Running Out of Ways to Lose: a Redskins Season Retrospective

By Michael Nerantzis and Jack Minchew

Remember the first Cowboys game? Remember how promising the season was? Now, with the season of turmoil over, the Redskin’s bucket of excuses must be almost empty. Let’s look back at the season that looked so good.
January 10th, 2010: The Redskins hire Mike Shanahan, an expected move ending the abysmal Jim Zorn era. The move brought promise and hope to Redskins faithful, who were desperate for a rebirth of (good) football in D.C. Shanahan, a 2 time super bowl veteran, had quite a resume to compliment the new GM, Bruce Allen, who replaced the hated Vinny “the lapdog” Cerrato (as coined by Mike Wise of the Washington Post).
April 4th, 2010: the Redskins trade for a proven leader, and a super bowl veteran quarterback in Donavan McNabb. Despite the fact that the Redskins have received multiple kicks to the pants by him and his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, the fans embraced him as the new quarterback
June 18th, 2010: Albert Haynesworth decides he doesn’t like the new defensive scheme, and skips training camp. He later demands a trade, but is denied by Coach Shanahan. So begins “the Haynesworth saga”. Eventually he decides to man up and comes to training camp, except he fails a basic conditioning test. He goes on to fail the test 2 more times before finally being able to play.
Season opener, September 12th, 2010: The season starts with a win at home on primetime Sunday Night Football against the overrated and hated Cowboys. Although the Redskins only won because the Cowboys committed a costly holding penalty, causing their touchdown to be called back, it was still something to cheer about.
Weeks 2-4. The “Skins” lose two back to back games. One to the also overrated Houston Texans, after a signature Redskins meltdown in the 4th quarter, the other to the up and coming St. Louis Rams, led by rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. In week 4, the Redskins break even with a stunning win over division rival and Donavan McNabb’s former team, Philadelphia. During the game, Kareem Moore and DeAngleo Hall crunch Michael Vick’s ribs at the end of the 1st quarter, putting the MVP prospect out for two weeks.
Weeks 5-8: In week 5, Redskin’s fan’s spirits soared with a dramatic overtime victory of the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. The Redskins, out of character, made a 4th quarter comeback mostly thank to a 48 yd touchdown pass from Donavan McNabb to Anthony Armstrong, a young wide receiver whose talents have emerged this season. In Week 6 the Redskins lose to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Despite a strong showing by hard runner Ryan Torain and the rest of the offense, the “Skins” are robbed of their fourth victory by a questionable referee’s decision in the fourth quarter. Laron Landry recovered a fumble at the Colt’s thirty yard line, but the referee called the play dead, thinking that the runner was down before he fumbled. After a Redskins challenge, the play was overruled, but the Redskins were still deprived of the easy Landry touchdown that might have otherwise happened. The next week, the Redskins earn another victory against the Chicago Bears due to DeAngelo Hall’s record tying four interceptions. In week 8, the season went into free-fall, with the benching of quarterback Donavan McNabb. In other news, the Redskins lose to the notoriously bad Detroit Lions thanks to a terrible block in the back which cost the Redskins a touchdown.
Weeks 9-13: The Redskins continue the tradition unlike any other and lose spectacularly to division rival Philadelphia, 59-28. With this loss, the Redskins clinch the title of laughingstock of the NFL, edging out the Carolina Panthers in a nail biter. Michael Vick passed for four touchdowns and ran for two more in only three quarters. In week 10 the Redskins manage to get a win, but it wasn’t pretty, only winning 19-16 in overtime on a rare Graham Gano clutch kick. The next week, a loss to the other candidate for joke of the league, the Minnesota Vikings, ended any playoff hopes we might have had. An abysmal loss to the New York Giants followed, and then to the Buccaneers. Before the game, the Redskins suspended Albert Haynesworth for the rest of the season. After the Redskins drove down the field and scored a surprising touchdown, Hunter Smith mishandled the snap to the extra point that would have sent it into overtime.
Weeks 14-17: During the week before the Cowboys game, Donavan McNabb (who had just been given a huge contract) was benched indefinitely, and replaced by Rex Grossman. The Redskins got off to a slow start in the first half, but showed up in the second half scoring 23 points. The Cowboys then took the lead with a field goal and never looked back, winning 33-30. The next week, the Redskins played the playoff hungry Jacksonville Jaguars. The Redskins were the better team this time getting the fast start leading 10-0 but the Jaguars made it close and sent it into overtime. Thanks to a Kevin Barnes interception, the Redskins got into field goal range and won. In the season finale of the Great Redskins Soap Opera, the redskins were turnover prone against the Giants with three turnovers inside the Giants’ 30 yard line. A humiliating end to a humiliating season.
The Redskins season was filled with misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which leaves us in a worse situation than we were at the beginning. Us Redskins faithful are left thinking to ourselves what we have been for the last two decades, “There’s always next year.