Redskins Are in Harm City
Injuries Mount, Hopes For Playoffs Dwindle
Monday, December 8, 2008; Page E01
BALTIMORE, Dec. 7 -- One by one they went to the sideline late Sunday night, key members of the Washington Redskins no longer able to contribute during their latest challenging situation. And with each injury, the Redskins' once-promising season seemed to slip away faster.
The Baltimore Ravens became the latest opponent to deliver a significant blow to the Redskins' playoff chances, racing to an early lead and remaining in charge throughout a 24-10 victory at M&T Bank Stadium.
Washington's offense often appeared overmatched against the NFL's second-ranked defense even when at full strength at the outset, and the Ravens' task only became easier when left tackle Chris Samuels and right tackle Jon Jansen were forced from the game with injuries.
Jansen left in the first half because of a sprained knee and Samuels -- the Redskins' top offensive lineman -- suffered a triceps injury at the beginning of the fourth quarter that finished his night.
Rookie safety Chris Horton also played sparingly and had his right arm in a sling after the game, and top running back Clinton Portis, who has been slowed by knee, hip and neck injuries among an array of physical problems, had a limited role as the Redskins (7-6) lost for the fourth time in five games and dropped to last place in the NFC East.
Horton declined to discuss his injury. Portis, however, intimated he was benched by head coach and play-caller Jim Zorn in favor of backup Ladell Betts. Because Portis didn't practice this week, Zorn said, the Redskins weren't not going to lean as heavily on him on third downs and in pass protection.
"There ain't nothing wrong with me," Portis said.
Amid the mounting injury concerns and questions about how roles will be filled in the final three games, what was known Sunday was that the Redskins' downward spiral has continued. They have three games remaining and still aspire to qualify for an NFC wild-card berth, but achieving that goal has become much harder, many coaches and players acknowledged.
"We've got to get to 10 wins and see what happens, but that means we've got to win our last three games to make it happen," middle linebacker London Fletcher said. "Is there time? There is, but we don't have any time to waste. We have no choice. We can't lose again.
"Yeah, we have some injuries now, but injuries are part of the sport that we play. Each team has injuries and the next guy has to be ready to play. You would like to have your top guys in the game, especially now, but you just have to adjust and go from there."
Jansen went out late in the second quarter and was replaced by Stephon Heyer. Samuels, who has been slowed by a right knee injury, grabbed his arm at the start of the fourth. He had been battling standout linebacker Terrell Suggs, without much success, and was replaced by little-used reserve Justin Geisinger.
With the Redskins needing seven yards on third down at the Baltimore 12-yard line, Suggs beat Geisinger, who had no help from a tight end or running back, for a 13-yard sack of quarterback Jason Campbell (21 of 37, 218 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions). Shaun Suisham then kicked a 43-yard field goal that cut the Ravens' lead to 17-3 with 13 minutes 40 seconds remaining.