The Washington Post

Redskins vs. Lions recap

Oct 31, 2010

Post blogger Cindy Boren will be online immediately following Washington's match-up with Detroit to talk about the game.

Happy "faux" holiday! I'm thinking that having a lot of candy around the house might not be a good thing after a game like this one; I see a lot of emotional eating on the horizon. Who had QB controversy in this week's pool? Let the jibba and the jabba begin.

I'm not some irrational Donovan McNabb hater, I recognize his skill and talent, but tell me how his play isn't costing the Redskins games this season? The Redskins get turnovers that the offense can't exploit, today we saw a monster day on special teams go wasted... the offensive line still looks awful and penalties kill us, but if you're a Superbowl-veteran QB, how do you not compensate for that at least a *little* bit? The Skins have so many holes (and are getting old in a lot of spots), that it'll be a shame to have to hunt down a "QB of the future" next draft, but it looks more and more like we have to do that-- I can't see *this* McNabb getting signed here, not under Kyle Shanahan's offense.

It's just not working on any level, is it? But is it McNabb or the fact that his mechanics have been messed with? It's a given that the lack of an offensive line and WRs are a problem. But how much of this one do you put on Shanahan? From the decision to go for 2's to putting in Grossman (was McNabb hurt?) to ending up with one many times did McNabb get hit at the start of the game?  I'm waiting to hear Shanahan's explanation for what we saw today. Also, I'll remind you that they're 4-4 at the half, about where most thought they'd be.

Substituting Grossman for McNabb... what, did Mike Shanahan feel left out with those two fake field goal attempts run by Zorny last year? Worst coaching decision of 2010 so far, of any team.

At the moment, I agree with you...I'm eagerly awaiting Shanahan's postgame presser and an explanation. McNabb didn't seem to be hurt. 

Really trying to remain rational, but even though it could be a train wreck with the less than stout 0-line I'd throw Rex into the fray. (Teeing it up for you) How much worse could the offense be?

Anthony Armstrong says he doesn't know anything about McNabb...this is gonna get interesting. But back to you, Mr. or Ms. Gross, Man...really, I don't think you can throw Grossman in there unless McNabb is hurt. I would submit that the offense could be worse, given that I saw a quick six on Grossman's first drive. I really am eager to hear from the coach and McNabb.

Thanks for putting in Rex Grossman. We really appreciate it. Sincerely, The Lions

Oof. In fairness to Shanahan and Grossman, the game kinda had that slipping-away feel to it. I think the Skins were gonna lose it no matter who was the QB.

where was it? What happened to McNabb? I know he has not been as good as everyone thought but this is ridiculous!!!!

Update...Shanahan presser update (paraphrasing): Rex, knowing how to run that offense in less than two minutes, knowing the terminology, "gave us the best chance to win." JReid asked if McNabb could have played and Shanahan said yes. He says Grossman knows the offense better. 

Now, your question. Trent Williams had a horrible game. I don't know why Derrick Dockery wasn't in there, but he has to be better than what you got from Brown and Heyer, no? I'm not sure what happened with McNabb...his coach appears to have no faith in him with the game on the line. Isn't that what Shanahan is saying? Where do you go from here with that?

is the MUCH better team. Why is it that when we play hapless teams they win?

Detroit was a dangerous team, coming off a bye and getting Matt Stafford back, for a team looking to get to its bye week and knowing it's either going to be 5-3 or 4-4. Make mistake, the Lions aren't that bad. That Suh guy, despite his girlish name, is for real.

Win or lose, the Redskins were but two minutes away from their bye week. You want to change quarterbacks, you can do it at the half, you could do it for a start, you can definitely do it for a bye. What you CAN'T do is do it for the last two minutes of a game. What Mike Shanahan did was ruin the Redskins season with one call. He demonstrated to everyone he has no faith in his champion quarterback, McNabb and his teammates will recognize that. Any other way, it might have been the right call... this way, I don't see how the Skins recover this season.

I agree with your premise: that that was the exact wrong time to switch QBs. It was jaw-dropping, gobsmacking, what-the-what material. It's Week 8 and McNabb doesn't measure up to Shanahan standards?

I don't know yet if Shanahan ruined the season for the Redskins; no one does. But you have to wonder if this isn't the obvious manifestation of what has been going on between the Shanamen and McNabb and changing his technique and struggling in this offense.

