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Week 2: Texans 30, Redskins 27

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Gameday Graphic for Game on 9/19/2010

The Redskins made big plays but not small ones. Built a lead but failed to protect it. It would be unfair to say they folded in their 30-27 overtime loss on Sunday to the Houston Texans but they are definitely creased.

Outplayed at key junctures. Out-executed on the basics of kicking a field goal. Again treating the red zone like the dead zone.

Pick a moment in time and either a great play or a minor disaster defines it.

The Redskins, with a chance to start the season 2-0, trot off to St. Louis to play the winless Rams and become the NFL's darlings, watched a 17-point lead melt away and saw the Texans escape FedExField with their second consecutive victory.

"We left some points out there," Donovan McNabb said after passing for 426 yards and a touchdown.

What went wrong?

"Mistakes at the wrong time, miscues that came back to haunt us," he said.

They are too numerous to list. They'd make more of a full-length film than a highlight reel. They erased stunning bursts of brilliance, of sharpness and purpose that could only lead any observer to start dreaming of a return to consistent excellence.

Time for your wake-up call. Cue the mistakes. Cue the miscues. They'll be ringing in the Redskins' ears in the morning.

Let's jump to the fourth quarter. The Texans have already cut a 27-10 lead to 27-20 but the Redskins can undo some of that damage. They're sitting third and one at the Houston 5-yard line. They've mixed run and pass to get there. A 14-point lead with less than seven minutes to play would at least allow a margin of error.

Then right tackle Jammal Brown committed a false start. The Redskins backed up five yards. McNabb's pass for Santana Moss failed, so the Redskins lined up to kick a 29-yard field goal.

Well, some of them lined up to execute that play. At least one did not. The blocking on the left side broke down and Graham Gano's 29-yard gimme got batted down by Bernard Pollard.

"Obviously it was a big play," head coach Mike Shanahan said.

Obviously.

The Texans tied the game just before the two-minute warning, with Andre Johnson winning a jump ball from safety Reed Doughty in the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown.

A physical mismatch? Sure. Allowing it on a fourth down and 10? Even worse. The Redskins didn't blitz Matt Schaub on the play and almost played it the safest possible way though there is no safe way to neutralize Johnson.

"We weren't in a pressure defense. It was man (to man) underneath, two deep safeties. They made a play," linebacker London Fletcher said. "There's not a lot of people I consider great football players. He's one of them."

Even after the Redskins lost the coin toss in overtime, they stopped the Texans. Gary Kubiak, in a coaching maneuver he could have regretted, gave up the chance at a 52-yard field goal and punted after having reached the Redskins 34.

Following a delay of game penalty, punter Matt Turk parked his kick in the end zone, negating the whole 'pin them back' philosophy.

The Redskins got themselves in position to try a 52-yard field and Gano converted it ... but not before Kubiak called a time-out. The subsequent try sailed wide to the right. These are not happy signposts on the highway of life.

The signs became omens. The Texans failed to convert a third and nine but a penalty gave them an extra shot and they made it. Texans reserve tight end Joel Dreessen contributed his only catch of the day, for 28 yards, at the Redskins 18 to set in motion the end of the day.

Three plays later, the Texans did what the Redskins couldn't do (or did on two other occasions when they should have scored touchdowns) and kicked a field goal. Neil Rackers banged home a 35-yarder with 11:36 elapsed in overtime. End of story. What a story it might have been.

Ah, a 2-0 start, momentum, burgeoning confidence and a sense of how to put teams away, all of it floating away, wafting right out of the stadium, on a late summer evening breeze that sounded like the sighs of 88,240 fans.

"We were up the whole game and blew it at the end," safety LaRon Landry said.

That point could be argued. They just might not have been up by enough. The Redskins made four forays inside the Houston 20, scored a pair of touchdowns and a field goal.

The second field goal followed an interception by Carlos Rogers that he returned to the Houston 42. Even with that sort of field position, and after a 35-yard pass from McNabb to Cooley, the Redskins couldn't get in the end zone.

More points, more security.

A McNabb to Joey Galloway bomb that would have sealed the game in the fourth quarter just failed to connect … by not more than inches. The Texans tied it on the ensuing drive.

"Very frustrating," Galloway said. "We had our destiny in our hands and we didn't finish."

Despite the Rogers interception and five sacks by the Redskins, Schaub passed for 497 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson caught 12 passes for 158 yards and Kevin Walter snagged 11 for 144. The Redskins surrendered 526 total yards and 29 first downs.

Worse, rookie left tackle Trent Williams left late in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury. Shanahan said Williams would have an MRI and gave no further information but guard Artis Hicks seemed doubtful Williams would be available in the short term. The Redskins dressed only seven offensive linemen and used them all.

