Down goes D.C.

Washington's 16-day losing streak

On Friday, Dec. 3 the Washington Wizards defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 83-79, at Verizon Center. It wasn't pretty - rookie point guard John Wall scored 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting - but it was the only victory a D.C. pro sports team would notch for more than two weeks. Click on each day below to read the blow-by-blow of all the gory details.

DAY 1 | Saturday, Dec. 4Capitals lose to Thrashers, 3-1

Caps shoot, but don't score

Losing
streaks
1
2
0

The Capitals fired 46 shots on Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec but came away with just one goal in a 3-1 loss to Atlanta. "You can have 100 perimeter shots and it looks good on a stat board," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But if they're not taking penalties cross-checking you in the back and tripping you in front of the net that means you're not fighting to get through there."

At least there was some good news on the college front: Virginia Tech dominated Florida State to win the ACC title and Georgetown defeated Utah State to improve to 8-0.

DAY 2 | Sunday, Dec. 5Giants pound Redskins; Wizards fall to Suns

A run-down feeling for Redskins

Losing
streaks
2
2
1

The Redskins' defense surrendered 197 rushing yards, while Donovan McNabb, right, and the offense turn over the ball six times in a 31-7 loss to the Giants. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is deactivated before the game after missing practice earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, the Suns trounced the Wizards, 125-108. Wizards rookie John Wall had 12 points and 12 assists, but Suns guard Steve Nash bested him with 20 points and 17 assists.

The region's only victory came off the field, as the Nationals signed free agent Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract.

Donovan McNabb
DAY 3 | Monday, Dec. 6Caps blow lead, fall in overtime

Caps stumble and fall again

Losing
streaks
2
3
1

The Capitals took a three-goal lead into the final period, but the Maple Leafs rallied to tie the game and eventually won it on a shootout in overtime. Washington also suffered another defensive blow as Jeff Schultz fractured his thumb while blocking a shot by Toronto's Luke Schenn on a penalty kill late in the second period, an injury that will sideline him for four to six weeks.

DAY 4 | Tuesday, Dec. 7Haynesworth suspended for rest of season; Wizards can't overcome Lakers

Haynesworth, over and out

Losing
streaks
2
3
2

The Redskins suspended disgruntled defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth for the final four games of the season. "Let's be honest," Coach Mike Shanahan said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening. "This is an easy decision. This isn't even hard. When I get rid of a guy, I do it because it's in the best interest of the team, and I consider everybody."

The Wizards rallied from a 19-point, second-half deficit against the Lakers to close within four points by the final minute, but Los Angeles pulled away to win, 115-108, and Washington lost its 11th straight road game.

Albert Haynesworth
DAY 5 | Wednesday, Dec. 8Without Wall, Wizards again stumble

Without Wall, Wizards fall

Losing
streaks
2
3
3

Wizards Coach Flip Saunders was forced to change his starting lineup minutes before tipoff against the Kings when John Wall decided he was unable to play for the seventh time this season because of soreness in his left foot. Kirk Hinrich was put back in the starting lineup, which had already been altered as Saunders gave rookies Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin their first career starts over the injured Andray Blatche and the recently ineffective JaVale McGee. The lack of familiarity on an ever-changing roster was evident as the Wizards committed 24 turnovers, appeared lost on defense, and lost their 12th consecutive road game, 116-91.

DAY 6 | Thursday, Dec. 9Capitals shut out at home

For Caps, a blank slate

Losing
streaks
2
4
3

The Capitals were shut out for the third time in 11 games, losing 3-0, as Panthers goaltender Michael Frolik made 36 saves. The Capitals were 0 for 8 on the power play. "My thoughts were our top six forwards weren't very good," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Quite frankly, if your best players aren't your best players . . . you're not going to have success. . . . You have to get production out of your best players, and it's not happening right now."

DAY 7 | Friday, Dec. 10Wizards fail in second half against Knicks

Second half dooms Wizards

Losing
streaks
2
4
4

After an impressive second quarter let them build a double-digit lead over New York, the Wizards came out flat to start the second half. They let a five-point halftime edge vanish in less than two minutes and shot miserably for the duration as a return to their home court failed to prove therapeutic in a 101-95 loss at Verizon Center. Amare Stoudemire scored a game-high 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Knicks won their seventh straight.