In any event, it will be fascinating to watch. Shanahan just said McNabb will be the starter in two weeks...he's either playing to prove something to this coach or to another team (Minnesota, Arizona) in the offseason. 

What's the deat with McNabb...pathetic call with Grossman. What a loser this team is again...just no offensive line...same old always. Go Capitals..

I know one thing for sure: this makes the bye week a real stinkbug, doesn't it?

Is it time to develop the young guys and play for lower picks next year?

This is the point, in every chat, where I take a deep breath and remind you that they're 4-4 at the halfway point. They should be 5-3, 6-2 with a win over St. Louis. But they're 4-4 and, if they can duplicate that, they're in the thick of a playoff hunt. Now, though, there's an accompanying psychodrama. 

Once again, the Redskins and its supporters assumed this was a win, as the Lions are "inferior." Facts are facts. Redskins are 4-4 this year, and one of the 5 worst teams in the NFL in the past ten years. Plain and simple. So, stop the arrogance, stop the lack of respect of other teams. The Redskins are a mediocre team, and have no reason to feel superior over any other team in this league.

Hi, Andy. I think most people think this team was about a .500 team at best. I don't think people had untamed expectations despite the new coach and QB. The folks I know, and I know some supersmart Redskins fans, all thought this was a real losable game. Most of the folks I know hoped for 10-6, but were realistic about 7-9 or 8-8.

Was the Lions D-line really that much better than the 'Skins have seen so far this season, or did the O-line take a step backwards today? It looked like some of both to me.

Oh, I absolutely think it's both. Suh is a beast. Trent Williams did not have a great day, but when you've got Heyer and Brown struggling and the center stepping on the QB's tootsies...I'd score it 65-35, with the o line getting 65 percent of the blame.

Is he hurt? I'm a Lions fan, and we had no TV for the game. I know he was harassed big time, but nothing was said about why he was replaced.

Shanahan said after the game that McNabb is not hurt, at least not physically. He'll be the starter when the team returns from the bye. It's gonna be interesting to observe the state of McNabb's psyche then.

Kyle Shanahan has to go - yes? Atrocious play calling - and Heyer does not help !

Boy, is that a tricky one. He's the coach's kid! He does seem to be trying to run an offense suited to the Texans and their QB, rather than to McNabb and something resembling the kind of offense Dad ran in Denver. I wonder how that relationship is going and I'm guessing we'll never hear from the Shanamen. Working for your pops has to be the toughest thing and if you complicate it by having different philosophies...oy!

This seems vaguely Zornlike. Maybe it's a Halloween thing, but the decisions, the belief that the QB can't execute your system all seem very 2009 to me. Isn't that what Zorn said about Campbell, that he wasn't quite capable of grasping the offense?

Look at the Haynesworth situation. Haslett had to rethink to get some production out of him; the team may be at the same point with McNabb.

because of the lack of offense on the skins today I ate an entire bag of heshey kisses!!! They were good - the skins weren't

I just gave Milky Ways to my neighbor's 3-year-old, who was wearing his Orakpo. Much like an offensive lineman, I couldn't stop hugging him.

I suggest you turn off the lights, pretend no one is home and eat all the candy.

Instead of changing QB, they should've changed the whole line, he had no protection. Crazy

I don't want to completely exonerate McNabb here. Let's remember that he did throw into triple coverage with his team leading there at the end. That's a pretty significant hairball to cough up...but the line play is just horrific.


What happened to Kyle's vaunted offense that tore up the league last year? I know the Redskins don't have the same personnel as the Texans but they looked atrocious today!

UPDATE from McNabb's presser, paraphrasing:

"[Shanahan] makes the decisions. I go with it and cheer for my team....He's the head coach. the decision was made and I went with it. I have confidenct in myself. The guys arund me have confidence in me. You want to be out there with your team to sustain a drive and win a game."

That's a good question. The Redskins don't have the offensive personnel -- remember the Texans have had some high draft picks -- that Houston does. Not at QB, RB, WR or on the OL. 


When was the last time the Redskins had all 3 aspects of their game firing at the same time? I remember a 52 pt game against San Fran but, before that, 1999?? has been a loooonnng time since they had a laugher. You guys tell me: when was the last time you saw it all coming together for the Redskins and they coasted? When was the last time you guys were comfortable (I ask this knowing that you're had good reason to be a jumpy lot) with their performance?

