The Raiders? Geez, How Could You?
If it's irony you're looking for, how about Norv Turner softening up the Washington Redskins, setting them up to be knocked out next week by Marty Schottenheimer?
Without question, the Redskins are on one knee, trying to clear their heads and get back up. A tomato can knocked them around yesterday. C'mon, don't try to convince anybody for one second the Raiders are any good. They're a mistake-prone, penalty-plagued outfit with a 3-6 record coming in and the 24th best defense in the league, having traveled with their embattled coach 2,600 miles and three time zones.
A team that fancies itself a contender doesn't lose to these Raiders at home, not coming off a particularly difficult-to-stomach loss last week in Tampa. Playing the Raiders, for a team needing a victory to maintain its playoff positioning, is a gimme. Win late, win ugly, win lucky, just win baby. You find a way.
Okay, if Kerry Collins throws, say, four of those beautiful rainbow touchdown passes to the fabulous Randy Moss, which is possible, then you throw up both hands and you ache over getting sliced and diced by one of the league's great, great players. But that wasn't the case yesterday. The Raiders missed a rather routine field goal attempt, committed those signature stupid penalties, gave the Redskins' defense a touchdown, and averaged 1.7 yards rushing. The Raiders, ladies and gentlemen, picked up twice as many penalty yards (101) as rushing yards.
Still, the Redskins couldn't beat them.
And since the season is now 10 games old, there's only one thing to conclude at this point: The Redskins aren't very good. And they're not a serious contender.
They turn the ball over on offense entirely too much. They don't close the deal (see Kansas City, Tampa Bay and now Oakland) when ahead or in control in the fourth quarter. And as a result they've lost five of their last seven games.
"It's a tough one to figure out," quarterback Mark Brunell said, making sure not to sugar-coat the team's precarious situation. "It's tough to give you guys some answers."
And any answers the Redskins find at the moment would scorch the ears.
Players said they weren't emotionally flat but they certainly did play without any obvious inspiration, despite what was at stake.
Thanks to DirecTV, it's possible to watch the Redskins blow a game they should have won at FedEx Field, while also checking in on all the other NFC teams still fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Eagles, playing on the road without the team's two best players -- Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens -- gave a 24-karat effort at Giants Stadium. The Giants responded and fought off the Eagles.