Washington Redskins' effort in overtime goes to waste as Houston Texans roar back for 30-27 victory

Washington leads 27-10 in the third quarter, but Houston rallies to force overtime and wins on a field goal.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 20, 2010; 6:21 AM

Immediately after Houston Texans place kicker Neil Rackers made a game-winning 35-yard field goal, many Redskins players struggled to accept the disappointing developments for them in a 30-27 overtime loss Sunday at FedEx Field.

So much had gone well for Washington throughout most of a game in which they collapsed late.

"Just to be at home, and having the crowd behind you and getting up like we did, you just didn't expect this," tight end Fred Davis said. "You feel like you got the win sealed, so it was exhausting. Just emotionally exhausting."

Having squandered an opportunity to begin Coach Mike Shanahan's time with the team 2-0 was the cruelest blow. "It hurts," outside linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "It stings, man. We let this one go. We blew it. Could have easily been sitting here 2-0, very happy, regardless of what the score is. But right now, it hurts. We're 1-1."

Washington squandered a 17-point, third-quarter lead in losing to Houston (2-0), wasting a 426-yard passing performance from quarterback Donovan McNabb, who carried things offensively, with the team rushing for only 18 yards.

Houston Coach Gary Kubiak leaned on quarterback Matt Schaub (497 yards passing, three touchdowns) and wide receiver Andre Johnson (12 receptions, 158 yards, one touchdown) to beat Shanahan, his longtime friend, former coach, employer and mentor.

On fourth and 10 from the Washington 34-yard line, Schaub and Johnson teamed on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 2 minutes 3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Rackers's successful point-after kick tied the score at 27-27.

"Obviously, it's a great athlete making a play," Shanahan said. "He [Schaub] threw it up there; had a lot of pressure on him. I thought the quarterback did a good job of just kind of sitting back there, buying for some time, just kind of threw it up in the air. You've got a great athlete that has an excellent vertical jump and made a big play when you had to."

Playing without injured defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth (ankle), the Redskins limited running back Arian Foster to 69 yards and a 3.6-yard average. In a Week 1 victory over Indianapolis, Foster rushed for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

For Shanahan and his offensive coordinator, his son Kyle who formerly served as Kubiak's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, it was a frustrating outcome, in large part, because the Redskins failed repeatedly down the stretch - especially on special teams. Late in the fourth quarter, the Texans blocked place kicker Graham Gano's 29-yard field-goal attempt that would have extended the Redskins' lead to 10 points.

And then in overtime, Gano missed a potential 52-yard game-winner wide after Kubiak called a timeout to ice him. Gano sent the ball through the uprights on an initial kick, but Kubiak called timeout just in time. "I just wanted to make sure we made them line up and do it again," Kubiak said.

Television cameras showed Gano smiling as he walked to the sideline after the timeout to speak with special teams coordinator Danny Smith. On the first possession of overtime, Kubiak punted instead of permitting Rackers to attempt a 52-yard kick.

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