halftime. A drive to the Titans' 1-yard yielded, as it inevitably does, a 19-yard field goal.
That's the one that hurt. The Redskins converted a third down (yes, you read that right) and a first down at the Titans' 5-yard line. Williams carried twice and Mike Sellers once and even after a penalty against the Titans the Redskins still were a yard short of where the touchdowns are kept. So they kicked it, for a 10-7 lead.
Inside the red zone late in the third quarter, the Redskins again came away with a field goal, this one of 40 yards. First down from the 19, and Williams slips in the backfield, losing three. McNabb then threw incomplete to Joey Galloway. Then McNabb dropped the snap on third down, recovered and threw a quick pass to a split-out Cooley, who couldn't hold on.
Field goal. Tied at 13-13.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the injury plague had crossed the field and felled Young. The Titans, already minus Kerry Collins, plugged in untested rookie Rusty Smith, who threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss (remember him?) that was immediately erased by Moss' blatant offensive pass interference penalty. Young, coach Jeff Fisher said later, was done as the Titans' starter due to his angry and premature departure from the stadium.
At the end, this game seemed like old times, if a month ago can be called old times. A tight, low-scoring game sat there for the taking and neither team reached out and grabbed it. Johnson fired off a couple of runs that totaled 49 yards as the enfeebled Titans moved toward setting up the winning field goal in hiccups and burps but hiccups and burps weren't enough and the Titans ran out of gas and punted.
That set up the Redskins, who moved well enough in the two-minute drill to position a 47-yard field goal try that failed with the snap low and the kick short.
In overtime, the Titans melted down. They committed a penalty on an interception of McNabb that was overturned on an instant replay review, drew another for smacking McNabb in the head and another on a simple pass route. The Redskins really only had success on two plays in driving from their 13 to the Tennessee 30 – a 26-yard pass to Chris Cooley on the first snap and Gano's field goal at the end.
"We know all the character that we have and the guys just won't quit," said Williams.
Sometimes it's not about the skill. It's about the will.
The Redskins travel to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the Titans on Sunday, Nov. 21 at LP Field. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
LP Field is a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 69,143.
It's the Redskins' first regular season visit to LP Field since 2002. They played a 2007 preseason game at LP Field in 2007.
The Redskins are 0-2 vs. the AFC South this season. They lost to the Houston Texans 30-27 in overtime in Week 2 and the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 in Week 6.
The Titans are 3-0 against the NFC East this season. They defeated the New York Giants 29-10 in Week 3, the Dallas Cowboys 34-27 in Week 5 and the Philadelphia Eagles 37-19 in Week 7.
The Redskins are 2-2 in road games this season, while the Titans are 2-2 at LP Field.
The Redskins are coming off a 59-28 loss to the Eagles on Monday Night Football at FedExField. They are in third place in the NFC East.
The Titans are tied for second place in the AFC South, but have lost two consecutive games, both on the road. Last week they lost to the Miami Dolphins 29-17.
The Redskins-Titans game will be televised to a regional audience on FOX.
On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on the Redskins Radio Network. Larry Michael calls the play-by-play with former Redskins and Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff adding color commentary. Former Redskin Rick 'Doc' Walker reports from the sidelines.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
|WR||89 Santana Moss||85 Nate Washington|
|LT||71 Trent Williams||71 Michael Roos|
|LG||78 K. Lichtensteiger||64 Leroy Harris|
|C||61 Casey Rabach||54 Eugene Amano|
|RG||75 Artis Hicks||73 Jake Scott|
|RT||77 Jammal Brown||76 David Stewart|
|TE||47 Chris Cooley||80 Bo Scaife|
|WR||13 Anthony Armstrong||84 Randy Moss|
|QB||5 Donovan McNabb||10 Vince Young|
|FB||45 Mike Sellers||45 Ahmard Hall|
|RB||46 Ryan Torain||29 Chris Johnson|
|DE||94 Adam Carriker||93 Jason Babin|
|NT/DE||96 Ma'ake Kemoeatu||91 Jason Jones|
|DE/DT||64 Kedric Golston||97 Tony Brown|
|LB/DE||99 Andre Carter||98 David Ball|
|LB||59 London Fletcher||51 Gerald McRath|
|LB||52 Rocky McIntosh||55 Stephen Tulloch|
|LB||98 Brian Orakpo||92 Will Witherspoon|
|CB||23 DeAngelo Hall||20 Alterraun Verner|
|CB||22 Carlos Rogers||31 Cortland Finnegan|
|SS||30 LaRon Landry||24 Chris Hope|
|FS||41 Kareem Moore||33 Michael Griffin|
|P||17 Hunter Smith||6 Brett Kern|
|K||4 Graham Gano||2 Rob Bironas|
|H||17 Hunter Smith||6 Brett Kern|
|LS||57 Nick Sundberg||58 Ken Amato|
|KOR||29 Chad Simpson||83 Marc Mariani|
|PR||31 Phillip Buchanon||83 Marc Mariana|
The Redskins and Tennessee Titans franchise have played 10 games in the regular season, with Tennessee holding a 6-4 advantage in the series.
The Titans franchise originated in Houston as the Oilers, then relocated to Tennessee in 1997. The first meeting betweem the two clubs was Oct. 10, 1971, with the Redskins defeating the Oilers by a 22-13 score at RFK Stadium.
The two clubs last faced off on Oct. 16, 2006, at FedExField. Tennessee won that game 25-22 as quarterback Vince Young made his first NFL start. Kicker Rob Bironas nailed a 30-yard field goal to seal the win for the Titans.
