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Best and Worst

Monday, November 1, 2004; Page D14

Best Election Barometer: Forget the Gallup poll and countless surveys trying to determine who will be the next president of the United States. The most accurate, though hardly scientific, reading is linked to the Redskins. Over 17 presidential elections dating from 1936, when the Redskins have won their last home game before the election, the incumbent party has won each time. When the Redskins have lost or tied their last home game before the election, the challenger has won.

Best Quarterback: Redskins players and coaches showed nothing but reverence for Packers quarterback Brett Favre in the days leading up to the game. The three-time most valuable player made his 197th regular season start in a row, the most by a quarterback in league history, and has continued to thrive despite personal hardships. This past week, Favre revealed his wife recently had breast cancer diagnosed. In early October, Favre's brother-in-law was killed in an ATV accident on Favre's property near Oak Grove, Miss. And in December, Favre's father died of a heart attack.

Game Day: Packers 28, Redskins 14
 Redskins
After a penalty wipes out what might have been the go-ahead score, the Redskins go on to lose the Packers.
Michael Wilbon: Mark Brunell does just enough to keep his job.
Mike Wise: Play-calling can't mask flaws of the Redskins' offense.
After a rocky start, secondary clamps down on Brett Favre.
Playing with a heavy heart, Favre continues to redefine durability.
Notebook: Chad Morton's injured right knee will be tested Monday.
Best & Worst

_____ On Our Site _____
 Postgame Quiz
Democrats and Republicans alike: Cast your ballot in our postgame quiz.
Photos
Summary
Grade the Redskins.
Talk about the game.

_____ Video _____
Joe Gibbs, Mark Brunell and James Thrash discuss Sunday's loss.

__ Key Moments in the Fourth __
2:43: The Redskins appeared to be within an extra point of taking the lead when Clinton Portis dove into the end zone. But the play was nullified by an illegal motion penalty.
2:35: On the next play, Mark Brunell is intercepted.
1:48: Ahman Green runs 11 yards for a Green Bay touchdown.

_____ Chat House _____
Get Michael Wilbon's take on the game at 1 p.m. EST Monday.
Submit questions.

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_____ NFL Insider _____
Post's Mark Maske on all things NFL -- only on washingtonpost.com.


_____NFL Basics_____
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Worst Quarterback: Mark Brunell was off almost the entire game. His most glaring transgression came when he threw an interception with the Redskins driving in the fourth quarter for the potential go-ahead touchdown.

Worst Penalty: One play earlier, the Redskins appeared to have tied the game at 20, with an extra point pending, when Clinton Portis turned a short pass over middle into a touchdown. But wide receiver James Thrash started forward before the snap, prompting officials to call him for illegal motion and nullifying the score.

Best Weather: Temperatures in the 70s are a rare treat in these parts in late October, and tailgaters took full advantage of the last burst of warm air before the cold begins taking hold. The game-time temperature was 78 degrees, and the climate felt more like South Florida than Landover.

Best Histories: The Packers and Redskins are two of four franchises with at least 500 victories. The Packers are second all-time with 604; the Redskins are fourth at 501. The Bears have 642 and the Giants 575.

Worst Coverage: Redskins cornerback Ryan Clark was left behind on two long pass plays during the Packers' second possession. First, on third and 10, Favre completed an 18-yard pass to Javon Walker for a first down. Two plays later, Favre completed a 48-yard pass to Robert Ferguson.

Best Anticipation: With Redskins linebacker Lemar Marshall draped on tight end David Martin in the end zone, Favre threw that way on fourth down and one at the Redskins 5. Martin had no chance to catch the pass, but it was clear Favre anticipated a pass interference call. He got it, and the Packers scored on the ensuing play for a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Worst Sequence: On the Redskins' first possession of the second quarter, a drive stalled when they went three plays for minus-21 yards. But at least there was symmetry. Washington lost seven on a sack, seven on a poorly designed screen pass and seven on another sack.

Worst Pass Blocking: On that last sack, guard Derrick Dockery was left stumbling trying to chase Packers defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who had broken through and had a straight path to Brunell. The sack left the Redskins with fourth down and 31.

Worst Support: The boos, and not the type associated with Halloween, began with 5 minutes 12 seconds to play before halftime after a Brunell interception. Disgruntled Redskins fans then began a chant of "Ram-sey, Ram-sey, Ram-sey," imploring Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs to insert backup Patrick Ramsey.

Best Interception: Cornerback Shawn Springs made up for Brunell's miscue by intercepting a Favre pass on the Packers' next series. The Redskins went on to score a touchdown and kept themselves in the game when it appeared Green Bay was poised to turn it into a rout.

Best Awareness: On that scoring drive, tight end Robert Royal made a diving effort on fourth down and 22 from the Packers 36. Royal caught the ball about five yards short of the first down and leaped past the marker on the right sideline to extend the possession.

Best Run: Late in the third quarter, Packers fullback Nick Luchey caught a screen pass on third and one and immediately was hit by Springs. But Luchey, who lost his helmet at impact, bounced out of the tackle and ran past the first down marker before stepping out of bounds.

Worst Kick: The Redskins marched to the Packers 17-yard line in the fourth quarter in search of a touchdown that would have cut the lead to six points. Instead they had to settle for a field goal try attempt by Ola Kimrin, whose effort hit the left upright and left Washington with nothing on the drive.

-- Gene Wang


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