No Getting Past Their Mistakes

Josh Brown drills a 49-yard field goal as time expires Sunday to lead the Rams to a stunning 19-17 upset of the Redskins.
By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 13, 2008

As the winning kick wobbled through the goal posts and time expired, Jim Zorn did not move. All around the Redskins' coach, his players had left, beginning their slow disheartening march to the locker room. But Zorn stood still, his head craned to the right, staring at the scoreboard that looms over FedEx Field almost like he wished the final three points would not appear, as if some kind of magic would keep this 19-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams from being a reality.

Later he would laugh and say he was hoping the scoreboard clock would say there was one more second, a glimmer of a chance that maybe Washington could come up with something and still beat a team that had not won a game all year.

The clock read 0.00.

No miracles left.

Only when Zorn understood this did he pull off his coach's headset and walk away alone, his hair disheveled, his face still perplexed, perhaps trying to grasp how his Redskins could beat two of the NFL's best teams -- the Cowboys and Eagles on the road -- and yet lose to a team in such disarray it had fired its coach only two weeks before.

In postgame interviews, the litany of mistakes stretched so far Zorn couldn't remember them all.

There was the pass knocked into the air that landed into the arms of his guard Pete Kendall, a 6-foot-6, 286-pound man who at 35 years old had never found the ball in his arms while standing upright in a professional football game. Inexplicably, for reasons still unknown to Kendall himself, he decided to run with the ball. This led to it immediately being jarred from his grasp by the Rams' Pisa Tinoisamoa, allowing it to roll into the hands of St. Louis's Oshiomogho Atogwe, who ran 75 yards the other way for a touchdown that put the Rams ahead 10-7 at halftime.

"My instinct was -- believe it or not -- to knock [the pass] down and why I didn't?" Kendall said, letting the question hang in the air for a moment before adding, "It will bother me for a long time."

There were the botched punts by the Redskins' rookie punter, Durant Brooks, the last of which traveled just 26 yards and left the Rams in easy position to kick a field goal that put them ahead 16-7 at the end of the third quarter.

"Something is not right," Brooks said, stating the obvious.

There were the gaps in the Washington offensive line that led to Rams defenders barreling in untouched, knocking quarterback Jason Campbell to the ground. There were as well three lost fumbles that came after the offense set an NFL record by not turning over the ball once in the season's initial five weeks.

So many other little things, like a kickoff that rolled out of bounds, two dropped interceptions, even an inadvertent stumble by the Redskins' Kareem Moore that tripped kick returner Antwaan Randle El when it looked as if he was about to break into the open for a big punt return.

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