Best and worst moments from Washington’s 38-31 loss against Cincinnati at FedEx Field.
Worst Streak: The Redskins have now lost seven straight games at home; ESPN’s Trey Wingo reported that it’s the longest active home losing streak in the NFL.
Worst Stat: The Redskins are now 4-13 at FedEx Field under Coach Mike Shanahan. There probably isn’t a more depressing stat from Shanahan’s tenure than that one.
Worst Secondary: You get two guesses. Starts with “W.” (All three quarterbacks the Redskins have faced this season have gone over 300 yards passing. That ain’t good.)
Worst Control of the Game: The last 10 or so minutes of real time in Sunday’s game was pure chaos. Unsatisfying, frustrating, abysmally confusing chaos. There was an announced clock run-off with no time taken off the clock, at least on CBS’s broadcast. There was a random unsportsmanlike call without any indication of which player was guilty. The benches came onto the field, the benches went off the field. Yuck. Amazing that such a high-profile and high-money business could be run like this.
Worst Timeouts: No matter what wound up happening at the end of this game, you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever want to use two timeouts in the third quarter of a close contest. Never. Ever. This time, it was particularly painful. But it should never happen.
Worst Challenge: Fans seemed split on whether the Redskins should have challenged the ruling on that Sav Rocca punt in the fourth quarter that appeared to bounce on the goal line, giving Cincinnati a touchback. I understand Shanahan’s impulse — if you win the challenge, you’ve pinned the Bengals deep. But with your last timeout at stake in a tie game, and needing indisputable evidence to gain the 18 or so yards, I don’t see how the risk was worth it.
Worst Hit: Terence Newman slamming Robert Griffin III when he was out of bounds on Washington’s final drive was one of the most painstakingly stupid late hits of all time. That was a free 15 yards for a team with no timeouts and about minute on the clock.
Best Tweet: From the Wizards’ Jordan Crawford, one of several Wiz players at the game: “Bout to jump out da stands and protect RG3 myself.”
Other Best Tweet: From a fan: “We finally get an offense that can put up 30 pts just in time to get a defense that allows 40.”
Worst Start: Cincinnati’s Mohamed Sanu threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green on the game’s first play from scrimmage, with quarterback Andy Dalton lined up out wide. Green was open by approximately 900 yards on the play. Within the next few minutes, Alfred Morris tackled Robert Griffin III for like the third time this season, and Trent Williams injured his knee. It was three minutes of pain.
Best Recovery: And then, poof! A magical twist of fate! Rocca dropped a punt inside the 1 yard line, and Rob Jackson intercepted a ball in the Bengals’ end zone, and suddenly the game was tied.
Best Weirdness: The Bengals’ first two passes both led to touchdowns. The one thrown by the wide receiver turned into a TD for Cincinnati. The one thrown by the quarterback turned into a TD for Washington. Jackson’s 0-yard interception return was only the 5th in the Super Bowl era.
Best Response: “ I have never seen a game start like this before,” CBS’s Kevin Harlan said after those wild first few minutes.
Worst Quote: Speaking of the CBS announcer, Harlan later said FedEx Field was “one of the best venues in the NFL.” Definitely one of the 32 best venues, anyhow.
Best Courage: On Washington’s first drive, Morris lost his helmet and kept running, his head naked and exposed to the world. Gained a few yards post-helmet-loss, too. Watch it here.
Best Spin Move: Morris also recorded perhaps Washington’s most skilled offensive play of the day, spinning out of the grasp of Robert Geathers on a seven-yard touchdown sprint. You could also put this under “Worst Tackling,” but hey, we’re in Washington. Watch it here.
Best Redemption: Last week, every Redskins fan wanted Danny Smith gone. This week, Smith’s special teams unit downed a punt inside the 1, stopped the Bengals cold on a fake field-goal try and returned a kick 55 yards past midfield. His unit was also a few inches away from recovering a late-game onsides kick.
Best Replacements: The two men most responsible for replacing Brian Orakpo were Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson. The former intercepted a pass for a touchdown and had a huge tackle for an eight-yard loss. The latter got part of a third-down sack in the first quarter while still making plays on special teams.
Worst Replacement: Jordan Black on the other hand? Not so good. The backup swing tackle and former future health club owner was forced into duty at left tackle with Williams’s injury. At one point in the first half, Michael Johnson got sacks on consecutive plays. On the second sack, the defensive lineman ran by Black without being touched.
Best Drive: On Washington’s second drive of the second half, the Redskins became a collegiate service academy team, running all sorts of weird triple option stuff, and fooling the Bengals and the cameras alike. After opening the drive with a pass to Leonard Hankerson, the Redskins ran eight straight running plays, gaining 60 yards. RGIII closed the drive with a short touchdown pass.
Best Streak Ending: BenJarvus Green-Ellis had gone 590 touches without fumbling the ball. He fumbled in the third quarter on Sunday, although the Redskins went three-and-out after recovering.
Worst Television: RGIII’s botched pitch was clearly a fumble, but there were no replays of the scrum for the ball. In live action, it sure appeared like a Washington player had possession of the ball, possibly while being touched by a Cincinnati player. Would have loved another look.
Worst Television, Part II: Other replays missed: the face-mask call against DeAngelo Hall in the fourth quarter, and whether Josh Wilson was actually down when recovering that Green-Ellis fumble.
Best Hit: Adam Jones on Santana Moss. Ouch.
Worst Hit(s): I know he can take a hit, but that doesn’t mean the Redskins want RGIII taking like 17 of them a game. The hits add up. The Redskins want this guy to be leading them for a long, long time. Mike Shanahan said after the game that he knows when to slide and is good at avoiding the worst of the contact, but several of Sunday’s hits made me cringe. “Robert is a tough guy, he can take a lot,” Fred Davis told Comcast SportsNet. Easy to say three games into his first season.
Worst Halftime Stat: RGIII ended the first half with 36 passing yards. Sanu, the Bengals’ receiver, more than doubled that with 73.
Best Reappearance: In his first two games with Robert Griffin III, Fred Davis caught four passes for 52 yards. Sunday, he caught SEVEN passes for 90 YARDS.
Best Spark: The Redskins’ offense was a complete dumpster fire in the first half. But an offsides call during a kickoff forced Cincinnati to kick again, and Brandon Banks returned the second try to the Bengals’s 48-yard line. The Skins wound up getting a field goal on the drive, their only offensive points of the half. They ended the first half with 68 yards, fewer than the Bengals got on their first play.
Worst Decision: The Bengals were in position for a chip-shot field goal midway through the second quarter, with a chance to go up by two scores on the road. Instead, Marvin Lewis opted for a fake field goal, which didn’t work at all. Of course, it didn’t matter since the Redskins wound up punting, but still.
Worst Tackling: Cincinnati tight end Jermaine Gresham caught a short pass on 3rd-and-15 near the end of the first half. But he gained at least five yards after contact, and the Bengals wound up with a much more manageable 47-yard attempt, which they made.
Worst Injuries: After Robert Griffin III, the two most valuable players on the Washington offense are likely Pierre Garcon and Trent Williams. The Redskins played without both men for most of Sunday’s game.
Worst Everything: Here are the length of the passing touchdowns the Redskins have allowed this season: 20, 33, 2, 1, 34, 1, 73, 48, 6, 59. I don’t know what’s the worst part of this. The fact that the Skins have allowed 10 passing touchdowns in three games? Or that they’ve already allowed six passing TDs of at least 20 yards? Neither part of it is good.