Washington Redskins beat Tennessee Titans, 19-16, on Graham Gano's field goal in overtime
Monday, November 22, 2010; 12:46 AM
NASHVILLE - It was not immediately clear Sunday night how the injury-weakened Washington Redskins would handle their difficult situation, and Coach Mike Shanahan undoubtedly faces more juggling with the roster in flux.
But those are matters for another day.
Redskins players and coaches preferred to accentuate the positive Sunday after overcoming a dizzying array of injuries that sidelined many key players and outlasting the Tennessee Titans, 19-16, on place kicker Graham Gano's 48-yard field goal in overtime before 69,143 at LP Field.
After missing from 47 yards as time expired in regulation, Gano succeeded during his second high-pressure opportunity to close the game. The Redskins (5-5), coming off consecutive embarrassing losses, listed four starters among their inactives, had another four starters knocked out early and played without 11 players who were expected to contribute.
Gano's fourth field goal in six attempts - his second game-winner this season - ended the Redskins' work 8 minutes 17 seconds into the extra session, capping a much-needed victory for an organization eager to move on after last week's embarrassing display in a 59-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
On the final drive Sunday, the Titans (5-5), who have dropped three in a row, committed 15-yard penalties on consecutive plays. Gano also kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtime in Week 5 to complete a 16-13 victory against the Green Bay Packers.
The Redskins' secondary, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall in particular, performed well in shutting out Pro Bowl wide receiver Randy Moss. Titans quarterback Vince Young was removed late in the third quarter because of a thumb injury and "threw half his uniform in the stands" in frustration over the benching, Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher said. Regardless of Young's medical status, he is out as the team's starter, Fisher said.
Determined to show their character after the Eagles debacle, the Redskins leaned on each other against the Titans and found a way, though even they weren't exactly sure how they made it happen.
"Coach obviously talks a lot about that character," said center and offensive co-captain Casey Rabach, who did not return after injuring his knee in the first quarter. "To see guys dropping like flies, in the beginning of that game, and guys just keep on stepping up, keep on stepping up . . . my hat's off to that offensive line that stuck together there. They played their butt off."
Missing two starters - Rabach and right guard Artis Hicks - and with tackle Stephon Heyer at guard for the first time at any level of football ("I did what I had to do out of necessity," Heyer said), the much-maligned group had one of its best performances in pass protection. Quarterback Donovan McNabb passed for 376 yards, his second-highest total this season, and performed well directing the two-minute offense at the end of the first half and regulation.
Shanahan's decision to bench McNabb in favor of backup Rex Grossman during the final 1 minute 50 seconds in the Week 8 loss to the Detroit Lions stirred controversy for weeks. On sports-talk radio and Internet message boards, Redskins fans roundly criticized Shanahan and his son, Kyle, Washington's offensive coordinator, for the way they have handled the accomplished 12-year veteran in his first season with the franchise.
Against the Titans, however, McNabb calmly directed the Redskins as they took possession on their 22-yard line with 1:37 to play. Excluding downs on which he spiked the ball to stop the clock, McNabb completed 5 of 6 passes for 45 yards while guiding the Redskins from their 22-yard line to the Titans 29. Although Gano missed the kick, McNabb made a point with his play.