Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The somber mood of Washington Redskins players was understandable after a stunning 59-28 blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, though the embarrassment of their ineptitude was only beginning to develop Monday night.
Players expected to feel the pain of one of the worst performances in franchise history long after they left the locker room at FedEx Field, many said, and their response will determine what occurs the remainder of the season.
The Redskins took a major step backward against one of their NFC East division rivals in front of an announced crowd of 84,912, and no one knew for sure whether they could pick themselves up again.
"This is a true test. This is a true test about what we're about and what we're gonna be about the rest of the season," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "To get whupped like we got whupped . . . I don't think words can really express where we're at right now and what we're gonna do.
"But we've just got to go out there and do it. There ain't gonna be too much talking in the locker room. You know? It's gonna be show me. I think that's the approach you've got to take."
On the day he received the contract extension he has sought since Philadelphia traded him to Washington on Easter Sunday, quarterback Donovan McNabb - who has struggled throughout his first season with Washington - threw a season-high three interceptions in the least-effective outing of his brief Redskins career, and quarterback Michael Vick upstaged his friend and former teammate in leading the Eagles to the win.
The Redskins stirred excitement among their fans before the game, reaching the five-year deal with the 12-year veteran, whose standing on the team has been in question recently after he was benched late in the previous game. McNabb's poor play, however, continued to prompt questions about his ability to perform at a high level in Coach Mike Shanahan's offense.
All of McNabb's interceptions Monday led to Eagles touchdowns. Late in the third quarter, Eagles cornerback Dimitri Patterson returned McNabb's final ill-advised pass 40 yards for a score. McNabb, whose new deal could be worth as much as $78 million, completed only 17 of 31 passes for 295 yards with two touchdowns.
McNabb was one of several players to say he was "embarrassed" by Monday's performance.
"It's a learning experience in this game, I think one that all of us can kind of look at individually," he said. "At some point in the year, you kind of have a gut check. This would probably be defined as one."
But the night belonged to Vick.