Just a week ago, against the Dallas Cowboys, they pulled a dagger from their hearts on the final play only to find no blood and no wound. A penalty nullified what could have been the winning touchdown and the Redskins prevailed.

Today, there's a deep cut. There's a loss where a win could be. There's a 1-1 record where 2-0 sat for the taking.

"That type of game is always tough to lose," Shanahan said. "You have some opportunities to put it away and you don't."

Instead, you get put away. And somehow you have to put it behind you.


PRE-GAME COVERAGE

The Redskins go for two wins in a row against the state of Texas on Sunday, Sept. 19 when they host the Houston Texans at FedExField. Kickoff is 4:15 p.m. ET.

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The Redskins-Texans game is presented by Ford.

FedExField is a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 91,704. Sunday's game will be the Redskins' 352nd consecutive home sellout, including playoff games.

The Redskins are coming off a 13-7 season-opening win over the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField.

The Texans defeated the Indianapolis Colts 34-24 in Week 1 at Reliant Stadium.

The game will be televised on CBS. Ian Eagle handles the play by play with color commentary by Dan Fouts.

On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on ESPN 980 and 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

OFFENSE
Pos. Redskins Texans
WR 89 Santana Moss 80 Andre Johnson
LT 72 Trent Williams 76 Duane Brown
LG 66 Derrick Dockery 74 Wade Smith
C 61 Casey Rabach 55 Chris Myers
RG 75 Artis Hicks 62 Antoine Caldwell
RT 69 Jammal Brown 73 Eric Winston
TE 47 Chris Cooley 81 Owen Daniels
WR 84 Joey Galloway 83 Kevin Walter
QB 5 Donovan McNabb 6 Matt Schaub
FB 45 Mike Sellers 44 Vonta Leach
RB 26 Clinton Portis 23 Arian Foster
DEFENSE
Pos. Redskins Texans
DE 94 Adam Carriker 94 Antonio Smith
NT/DE 96 Ma'ake Kemoeatu 91 Amobi Okoye
DE/DT 64 Kedric Golston 95 Shaun Cody
LB/DE 99 Andre Carter 90 Mario Williams
LB 59 London Fletcher 52 Xavier Adibi
LB 52 Rocky McIntosh 59 DeMeco Ryans
LB 98 Brian Orakpo 54 Zac Diles
LCB 23 DeAngelo Hall 29 Glover Quin
RCB 22 Carlos Rogers 25 Kareem Jackson
SS 30 LaRon Landry 31 Bernard Pollard
FS 37 Reed Doughty 26 Eugene Wilson
SPECIAL TEAMS
Pos. Redskins Texans
P 6 Josh Bidwell 1 Matt Turk
K 4 Graham Gano 4 Neil Rackers
H 6 Josh Bidwell 1 Matt Turk
LS 57 Nick Sundberg 46 Jon Weeks
KOR 11 Devin Thomas 12 Jacoby Jones
PR 31 Phillip Buchanon 12 Jacoby Jones


SERIES HISTORY

Sunday's Redskins-Houston Texans matchup is the third time that the two teams have played since the Texans entered the NFL in 2002.

The Redskins lead the series 2-0.

The last time the Redskins and Texans played was on Sept. 24, 2006 at Reliant Stadium. The Redskins won 31-15 as running back Clinton Portis rushes for 85 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 78 yards.

Quarterback Mark Brunell set an NFL record when he completed 22 consecutive passes in a single game.

The last time the Redskins and Texans played at FedExField was on Dec. 22, 2002. The Redskins' two young running backs Kenny Watson and Ladell Betts each ran for more than 100 yards in carrying the Redskins to a convincing 26-10 win.

Rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey led the Redskins on three touchdown drives and finished 14-of-32 for 190 yards and two TD passes. It marked Ramsey's first win as a starter. On defense, Bruce Smith had two sacks and Daryl Gardener added a third.


TALE OF THE TAPE

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REDSKINS 2010 RANKINGS
Offense Rank Yards/Game
Total Offense 24 250.0
Rushing Offense 17 89.0
Passing Offense 22 161.0
Defense Rank Yards/Game
Total Defense 25 380.0
Rushing Defense 15 103.0
Passing Defense 25 277.0

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TEXANS 2010 RANKINGS
Offense Rank Yards/Game
Total Offense 9 355.0
Rushing Offense 1 257.0
Passing Offense 28 98.0
Defense Rank Yards/Game
Total Defense 27


FAMILIAR FACES ON THE TEXANS

Senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes served as defensive coordinator for the Redskins in 2000.

Strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith played fullback for the Redskins from 1994-95.

Assistant strength and conditioning coach Matt Schiotz had a stint with the Redskins in 2001.

Punter Matt Turk played for the Redskins from 1995-99 and averaged 43.6 yards per kick in five seasons. He earned Pro Bowl nods from 1997-99.