The last time the Redskins played at LP Field in the regular season was on Oct. 6, 2002, with the Redskins claiming a 31-14 victory.
In that game, Washington's defense held Eddie George to just 26 rushing yards. Rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey made his NFL debut, replacing an injured Danny Wuerffel, and he engineered three scoring drives to lead the Redskins the victory.
The Redskins and Titans are 4-3 all-time preseason games. In their last preseason encounter, on Aug. 11, 2007, at LP Field the Redskins won 14-6.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|REDSKINS 2010 RANKINGS|
|TITANS 2010 RANKINGS|
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE TITANS
Practice squad defensive end Hall Davis spent one week with the Redskins in 2010 preseason.
REDSKINS-TITANS NEWS & NOTES
-- Big Al Goes Home
Albert Haynesworth returns to Nashville, Tenn., to play the Titans for the first time.
Haynesworth spent seven years with the Titans organization, earning two Pro Bowl berths in the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
He signed a lucrative contract with the Redskins in 2009.
Haynesworth also spent four years at the University of Tennessee. His year-round home is in Knoxville, Tenn., but he still maintains a condo in Nashville where the Titans play.
Haynesworth said he was looking forward to competing against the Titans.
"I just want to go out there and get a victory," he said. "Go there, play hard and show them that they're missing me."
Sunday's game will be the first time that Haynesworth returns to Nashville since his brother's death on Oct. 8.
Haynesworth left the Redskins to be with his family and he attended a memorial service for his brother three days after the tragedy.
"I think of my brother every day," he said. "It doesn't matter where I'm at. [The accident] only happened probably seven or eight miles away from the stadium. He's still close to me and he's still with me."
-- Shanahan vs. Fisher
Mike Shanahan and Titans head coach Jeff Fisher were part of the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff from 1992-94.
They both moved on to their first head coaching jobs a year later – Shanahan with Denver and Fisher with Tennessee.
They both are among the most accomplished coaches of the generation.
Shanahan has a record of 158-106 as a head coach, while Fisher has a 146-120 record.
With Shanahan departing Denver after the 2008 season and moving on to Washington in 2010, Fisher is the longest-tenured NFL head coach.
"Anytime you have a job for 17 years, you've done a lot of good things," Shanahan said of Fisher. "Jeff is a guy who has a good feel for things – offense, defense, special teams. He is a hands-on guy and he relates well with people.
"He has done a great job with all of the moves they've had and the transition to a new group of players. Not many guys can do that and hold it all together."
-- How the Redskins' 53-Man Roster Was Built
The Redskins have 15 players on the roster that the team drafted, including 2010 first-round pick Trent Williams and 2009 supplemental draft pick Jeremy Jarmon.
Mike Sellers is the longest-tenured Redskins. He had a stint with the Redskins in 1998-2000 and rejoined the team in 2004.
Washington has used unrestricted free agency to acquire 27 players, including Casey Rabach in 2005, Andre Carter in 2006, London Fletcher in 2007, DeAngelo Hall in 2008, Albert Haynesworth in 2009 and Ma'ake Kemoeatu in 2010.
Six Redskins players were acquired as undrafted rookie free agents. This group includes offensive linemen Stephon Heyer and cornerback Byron Westbrook, both local products.
The team has acquired six players via trade: Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, Adam Carriker, Jammal Brown and John Beck.
-- First-Year Redskins Head Coaches
Entering Sunday's game vs. Tennessee, Mike Shanahan is 4-5 in his first season as Redskins head coach.
Looking back at Redskins head coaches in their first season, five have gone on to have winning seasons (excluding Dick Todd, who was 5-4 in taking over three games into the 1951 season.)
Twelve first-year head coaches suffered losing campaigns, including Joe Gibbs's return in 2004. Additionally Herman Ball coached the final seven games in 1949 and finished 1-4, while Terry Robiskie finished 1-2 while coaching the last three games of 2000.
Eight first-year head coaches ended their seasons with a .500 record, including Jim Zorn in 2008.
-- Redskins' Strength of Schedule
The Redskins have the NFL's eighth toughest schedule in 2010, according to the NFL.
The Redskins' opponents this season produced a 134-122 record last year, a .523 winning percentage.
The Houston Texans (.547), Tennessee Titans (.547), Dallas Cowboys (.543), Cincinnati Bengals (.539), Jacksonville Jaguars (.535), New England Patriots (.531) and New York Giants (.527) have tougher schedules.
The Redskins play 11 games against teams who finished .500 or better in 2009. They play seven games against 2009 playoff opponents.
-- On the Road Again
The Redskins will travel 11,124 miles in 2010, the 25th most in the NFL. For the second year in a row, they have the shortest travel schedule in the NFC East.
The San Francisco 49ers travel 35,219 miles, most in the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals travel 6,688 miles, least in the NFL.
The total distance traveled by all NFL teams is 507,050 miles. This is 71,862 fewer miles than 2009, when teams traveled a total of 578,912 miles.
-- Shanahan's Moving Up
With the Redskins' Week 7 win over the Chicago Bears, Mike Shanahan recorded his 158th career win (regular season and postseason) as a head coach.
Shanahan's career record is 158-106. That win total is 16th best among all-time NFL head coaches.
He needs four wins to surpass Bill Cowher, who has a 161-99-1 career record.
-- What's Next?
The Redskins return to FedExField to host the Minnesota Vikings at FedExField. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
It's Minnesota's first visit to FedExField since the 2006 season opener, a Monday Night Football contest won by the Vikings 19-16.
The Redskins are 2-1 against the NFC North this season, with wins over Green Bay and Chicago and a loss to Detroit.