Gameday Graphic for Game on 11/28/2010
Late afternoon. The game long over. Trucks and tractors groom the grass and there's not a cup or napkin to be seen.
Yet there are points out there, points all over FedExField, points the Redskins left out there in their 17-13 loss Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings.
What began with promise ended in a paucity of production and points. The Redskins scored a touchdown on the game's opening drive and never did it again.
They wasted big plays. They squandered opportunities. They committed a few mindless penalties and one that wiped out a touchdown.
"We tried," receiver Santana Moss said. "I guess we didn't try hard enough."
Guess he didn't read Bill Parcells' book – No Medals For Trying.
A pass that caromed off Moss' hands turned into an interception by Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson at the Redskins 9-yard line late in the third quarter and that set up a field goal for a 17-7 lead. It proved more treacherous than the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Not as high, but somehow just as steep and unconquerable.
Neither the Redskins (5-6) nor Vikings (4-7) ever reached the peaks of their first drives again. The Redskins went 83 yards on 13 plays and the Vikings answered by covering 71 yards in seven plays. Then the game settled into an arrhythmic exchange of punts and offensive misfires.
The winners, in their first game under interim coach Leslie Frazier, punted seven times and totaled 299 yards, playing most of the final three quarters without injured running back Adrian Peterson. The Redskins punted six times and ran the ball so poorly that ultimately they gave up on it entirely.
Still, the opportunities were there. Not by the case lot, not even as a six-pack. All the Redskins needed were a precious few but they did nothing with them.
"When you get field position, you need to score touchdowns," tight end Chris Cooley said.
Look at Brandon Banks. He carted a punt 65 yards, bolting from the Redskins 7 to the Vikings 28. There's the spark but the kindling was all wet. Donovan McNabb absorbed an eight-yard sack on the first play, nothing else worked and Graham Gano kicked a 40-yard field goal.
Next possession? A 45-yard completion from McNabb to Anthony Armstrong, who have mastered the art of making big plays that don't result in touchdowns. This underthrow – Armstrong said it got held up in the wind (the official game stats listed the wind at five miles per hour) – moved the Redskins to the Minnesota 24 but they gained only one more yard on their next three snaps. Gano kicked a 42-yard field goal to make it 17-13.
This is doing it the hard way. The long way. The wrong way.
"You either get it done or you don't," a tight-lipped Shanahan said.
The Redskins defense forced another punt and Banks again provided a spark. Again, a teammate hosed it down. Banks returned this kick 77 yards for a touchdown but rookie linebacker Perry Riley's illegal block in the back penalty erased the go-ahead score.
"The guy just keeps making big play after big play and then you see that yellow flag and you're sick," center Casey Rabach said.
That was the last gasp. The final failure. The Redskins punted the ball back to the Vikings with 6:13 on the clock and never saw it again. A 10-yard run by 41-year-old quarterback Brett Favre to convert a third down saw to that.
"We're thinking run, they want to run down the clock and kick a field goal," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "They go play-action. As a defender, you have to play the percentages. You rarely see Brett Favre running the ball."
Asked if that play brought back memories, Favre smiled and said, "Distant."
Yet this little dash was one to remember. It prevented the Redskins from getting a chance at their occasional late-game heroics and a way to salvage this clanking affair.
"(Minnesota) did a good job controlling the clock, especially at the end," Shanahan said.
Indeed. The Redskins had the ball for 3:50 of the final quarter and nine minutes of the second half. Their opening drive alone consumed 7:53. Thereafter they had only one possession that lasted more than three minutes and eight that consumed 2:16 or less.
The running game, with Clinton Portis (abdomen, injured reserve) and Ryan Torain (hamstring) missing, collapsed upon itself. The 29 yards gained marked the second lowest total this season (and that's hard to believe) behind the 18 in the loss to the Houston Texans.
Throw out punts and field goal tries and the Redskins passed on their last 15 snaps, never even attempting a run. Neither Keiland Williams nor the newly-activated James Davis found seams to hit. The Redskins did not have a run longer than four yards.
The lack of balance put added pressure on McNabb, who was sacked four times. He was eight-of-eight for 83 yards and a touchdown on the first drive, 21 of 35 for 211 on the day. Throw out the initial series and what's left is 13 of 27 for 128 yards.
This is what the Redskins have become and what they are. They're good enough to hang around in games, bad enough to let other teams hang around in games, good enough to win some of those and not good enough to win the others.
