Routine extra point turns into disaster for Washington Redskins in loss to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Two missed field goals and a botched snap on an extra point in the final seconds ruin the Redskins on a cold, wet day at FedEx Field.
By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 12, 2010; 9:13 PM

After receiver Santana Moss hauled in a touchdown that pulled Washington to within one point, all that separated the Redskins from overtime was nine ticks of the clock, a light rain and a routine 20-yard extra point that should have tied the score.

As he trotted onto the field, placekicker Graham Gano was already thinking ahead.

"I was envisioning an overtime field goal coming," he said. "I was going to win the game."

Others weren't as confident. Gano had missed two field goals in the first half against Tampa Bay. Because of the conditions, even though the first-year kicker was a perfect 22 of 22 on extra points this season, little was guaranteed.

"We had a couple guys saying, 'Go for the two, go for the two,'" said cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

The snap was high and the ball sailed through the hands of holder Hunter Smith. Gano never had a chance to swing his leg - he was instead bowled over by Tampa Bay players - and the Redskins lost their eighth game of the season Sunday, 17-16, to the Buccaneers.

There was no shortage of players willing to accept blame for the botched play that sealed Washington's fate.

"What happened tonight is my fault," said Smith.

Nick Sundberg conceded that his final snap was far from perfect.

"I think it was a little higher than I wanted it to be," said Sundberg, the first-year long snapper.

Said Gano: "I got to make those kicks, and hopefully I'll get another opportunity."

Despite the disastrous conclusion, the 3 1/2 minutes that led up to the extra point attempt unfolded about as well as coaches could have hoped. They had relied on running back Ryan Torain's legs all day, but, trailing by seven points, it was Donovan McNabb's arm that they needed in the hurry-up offense.

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