By Jason Reid
Tuesday, December 22, 2009; D01
During his introductory news conference last week, new Washington Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen talked about the organization's rich history, which his father, George, contributed to during his Hall of Fame coaching career.
The elder Allen's philosophy of "the future is now" still applies, the son said, and the plan is for the struggling Redskins to return to prominence sooner rather than later. After watching the team in person for the first time since being hired, however, who could blame Allen if he revised his timetable?
The New York Giants overwhelmed their NFC East rivals from the outset Monday night in what was easily the Redskins' worst performance under Coach Jim Zorn -- and among the worst in their recent history -- while sprinting to a 45-12 victory at FedEx Field.
"We didn't show up," fullback Mike Sellers said.
On a chilly night in their next-to-last game at FedEx this season, the Redskins (4-10) were booed off the field at halftime after a bizarre sequence in which Zorn twice in the final two seconds of the half approved a gadget play with the Redskins at the Giants 20-yard line. To say the least, the play did not work, and punter Hunter Smith was hit hard, threw an interception and the half ended on the return.
Many in an announced crowd of 78,359 voiced their displeasure in booing as the team disappeared into the tunnel trailing 24-0. New York (8-6) thoroughly outplayed Washington in every facet of football en route to building the big cushion during its fourth consecutive victory in the series and eighth in the last nine meetings. With the win, the Giants, who endured a long slide after a 5-0 start this season, kept alive their playoff hopes with two games remaining in the regular season.
Early in the fourth quarter, there was an on-field altercation involving DeAngelo Hall, Albert Haynesworth and Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. Haynesworth, who was assessed a personal foul, and Jacobs threw punches and the NFL is expected to take disciplinary action.
"It just feels like we're all going in different directions," Haynesworth said. "We need someone to lead us in the right direction."
Allen last week said he would evaluate Zorn and his staff over the final three games before making any decisions about Zorn's future.
The last few days have been the most trying for Zorn in his brief and tumultuous tenure with the team. Secondary coach Jerry Gray recently interviewed for Zorn's job, people within the Redskins organization said. Gray has denied meeting with owner Daniel Snyder to discuss his boss's job.
"I'm trying not to even deal with that because it's right during the season," Zorn said of the reports about Gray's pursuit of the job. "I'm trying to stay really focused, I think I can do a pretty good job of taking a breath, breathing out and then moving on and that's what I choose to do in those situations. I owe it to our team, our players, our fans to keep concentrating on what's at hand."
New York quarterback Eli Manning was impressive in leading five touchdown drives of at least 50 yards. Manning completed 19 of 26 passes (73 percent) for 268 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Manning had an eye-opening quarterback rating of 144.4 and was removed from the game with about nine minutes to play.
His Redskins counterpart did not fare as well. Jason Campbell, widely credited as being the key to the team's recent improvement on offense, struggled against the Giants' fierce pass rush. Playing with an injured shoulder, Campbell completed 15 of 28 passes for 192 yards. He threw a touchdown pass but also had two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. Campbell was sacked five times.
With almost 13 minutes left in the fourth, it appeared there were many more Giants fans in the stadium than Redskins supporters. Chants of "Let's Go Giants" rang out as Redskins fans continued to move quickly toward the exits. Only one other time since 2001 had the Redskins allowed as many as 45 points -- a 52-7 loss at New England on Oct. 28, 2007. The Redskins gave up the most points on their home field since Sept. 30, 2001, in a 45-13 loss to Kansas City.
How poorly did the Redskins play in the game's first 30 minutes? Consider:
-- At one point in the second quarter, the Giants had 226 total yards and the Redskins minus-2;
-- With the score 24-0 in the second, the Redskins had no first downs;
-- The Redskins did not gain a first down until there were only 3 minutes 33 seconds left in the second on Campbell's 16-yard scramble;
-- Of the Redskins' 78 yards of offense before halftime, 45 came on their final drive.
In addition, the Redskins' ineffective, patchwork offensive line, which had performed better recently after the coaching staff pared down the offense to compensate for the group's deficiencies, again was awful in pass protection. The Giants pummeled Campbell, knocking him from the game late in the second quarter.
As he did often Monday night, Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora beat left tackle Levi Jones, chased Campbell from the pocket and fell on his back. The team announced Campbell suffered a shoulder strain. Todd Collins replaced Campbell and briefly provided a spark on offense.
Collins teamed with Santana Moss on a 46-yard reception to the Giants 26-yard line. The Redskins eventually reached the 20 and called a timeout when the game clock wound down to two seconds.
Instead of attempting a field goal from about 37 yards, the Redskins went into a strange formation with most of the players split out wide left and only Todd Yoder, who snapped the ball, in to protect Smith. The Giants called a timeout, which presumably should have prompted Zorn to realize what a bad idea it would be to call that play again. Obviously, Zorn believed otherwise, and the Redskins tried it again.
If it worked as designed, Yoder would have looped around to the right side uncovered for a long gain. Of course, it did not work as designed. With Yoder not a viable option because of the defense the Giants called and Smith under pressure, he threw to the left and the ball was intercepted.
"It was good defense. It was really good defense. That's what hurt that play," Zorn said. "I contemplated just going back, after [Giants Coach Tom Coughlin] had called timeout . . . I wish it was no timeouts on the clock on their side. I contemplated just kicking the field goal after that. "The play was unique enough to where I didn't think they saw what we were really trying to do. And then they smelled it out pretty good. We didn't really have a chance. It didn't get started."
The Giants were sharp to open the game. Bradshaw's three-yard touchdown run capped a 16-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 9:13 on the game clock, which was the longest drive -- in terms of time of possession -- against the Redskins this season.
With all the suspense gone minutes after the opening kickoff, the late-game altercation piqued some interest in what was occurring on the field. With Manning in the process of being sacked by Lorenzo Alexander, he flipped the ball to the right to Jacobs, who couldn't get a handle on it while Hall was battling him.
After the ball fell to the ground, Hall and Jacobs mixed it up, shoving each other as players from both teams rushed in. Haynesworth got into it with Jacobs and Giants tackle Will Beatty, and punches were clearly thrown.