One touchdown. Just like last week, in the 19-16 overtime win against the Tennessee Titans. No rushing touchdowns in back to back weeks. McNabb with one multi-touchdown passing game this season.
"Today we were off," Shanahan said. "I mean, we just threw for just over 200 yards and we had a nice first drive. We were pretty inconsistent against a defense that was fairly good. They played a lot more consistently than we did and they deserve to win."
There's never been a rule about the more deserving team winning. The opportunistic team, the one that sees its chances and builds on them, that team wins. That team, on this day, was not the Redskins.
The Redskins host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Nov. 27 at FedExField. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
FedExField is a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 91,704.
The Vikings made news this week when they fired head coach Brad Childress and replaced him with Leslie Frazier, the team's assistant head coach-defensive coordinator. Childress's first game as head coach of Minnesota was against the Redskins on Sept. 11, 2006 -- the Vikings won 19-16 in the regular season opener on Monday Night Football at FedExField. Childress won't get a second opportunity to lead the Vikings at FedExField.
This season, e Redskins are 2-3 in home games, while the Vikings are 0-5 on the road.
The Redskins are 2-1 against the NFC North this season. They defeated the Green Bay Packers 16-13 in Week 5 and the Chicago Bears 17-14 in Week 7 and lost to the Detroit Lions 37-25 in Week 8.
The Redskins, in third place in the NFC East, are coming off a 19-16 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville last Sunday. The Vikings lost to the Green Bay Packers 31-3 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
The Redskins-Eagles game will be televised on FOX. Dick Stockton calls the play-by-play with color commentary by Charles Davis and Jim Mora. Charissa Thompson reports from the sidelines.
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||12 Percy Harvin|
|LT||71 Trent Williams||74 Bryant McKinnie|
|LG||78 K. Lichtensteiger||76 Steve Hutchinson|
|C||63 Will Montgomery||65 John Sullivan|
|RG||75 Artis Hicks||64 Anthony Herrera|
|RT||77 Jammal Brown||71 Phil Loadholt|
|TE||47 Chris Cooley||81 Visanthe Shiancoe|
|WR||13 Anthony Armstrong||87 Bernard Berrian|
|QB||5 Donovan McNabb||4 Brett Favre|
|FB||45 Mike Sellers||38 Naufahu Tahi|
|RB||35 Keiland Williams||28 Adrian Peterson|
|DE||94 Adam Carriker||91 Ray Edwards|
|NT/DE||96 Ma'ake Kemoeatu||94 Pat Williams|
|DE/DT||64 Kedric Golston||93 Kevin Williams|
|LB/DE||99 Andre Carter||69 Jared Allen|
|LB||59 London Fletcher||52 Chad Greenway|
|LB||52 Rocky McIntosh||56 E.J. Henderson|
|LB||98 Brian Orakpo||51 Ben Leber|
|CB||23 DeAngelo Hall||26 Antoine Winfield|
|CB||22 Carlos Rogers||21 Asher Allen|
|SS||30 LaRon Landry||20 Madieu Williams|
|FS||41 Kareem Moore||39 Husain Abdullah|
|P||17 Hunter Smith||5 Chris Kluwe|
|K||4 Graham Gano||8 Ryan Longwell|
|H||17 Hunter Smith||5 Chris Kluwe|
|LS||57 Nick Sundberg||56 Cullen Loeffler|
|KOR||16 Brandon Banks||12 Percy Harvin|
|PR||16 Brandon Banks||85 Greg Camarillo|
The Redskins and Vikings meet for the 20th time in the history of the two franchises. The Redskins hold the series lead with a regular-season record of 8-6 and a postseason record of 3-2.
Coming into Sunday's game, the Redskins have won eight of the last 11 meetings against the Vikings, including two playoff wins.
The last time the two teams met was on Dec. 23, 2007, with the Redskins winning 32-21 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Quarterback Todd Collins, replacing injured starter Jason Campbell, had a banner day, completing 22-of-29 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, a 33-yarder to tight end Chris Cooley and a 32-yarder to wide receiver Santana Moss.
Running back Clinton Portis churned out 76 rushing yards and tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antwaan Randle El on the halfback option.
The last time the two teams met at FedExField was the 2006 regular season opener, a nationally televised Monday night matchup.
The Vikings won 19-16 after John Hall's last-second 48-yard field goal sailed wide left.