DAY 8 | Saturday, Dec. 11Capitals take many shots, score only two goals in fifth straight loss

Capitals come up short

Losing
streaks
2
5
4

The Capitals took 42 shots on goal - with another 42 attempts that never reached the intended target - including 17 in the third period, but couldn't complete the comeback and fell, 3-2, to the Colorado Avalanche. "That looked more like our team," said Coach Bruce Boudreau. "But when things aren't going well that's what happens. But it's on the upswing, it's not on the downswing. If we have an effort like that again [Sunday], we might get rewarded for it."

DAY 9 | Sunday, Dec. 12Botched extra point costs Redskins; Rangers crush Caps

The point of no return

Losing
streaks
3
6
4

Needing only a successful Graham Gano point-after attempt to almost certainly extend the game to overtime after driving 75 yards for a touchdown in the final 3 minutes 39 seconds, the Redskins found yet another way to lose when long snapper Nick Sundberg's high snap sailed through the hands of holder Hunter Smith. The miscue all but ended the game, as the Bucs won, 17-16.

The Capitals couldn't even keep it that close against the Rangers, falling 7-0, Washington's worst loss since the 2005-06 season.

DAY 10 | Monday, Dec. 13You can't lose if you don't play: Redskins, Caps and Wizards are all off
DAY 11 | Tuesday, Dec. 14Wall and Blatche site, Wizards fall

Wizards bring the pain

Losing
streaks
3
6
5

With the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in town, the Wizards were already at a severe disadvantage at full strength, but they all but conceded a loss hours before the game Wednesday night when starters John Wall and Andray Blatche were ruled out with knee ailments. Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 24 points as the Lakers won easily, 103-89.

DAY 12 | Wednesday, Dec. 15Capitals lose seventh straight, in overtime to Anaheim

Unlucky No. 7 for Caps

Losing
streaks
3
7
5

The Capitals played better against the Ducks, but couldn't catch a break and fell 2-1 in overtime, their seventh straight defeat. The Capitals gained a point for the first time in four contests but extended their longest losing streak since the 2006-07 season, when they lost nine consecutive games. "We liked the way we played," said Brooks Laich, who scored Washington's lone goal and finished with a game-high seven shots. "The result's not there, and ultimately that's what you want."

DAY 13 | Thursday, Dec. 16Wizards' rally vs. Nets isn't enough

Wizards can't finish comeback

Losing
streaks
3
7
6

The short-handed Wizards rallied from a 23-point, first-half deficit to tie the score in the fourth quarter, but they were unable to close the deal as the Nets prevailed, 97-89. The loss was Washington's 14th in a row on the road, tying the 1989-90 Washington Bullets for the longest in-season, road-losing streak in franchise history.

DAY 14 | Friday, Dec. 17Redskins decide to start Grossman over McNabb

McNabb is benched

Losing
streaks
3
7
6

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan benches six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb for the rest of the season and announces that Rex Grossman will start the remaining three games. "I told Donovan there's nothing he could do in the three games that would influence me of what he's done over the last 13 games," Shanahan said. Through his publicist, McNabb issued a statement saying he respects Shanahan's decision, "but I strongly disagree with it."

DAY 15 | Saturday, Dec. 18Arenas dealt to Orlando; Friedgen out at Maryland; Caps, Wizards lose

Arenas traded to Magic

Losing
streaks
3
8
7

The Gilbert Arenas era in Washington officially ended, as the Wizards sent the former all-star guard to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Rashard Lewis. "Gilbert was really the first player I signed when I got here and he did a lot for this organization, but I think it was time for a change," Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said during a news conference before the team's 95-94 loss to the Miami Heat.

Maryland asked football coach Ralph Friedgen to accept a buyout, ending his 10-year tenure.

The Capitals fell behind early in a 3-2 loss to the Bruins, their eighth straight.

DAY 16 | Sunday, Dec. 19Redskins can't come back against Cowboys; Caps finally win

Redskins lose; Caps win!

Losing
streaks
4
0
7

In his first start for Washington, Rex Grossman and the Redskins fell 16 points down against the Cowboys, mounted a furious rally that included a pair of two-point conversions, but ultimately fell, 33-30, on a late field goal.

But, more importantly, the Capitals scratched and clawed their way to a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, giving D.C. area pro sports teams their first win since Dec. 3. "It's unbelievable. It's like my second-best game ever after the ones where I won the Calder Cup," said goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who finished with 24 saves.

The Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2010.

© The Washington Post Company