Best and worst moments from the Redskins’ nightmarish 20-6 loss to the Giants Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands.
Worst First Quarter: If you like watching exciting NFL football, I hope you were instead watching your food processor handle several cups of canned peas on Sunday. Here’s the first quarter summary: punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt. That’s seven punts. In one scoreless quarter between two teams playing for nothing but the vague sense that you’re supposed to get up in the morning, roll out of bed, and do whatever it is that you do.
Worst Second Quarter: The Redskins entered halftime with 66 yards of offense and two first downs? That sounds like you put away the canned peas and started chopping up a nice, long, hairy piece of tree bark, with a butter knife, using a dish rack as a cutting board, and you were still probably having more fun.
Worst Third Quarter: How about the third quarter? The Redskins had five possessions. That resulted in two fumbles, an interception and two punts. They were outscored 7-0 in the quarter by a team quarterbacked by Curtis Painter.
Worst Fourth Quarter: Wait, they played four quarters?
Best Despair: There was plenty. Oh, and I wrote a story about Chris Cooley the analyst. Read it here!
This redskins game is verging on the worst football ive ever seen.
— Chris Cooley (@thecooleyzone) December 29, 2013
This game is laughable!!!!
— Brian Mitchell (@BmitchliveCSN) December 29, 2013
This very well could be the worst NFL game I’ve ever seen in person.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) December 29, 2013
Been watching @Redskins games since 1966. Can’t remember things looking more hopeless than they do now.
— Andy Pollin (@andypollin1) December 29, 2013
Best Dialog: “I’ll be on a plane shortly,” Fox’s Ronde Barber said happily during the first quarter. “Not that shortly,” Dick Stockton reminded him. “Not that shortly,” Barber then agreed, sadly. That best reflected the opinion of everyone watching that football game, possibly with the exception of Kirk Cousins’s parents. And yeah, they were talking about the weather, but whatever. We all needed a symbolic plane, to take us away from the symbolic cold and rainy misery that symbolized all the symbols of this season.
Worst Image: This wasn’t really Darrel Young’s fault, but the fullback got turned around and sure seemed to cause Alfred Morris’s second-half fumble. That’s just a bad image to look at.
Best Timeout: The Redskins managed to call a timeout less than five minutes into the first quarter. Helped by the planning conducted during that timeout, the Redskins immediately threw an incompletion on third down, and then punted. That perfectly exemplifies how the Redskins have treated timeouts during the entire Mike Shanahan Era. They treat timeouts like ranch-flavored Corn Nuts. Take a few, pop em in your mouth, throw em on the ground, do science experiments with em, feed em to pigeons, whatever. They are an unlimited and value-less resource, so it’s really not a big deal. The Redskins appear to be unique in this philosophy about timeouts.
Best Two-Minute Drive: The Redskins’ final drive of the second quarter was also a perfect encapsulation of the team’s time-management philosophy during the Shanahan Era. Seconds were treated like a renewable resource that do not need to be conserved. Here, kid, take these 19 seconds off the clock. It’s cool, we don’t need those seconds. Hey everyone, let’s huddle up and discuss our favorite sorts of crudite. Nothing beats fresh sugar snap peas, right? Yeah yeah, we’ll run a play eventually, but first, some interpretive dance. Watch me touch the back of my knee with my head! Has anyone associated with that offense ever played Madden, or no?
Best Thing to Drink During 1 p.m. Games: An inoffensive American lightish non-craft beer with Bloody Mary mix and many olives. Theoretically. If you’re not working.
Best Face to Represent That Game: Here ya go. Josh Brown, after a missed field goal that came somewhere between punts.
Best Challenge: The game sort of turned, to the extent sinking shells of ruined cruise ships can turn, on a successful Tom Coughlin challenge of a spot that forced Washington to punt that led to a Giants touchdown and that made you remember all the times Mike Shanahan threw ill-advised red challenge flags during his tenure. Summary: there were a lot of ‘em.
Worst Trade Value Boosting: I mean, maybe Kirk Cousins didn’t change his trade value during his three-game stint as a starter, which included 0 wins, 4 TD passes and 7 turnovers. Sunday he was an astounding 19 for 49 yards for 169 yards, a performance that included bounced passes and overthrown passes and several dropped interceptions and zero trips to the end zone. He might still be a viable target in a trade, but it just seems unlikely he did much to boost his trade value this month. “If he lights it up, hey, maybe we can bring a first-round draft choice back to this organization,” Mike Shanahan had said. Yeah. Maybe. “His value can only go up,” Shanahan also said. “It cannot go down. It can only go up.”
Best News: Brian Orakpo was out, which meant Dick Stockton never got a chance to talk about Brian Orapko. And Robert Griffin III was out, so Stockton never got a chance to talk about Robert Griffin Jr. the Third. Stockton did, however, talk about a 32-year punt return. Man, the drop-off from the elite NFL announcers to the other NFL announcers is swift and certain.
Best Jokes: There were lots of jokes. Here are some:
I’d change the locks during the game & leave 2 notebooks & an iPad in the hallway with a sticky note that says: ‘packed your office’
— danny rouhier (@funnydanny) December 29, 2013
WE HATE OURSELVES, WHY ARE YOU WATCHING?