Mark Brunell was 17-of-28 for 163 yards and Randle El led the offense in receptions with five catches for 34 yards. Clinton Portis, returning from a shoulder injury, had 39 rushing yards on 10 carries, plus a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
The Redskins and Vikings also met on Jan. 2, 2005, in the culmination of the 2004 regular season. The Redskins defeated the Vikings 21-18 at FedExField, as Ladell Betts ran for 118 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries.
Washington and Minnesota last met in the postseason in 1992, when the Redskins won 24-7 in the Wild Card round.
In 1987, the two teams met in the NFC Championship, with the Redskins prevailing 17-10. Darrell Green made a key stop on the game's last play, knocking away a pass to Vikings wide receiver Anthony Carter, to secure the Redskins a berth in Super Bowl XXII.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|REDSKINS 2010 RANKINGS|
|VIKINGS 2010 RANKINGS|
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE VIKINGS
Tight ends coach Jimmie Johnson played for the Redskins from 1989-91 and was a contributing member of the 1991 Super Bowl championship team coached by Joe Gibbs.
REDSKINS-VIKINGS NEWS & NOTES
-- Favre vs. Redskins
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is playing in just his sixth regular season game against the Redskins and only his third in Washington.
As a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons, Favre threw his first NFL pass on Nov. 10, 1991 in a game against the Redskins. He came into the game in mop-up duty and finished that game 0-for-4 with two interceptions in a 56-17 loss to the Redskins.
Favre has won all four of his career starts against the Redskins, all as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
The three-time NFL Most Valuable Player is 70-of-118 for 802 yards, four touchdowns and eight interceptions against the Redskins. His QB rating is 62.9.
Favre also played against the Redskins in a 2008 preseason game as a member of the New York Jets. He played just one season with the Jets before moving on to the Vikings in 2009.
The last time Favre played the Redskins in the regular season was on Oct. 10, 2007 at Lambeau Field. He was 19-of-37 for 188 yards, with two of his passes picked off by the late Sean Taylor.
The last time Favre played at FedExField was on Oct. 31, 2004. He was 20-of-32 for 236 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Shawn Springs had two picks and Fred Smoot had the other.
McNabb vs. Favre
Heading into Sunday's Redskins-Vikings game, quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre have faced off six times in their respective careers – all when McNabb was a Philadelphia Eagle and Favre was a Green Bay Packer.
McNabb posted a 4-2 record against the Packers when Favre was the quarterback.
Overall, McNabb has completed 114-of-207 passes for 1,500 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions against Favre's Packers.
McNabb led the Eagles to a 20-17 win over Favre and the Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs on Jan. 11, 2004. That was the famous 4th-and-26 game, in which McNabb converted a 4th-and-26 pass to wide receiver Freddie Mitchell with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter.
On Dec. 5, 2004, McNabb had a career game against Favre's Packers, completing 32-of-43 passes for 464 yards and five touchdowns in a 47-17 Eagles win.
Favre has had less success competing against McNabb's Eagles. In six games, Favre completed 106-of-198 passes for 1,020 yards, three touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
-- Hicks On Favre
Redskins guard Artis Hicks knows a thing or two about franchise quarterbacks. He has played with two in his 9-year NFL career.
Hicks played in Minnesota the last four years before joining the Redskins as a unrestricted free agent in March 2010.
Asked to compare Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb, Hicks said: "They both are commanding figures in the huddle, they both demand a lot out of you and they both demand perfection."
Hicks began his career with the Vikings as a starter, but he was a backup in 2009.
It's one of the reasons why he opted to leave Minnesota.
"Any time you've been on the field and you get a taste of it, that's where you want to be," he said. "After you've tasted that life, you don't want to go back to anything else."
-- All About Frazier
On Monday, Nov. 22, the Vikings fired head coach Brad Childress and replaced him with Leslie Frazier, who was serving as the club's defensive coordinator.
Frazier, a 12-year NFL coaching veteran, takes over a talented Vikings club that has posted a 3-7 record after making it to the NFC Championship game a year ago.
Frazier has long been regarded as a head coaching candidate, but he did not receive an opportunity until now.
In Minnesota, Frazier's defenses have consistently been among the best in the NFL. In 2008 and 2009, the unit finished sixth in the league both years. Last year the Vikings led the NFL with 48 sacks.
As a player, Frazier was a defensive back with the Chicago Bears from 1981-86 and was part of the famed '46' defense that helped lead the Bears to a Super Bowl XX win over the New England Patriots following the 1985 season.
