Tracee Hamilton - Sports Columnist

For Redskins, It's Not Only a Must-Win Against the Lions, It's a Must-Not-Lose

The Post's John Feinstein, Barry Svrluga discuss the latest Redskins news on Washington Post Live. Video by Comcast SportsNet
By Tracee Hamilton
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Redskins' locker room was silent for a few minutes Sunday afternoon, then Coach Jim Zorn came in and delivered the news: Replay officials had reviewed the tape and Washington had, indeed, beaten the Rams, 9-7. Only then could the muted cries of "Hear, hear!" and "Oh, I say!" be heard through the closed doors.

One thing you can say for the Redskins: They are coachable. Whatever Zorn says to them in his postgame talk, they repeat to the scrambling media when the doors finally open. The playbook for this week went something like this:

"A win is a win." (Judges will also accept "A 'W' is a 'W' " or the lesser-used "An upside-down 'M' is an upside-down 'M.' ")

"The NFL is a hard/tough (circle one) league."

"It wasn't pretty."

All true. From the first red zone failure to the last, it certainly wasn't pretty. By the end, the crowd of 87,780, with its resounding booing, had issued what amounted to the dreaded "Formal Resolution of Disapproval." (Little-known fact: Replay officials also have determined that Rep. Joe Wilson yelled "You Lion!" -- not "You lie!" -- at President Obama. No wonder House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave Wilson the stink eye -- that's an insult.)

Let's face it: Only the Redskins could face a must-win game in Week 2, win that game, and find themselves facing a must-Must-MUST win game in Week 3. Amazing.

The pressure on the team increased Monday when the team confirmed reports that guard Randy Thomas is out with a torn triceps. Now the non-touchdown-scoring offense is going to have to get along without its leader on the line. The maligned line -- unlike other facets of the offense -- had performed above (albeit moderate) expectations this season, and the loss of Thomas exposes its lack of depth.

In other words, the defense had better buckle up -- it could be a long season.

"When you're playing on a team that you're not allowed to make as many mistakes because the score is going to be held a little lower, you've got to concentrate and you got to focus that much more," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "We can't give up a big play like I did [Sunday]. We can't slip, we can't fall, we can't give up a touchdown because we know that one touchdown could be the one that beats us.

"We definitely got to keep guys out of the end zone. We got to keep them held to field goals. If that's the kind of team and the kind of game plan we're going to be playing in, we as defenders, we have to step it up and we kind of know that."

The most dangerous team to face, when you're in a must-Must-MUST win situation, is the one that has lost 19 straight -- unless that team is the Washington Generals. Right now, that team is the Detroit Lions. I've had this game circled on the schedule since Day 1 as a potential Waterloo for Zorn because, quite simply, the Lions are going to win someday. If you're a coach, you really hope the monkey Detroit finally flings off its back doesn't land on yours. (In other words, always fear the flying monkeys.)

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