— MikeShanahansEgo (@ShanahansEgo) December 29, 2013
— Sally Jenkins (@sallyjenx) December 29, 2013
Can we get a running clock? #Redskins
— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) December 29, 2013
This is the least interesting football game I’ve ever watched. Is it even happening?
— BurgundyBlog.com (@BurgundyBlog) December 29, 2013
Big factor in choosing next Skins coach should be finding a candidate that doesn’t have any sons.
— Scott Jackson (@JacksonSports) December 29, 2013
Honestly, Washington and the Giants should just sit down in a circle at midfield and talk about how they feel about everything this season.
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) December 29, 2013
That cloud of smoke in Ashburn is the exhaust from all the cars idling in the parking lot of Redskins Park.
— Matt Terl (@matt_terl) December 29, 2013
There’s not enough salt in the world to rub in the wound that was the 2013 season, but this game has been a nice try.
— Dan Snyder Cares (@DanSnyderCares) December 29, 2013
Best Rally: Kai Forbath made just four of his first eight field-goal attempts this season, but he closed the year hitting 14 straight. Hey, it isn’t easy finding bests nowadays.
Best Turnover Creation: Another positive: Josh Wilson, possibly playing his last game for his home-town team, had a fumble recovery and an interception, both of which led to Redskins’ field goals.
Best Weird Stat: And yet another positive: Pierre Garcon became just the third NFL player to have at least five catches in all 16 games of a season. For all you “five catches a game” fans out there. Garcon did have an insanely productive season for such a poor team. BUT IS HE A NO. 1 RECEIVER?????
Worst Ball Security (tied): It was wet and sloppy and terrible and everyone involved would rather have been listening to a debate about the Redskins name between Keith Olbermann and Megyn Kelly, but Alfred Morris has now lost three fumbles over the past three weeks. He lost three fumbles during his entire rookie season.
Worst Ball Security (tied): Kirk Cousins takes care of the ball as much as Mike Shanahan takes care of timeouts. In his three starts this season, Cousins lost two fumbles and threw five interceptions. “His value can only go up,” Shanahan said. “It cannot go down. It can only go up.”
Worst Sophomore Campaign: Josh LeRibeus was drafted in the third round last season. He arrived at training camp out of shape
weight. And he was inactive for all 16 weeks this season. Mike Shanahan has gotten some amount of credit for reviving the Redskins in the draft; this one appears to have been a massive miss.
Worst Drop: Santana Moss, who has had several noticeable drops this season, added another early in Sunday’s game, when a third-down ball from Kirk Cousins was dropped with the same certainty that Adam Schefter drops nuggets about Mike Shanahan. Speaking of which, you know what I’m looking forward to? Not having to listen to Adam Schefter interviews to piece together what Mike Shanahan might or might not be thinking. Let’s hope the new guy never wrote any books with any well-known sports journalists.
Worst Refrain: “Not a good kick by Rocca,” Fox’s Dick Stockton said, and everyone else who talks about the NFL said, and the voices in my head said, again and again and again. The time I’m mentioning specifically was when Rocca punted the ball 32 yards in the first quarter, which was right about the time I realized this would be a nearly impossible game to watch.
Worst Crowd: Everyone in New York evidently came to the same realization, but a bit earlier than I did.
Nobody here pic.twitter.com/Y5AoXS31FC
— Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) December 29, 2013
— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) December 29, 2013
— Matt Johnson (@twoeightnine) December 29, 2013
Best Improvisation: For all the grief I’ve given Rocca, that was an amazing job by him late in the first half, bobbling a snap, rolling right in the end zone and still getting off a 34-yard kick. Of course, the Redskins were penalized on the play, but whatever.
Worst Special Teams Clown Show: And yet, a 10-yard penalty on Jose Gumbs for illegally kicking the ball after a punt polished off a perfect 2013 season in which the special teams units found at least one never-before-imagined way to screw up each and every week. Congrats to everyone involved in that accomplishment. “Gumbs’ kick of the ball went further than Rocca’s punt,” Grant Paulsen noted, which is also an accomplishment. There was also a dropped snap, a muffed kickoff, a punt fielded inside the 10, and a special teams penalty in this game.
Worst Win Total: The Redskins finished the season with just three wins. That was their lowest total since 1994, Norv Turner’s debut season. Having a new first-time head coach preside over disaster is one thing. Having a veteran Super-Bowl winning coach do it in his fourth year in Washington is something else.
Worst Draft Pick: Watching the St. Louis Rams use the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft will not be a pleasant feeling for Redskins fans. When the trade for Robert Griffin III was made, some cynics didn’t think it would work out. But I don’t think many people imagined the 2014 pick would be quite so high.
Worst Reversal: Last season ended with seven straight wins, and it felt like something you had never seen before. This year ended with eight straight losses, and the never-before-seen feeling was similar. Although the Redskins actually did lose 17 straight games from 1960 to 1961. So it wasn’t really unprecedented. For people in their 50s.
Worst Winning Percentage: Steve Spurrier was a .375 guy in D.C. So was Jim Zorn. And so was Mike Shanahan. That’s three of Washington’s previous four coaches. Low bar for the new guy.