“Never have I been involved in a game like this,” Mike Shanahan said.
On a blown call Sunday that served as a clear indictment to Roger Goodell’s inability to get the league’s referees back to work, the Redskins couldn’t play through that adversity at the Edward Jones Dome.
They scrapped. They put themselves in perfect position to pull off a pulsating victory in the final two minutes — DeAngelo Hall recovering a fumble, Robert Griffin III using the Rams’ defenders as traffic cones as he moved the Redskins downfield for at least a tying field goal and maybe a clinching touchdown.
But then Josh Morgan happened. On a day when cheap-shotting and woofing ruled, when low-level college referees had no idea how to contain the violence or much less bring order to the field, that bubbling cauldron inside of the soft-spoken receiver percolated over.
Morgan threw away a first-and-10 from about the 29-yard-line – or, at worst, a fourth-and-1 from roughly the same spot – when he threw the ball in frustration at another junk-talking Rams’ defensive back who brought him down.
Flag. Fifteen yards. After Shanahan decided to summon Billy Cundiff for a career-long, 62-yard field goal indoors – reasoning that he’d kicked all those kickoffs from the 35-yard line out of the endzone — the ball fell short and the game was over.
Washington had lost a sloppy, dirty, if wildly entertaining, thriller to the Rams, giving back a two-touchdown lead before falling 31-28.
They lost because their defense couldn’t apply the pressure it wanted after losing Adam Carriker (right knee, it doesn’t look good) and Brian Orakpo to first-quarter injuries. They lost because Sam Bradford is awfully good when he gets protection, and the Rams defense began lowering their shoulders and bull rushing Griffin III until he finally went down a few times and had to give the ball up.
Mostly, they lost because they couldn’t play through some of the worst adversity imaginable a team could face just two games into the season.
That doesn’t make RGIII’s team bad or destined for below .500. But it does lend credence to what Joe Theismann said before the opener, a quote that didn’t get the traction it probably deserved.
“By Week 2 we should have a little bit of an idea of whether we’re gonna suffer through some of the pains of last year,” Theismann said, adding he didn’t see that happening for the Redskins with Griffin having a game under his belt.