His career was cut short by a severe knee injury suffered in the Super Bowl.
-- A New And Improved FedExField
The Redskins have announced new improvements to FedExField for the 2010 season.
Among the improvements to the facility include the installation of new HD video boards, a complete replacement of the stadium's video control room, a new text message traffic alert system, installation of the locker of the late Sean Taylor for viewing on the club level, and club level party decks.
"Everything we are doing is focused on continuing to improve the gameday experience for fans at FedExField," Redskins chief 0perating officer David P. Donovan said. "We believe fans will really feel the impact of these improvements."
The HD video boards are accompanied by eight new digital ribbon boards to provide fans with out-of-town scores, statistics and more, all monitored and operated from a state-of-the-art control room located on the Owner's Club Level.
The improvements allow for simultaneous multi-angle game highlights and replays, game graphics and other high definition content.
"When the stadium was first built, high definition didn't exist at the time in this capacity," Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder said. "So we said, 'Hey, this is a real opportunity,' so we upgraded it...It's important that we keep up with the quality of entertainment. This is really state of the art."
-- Traffic Alerts Via Text Messaging
For the 2010 season, the Redskins are providing traffic alerts via text message, giving fans access to regular updates on the best routes to use to get to FedExField on gameday.
The service provides information on gameday bottlenecks to avoid up until kickoff, as well as announcements on any post-game traffic issues that arise to help fans get to and from the stadium for every home game.
Redskins staff monitor traffic on the Beltway, Landover Road, Arena Drive and Central Avenue to provide up-to-the-minute updates. Fans can opt-in to these alerts by completing the signup form at www.redskins.com/trafficalerts.
The Redskins also have updated route guidance to the stadium to give fans alternatives to Beltway exits 15, 16 and 17, including turn-by-turn guidance so fans from Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia can enter the stadium grounds from the west on either Landover Road or Central Avenue. This information and more can be found online at www.redskins.com/parking.
-- 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.
-- Redskins vs. Peterson
The Redskins have faced off against dynamic Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson just once before.
In a 32-21 win over the Vikings on Dec. 23, 2007, the defense limited Peterson to just 27 yards on nine carries.
At halftime of the game, Peterson had just five yards on four carries and was basically a non-factor. The Redskins were ahead 22-0 and the defense had effectively taken him out of the game.
Peterson wasn't able to break off a significant run until early in the third quarter when he picked up 18 yards on a carry.
Later in the same drive, the Redskins shut down Peterson again, this time stopping him on a 4th-and-1 run up the middle. London Fletcher and LaRon Landry combined on the key tackle.
-- First-Year Redskins Head Coaches
Entering Sunday's game vs. Philadelphia, Mike Shanahan is 5-5 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.
-- Shanahan's Moving Up
With the Redskins' Week 11 win over the Tennessee Titans, Mike Shanahan recorded his 159th career win (regular season and postseason) as a head coach.
Shanahan's career record is 159-106. That win total is 16th best among all-time NFL head coaches.
He needs three wins to surpass Bill Cowher, who has a 161-99-1 career record.
-- Take It Away
The Redskins' defense has forced 21 turnovers this season, tied for sixth-best in the NFL.
Their 21 turnovers are more than the defense forced each of the last two seasons (17 in 2009, 18 in 2008).
The defense is on pace for 33 takeaways this season.
-- Rabach's Mentor
Minnesota offensive line coach Jim Hueber worked closely with Redskins center Casey Rabach from 1997-2000 as the offensive line coach at the University of Wisconsin.
Hueber helped guide Rabach to an All-American selection in 2000 and All-Big 10 conference selections after the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
Vikings head coach Brad Childress was also on the Wisconsin staff at the time Rabach attended the university.
-- Maryland Connections
Minnesota has two former Maryland Terrapins on its roster: Linebacker E.J. Henderson and tight end Jeff Dugan
Henderson and Dugan are the only former Terrapins to be drafted by the Vikings in the history of the franchise.
Henderson's brother Erin, who also played at Maryland, is a backup linebacker on the Vikings.
-- What's Next?
The Redskins return to NFC East play when they travel to North Jersey to take on the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
It's the Redskins' first regular season visit to New Meadowlands Stadium, which opened this year. They played the New York Jets in preseason at the facility.
The Redskins are 2-1 in the NFC East. They have lost four consecutive games to the Giants.