For Defense, the Outcome Hurts in Many Ways

. . . then in the second half, it all went wrong, including Jeremy Shockey's 3rd-quarter reception between LaRon Landry and Rocky McIntosh.
. . . then in the second half, it all went wrong, including Jeremy Shockey's 3rd-quarter reception between LaRon Landry and Rocky McIntosh. (Photos By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 24, 2007

What sign was the most disturbing for the Washington Redskins as the defense collapsed yesterday in the second half of a 24-17 loss to the New York Giants at FedEx Field?

It could have been New York's stunning third-down efficiency against a unit that began the game ranked first in the NFL in stopping opponents on third down. Perhaps it was Washington's poor tackling at times, contributing to New York's big plays in overcoming a 14-point halftime deficit.

To be sure, those problems were high on the list.

But for Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, the sight of key defensive players slowed by injuries or receiving treatment topped the low moments in a rough day. After taking a bend-but-don't-break approach on defense in a 2-0 start, the Redskins yesterday were banged up and in need of repair.

"With the bumps and bruises," Williams said, "rehab is going to be just as critical as working on some of the situational football things we have to work on on the football field."

It seems the bye week came just in time for the defense, which kept Bubba Tyer busy after halftime.

Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine, and his staff were on the field often, evaluating starting weak-side linebacker Rocky McIntosh, starting left defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin and starting defensive end Phillip Daniels, among others.

McIntosh went to the sideline late in the game after experiencing pain in both shoulders. Rookie linebacker H.B. Blades replaced him in crucial situations, which wasn't good news for Washington.

A hard-working rookie, Blades is supposed to be relegated to special teams. The fact that Blades was in the game with the outcome undecided -- well, that's not what the Redskins expected.

"You could say that, but I saw the young guy come in there and make plays," starting strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington said. "The young guy didn't expect to be in that position, and it's tough when you don't know if you're going to play and you get in there. But you can't stop when guys go down. You just have to keep going on, and that's what we had to do."

The Redskins had to move on often without McIntosh, an integral part of Williams's scheme, and it appeared he wasn't feeling well physically for much of the game.

"No comment," McIntosh said. "I just really don't want to talk about it. You'll have to talk to" the team about that.

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