Director of equipment services Jay Brunetti spent 26 years in Washington (1974-2000) serving in the same capacity.

Assistant director of college scouting Mike Maccagnanwas a scout with the Redskins from 1994-99.


REDSKINS-TEXANS NEWS & NOTES

-- 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 will 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 16 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 26 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.

Nine Redskins players were acquired as undrafted rookie free agents. This group includes offensive linemen Stephon Heyer and cornerback Byron Westbrook, all local products.

The team has acquired six players via trade: Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, Adam Carriker, Jammal Brown and John Beck.

-- Coaching Counterparts

Coaches on the Redskins and Texans have a history together.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was a quarterback for the Denver Broncos when Mike Shanahan served as the team's offensive coordinator from 1985-87. After taking the Broncos' head coaching position in 1995, Shanahan hired Kubiak as his offensive coordinator.

Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was a member of Shanahan's Denver coaching staff throughout his entire tenure with the Broncos.

Texans defensive coordinator Frank Bush was also a member of Shanahan's staff from 1995-2005.

Defensive backs coach David Gibbs and tight ends coach Brian Pariani also spent time coaching under Shanahan, and alongside current Redskins defensive line coach Jacob Burney, defensive backs coach Bob Slowik and assistant head coach-running backs Bobby Turner in Denver.

-- First-Year Redskins Head Coaches

Entering Sunday's game vs. Houston, Mike Shanahan is 1-0 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.

Heading into the Texans game, Shanahan could join Dutch Bergman, George Allen and Jack Pardee as the only Redskins head coaches to begin their careers with wins in their first two games.

-- Rushing Leaders

In Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson, who each have two Pro Bowl selections to their credit, the Redskins have two of the top seven active rushing leaders in the NFL.

Portis has 9,759 career rushing yards to rank third and Johnson has 6,228 career rushing yards to rank seventh.

LaDainian Tomlinson of the New York Jets leads with 12,552 career rushing yards.

Portis and Johnson have combined for 15,987 rushing yards and 128 touchdowns in their careers.

Portis has a chance to stake a claim as the greatest Redskins running back this season. He has 6,660 career yards in a Redskins uniform, trailing only Hall of Famer John Riggins, who has 7,472 career yards.

-- Septembers to Remember

In the last decade, the Redskins have posted a 16-18 record in the month of September.

That mark does not crack the top 15 opening-month records among NFL teams.

New Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, however, was a remarkable 21-10 in September games as head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2000-08. (Shanahan did not coach in 2009.)

The Indianapolis Colts were a league-best 26-6 in Septembers from 2000-09.

The New York Giants led the NFC with a 22-11 mark in September games during that same span.

-- Redskins' Strenth 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 last year. They play seven games against 2009 playoff opponents.

-- Orakpo a Houston Native

Brian Orakpo grew up in Houston and from 2001-04 he was a standout football player at Lamar High School in the city.

Lamar's team name? The "Redskins."

Said Orakpo: "My high school coach told me, 'Once you're a Redskin, you're always a Redskin.'"

Orakpo grew up a Houston Oilers fan and then rooted for the Texans when they arrived in 2002.

Until the Redskins drafted him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, that is.

-- London Calling

London Fletcher has posted 152 consecutive starts, a figure which ranks fourth among active players. (Brett Favre is at 286, Peyton Manning is at 193 and Ronde Barber is at 168.)

Fletcher has not missed a game since entering the league as an undrafted rookie free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 1998.

His 193 consective games streak is tied for second among active players behind Minnesota's Brett Favre.

Since joining the Redskins in 2007, Fletcher has led the team in tackles each of his three seasons with the club. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection following the 2009 season.

-- Cooley Coming On

Chris Cooley could emerge as the greatest Redskins tight end in franchise history this year.

Cooley has posted 349 receptions for 3,869 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Among tight ends, he ranks second all-time in all three categories in franchise history behind Jerry Smith, whose 13-year career is twice that of Cooley. Smith logged 421 career receptions for 5,496 yards and 60 touchdowns.

Cooley already holds the Redskins record for most receptions by a tight end in a single season with 83 in 2008.

-- Shanahan's Moving Up

With the Redskins' Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Mike Shanahan recorded his 155th career win (regular season and postseason) as a head coach.

Shanahan's career record is 155-103. That win total is 16th best among all-time NFL head coaches.

He needs six wins to surpass Bill Cowher, who has a 166-99-1 record.

-- What's Next?

The Redskins' first road trip of the 2010 season is to St. Louis where they take on the Rams on Sunday, Sept. 26. Kickoff is 4:05 p.m. ET.

It's the Redskins' first trip to St. Louis since 2006, when they lost to the Rams 37-31 in overtime.

The Redskins and Rams have played each of the last two years, splitting both contests at FedExField.

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