With only two minutes left in the game, it looked like the Redskins were destined to capitalize on a defensive takeaway and drive the length of the field. Here were my exact thoughts at the 2-minute warning:
In the classic kiss-of-death scenario, the CBS crew flashed the Tom Brady stats that he hadn’t thrown an interception in 200 consecutive passing opportunities, good for best in the league.
Thank you, CBS statisticians.
Two plays later, Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson ended that streak, plucking the ball away from would-be receiver Tiquan Underwood in the back of the end zone. This follows in a long tradition of sports commentators ruining streaks for players, but the Redskins were the beneficiaries today.
In other television news, Brady was shown on the sidelines, trading obscenities with an assistant coach. Brady remained seated on the bench, but the assistant had to be restrained by other players, including Underwood and Bill Belichick. Whatever soap opera is being played out on the Patriots’ sidelines can only be a benefit to the Redskins at this point.
And that seemed like a logical perspective. By getting the takeaway, not only had ample time to march the length of the field, but they had the opportunity to tie or win it without giving Brady another chance with the ball.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Santana Moss was flagged for offensive pass interference on a goal line reception, pushing them back to the 15. On third-and-goal from the 10, Moss was hit as he made the reception, jarring the ball loose and causing an awkward hot-potato shovel pass to the safety in coverage.
By losing today, the Redskins ensure a losing season and eliminate themselves from playoff consideration. But for the first time all season, they stood toe-to-toe with a quality opponent. Excluding the two Cowboys games, they haven’t played all that well against bona fide playoff competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Patriots are as bona fide as it gets, and they were playing all of their star players. This was a Redskins team lacking both starting tight ends, both starting tackles (three offensive linemen total), and nearly pulling off something that 79 percent of football fans thought to be impossible.
What was the difference between the best team of the 2000s and your Redskins? Today, it was about five yards.
What fans should take solace in, is that this team has proven that they’re headed in the right direction. The guys that head coach Mike Shanahan called “developmental picks” and “guys that projected well,” are now working their way into the lineup and playing competently. Obviously guys like Roy Helu are exceeding simple competency.
The Redskins could have folded today in the first quarter when the score was 14-3 and the Patriots were rolling. This had all of the makings of a blowout, and no one would have been terribly shocked. But instead, they clawed their way back in, literally taking it down to the last minute.
If the youthful core on this roster can stay healthy and continue to develop, they’re going to beat teams like the Patriots and win games like today’s down the road. Unfortunately, it just didn’t quite happen today.
That’s all from FedExField, where the Patriots held on for the win: Washington 27, New England 34.