Who cost the Redskins this game: Donovan McNabb, Donovan McNabb, or Donovan McNabb?

Not Rex Grossman? Not the decision to twice go for two? I see it as a tie between McNabb and Shanahan.

There is no way this loss could be pinned on McNabb when you consider the awful protection he received all day long so why on earth would he be benched on such a crucial drive? This seems to do nothing more than set back the 'Skins when they were having a very good season.

Haven't you seen enough of Donovan McNabb over the years (whether against the Redskins or someone else) to know that he's capable of leading a comeback? Sure, he stunk today, but he's the guy who gives you the best chance, isn't he? He's Donovan McNabb. 

Before the season, I was talking to fans and we were looking at the schedule and predicting the record. You knew they upgraded at QB and coach and you knew that each would result in a win or two more than Zorn/Campbell. Well, today the L is on them.


So the defense had fat Albert and still couldn't do better? Where is the offense?

Hey, Haynesworth is fixed and now something else is broken. That's this team. This team was a fixer-upper and everybody knew that coming to the season.

The Skins had their chance to beat the Lions no doubt, but the REFS had some interesting calls in this game against the Skins, but the Skins should have still stepped up and pulled this one out. My question did McNabb get benched because of the pick he threw with 4 minutes left, to me that was the difference in winning/losing this game. Banks was awesome today.

Judging by how angry Shanahan was with the media (the was surprising given our extremely high lovability factor), I would say that's exactly why McNabb got yanked. He threw into triple coverage. But you've got to give him the chance to try to win the game...don't you? I mean, you traded for him.

Banks was indeed awesome. Gotta be special teams POW, right?

I lost the Marine Corps Marathon too!!! Dagnabbit!!!!

You should have let someone else run the last two miles for you.

In every Redskins game except one this season, the favored team has lost. Why can't we just win the games we're supposed to win, why this bizarre pattern?

Oh, why is there air? Why is the sky blue? Okay, there are answers for those two questions. There's no explaining the Redskins and this weirdsville pattern. What? Your question was rhetorical? Oh. 

Is there a place we can stream the post-game press conferences?

Check Comcast's website. 

Hello, Cindy. Thanks for taking these questions. At 11 years old, I went to Tiger Stadium on Thanksgiving Day with my late uncle, and saw the Lions crush the Packers with their only loss of the season. We're coming back, and no one wants to play us now. Forward down the field, A charging team that will not yield. And when the Blue and Silver wave, Stand and cheer the brave. Rah, rah, rah. Go hard, win the game. With honor you will keep your fame. Down the field and gain, A Lions victory!

Those Matt Millen years had to warp you a little, no? I like the Lions a lot. I like Jim Schwartz a lot (despite the tweets about what the tunes he's jamming to on his ipod; he has excellent musical taste, I just prefer coachier coaches). I work with a guy from Detroit and I've told him since Week 1 that I like his team this year. So there. And congrats to you. 

As if we've never heard of a boy named Sue?

I was just lamely trying to make you laugh through your tears. 

If that is the case, why didn't he start Grossman?

Because he didn't blow a fuse over McNabb until the fourth quarter. 

why substitute for mcnabb? now we have a quarterback controversy. mcnabb is the leader of the team. quarterback controversy is the last thing we need and taking away from a positive leader isn't going to help. it's the line's fault, not his.

Just as nature abhors a vacuum, this town seems to need a QB controversy. I agree with you. 

Oh please, people, our O-line is horrible. Again. No quarterback can do well under such circumstances. I do see no McNabb after this year though as we truly are rebuilding. It is very clear. We need receivers after O-line. With Shanny, and a good O-line, we know that any running back will do. So fix O-line please ... pretty please.

I'd go with O line, RBs and then WRs (a running game can make a passing game go). But otherwise, we agree. 

I know this year's team has a better record (so far), and I know you are what your record is, but.....can you really tell that much of a difference, by the eye test, between this year's team and last year's? I mean, really? And if you can, please explain it to me. Thanks!

Special teams are better, there are big plays that haven't been seen in a couple of years. Again, this wasn't all going to magically change in 10 months' time.

After today, there can't be any uncertainty left about why the 'Skins haven't re-signed McNabb. Hard to imagine more clear-cut vote of "no confidence" than pulling a veteran QB with under 2 minutes and the game on the line. He may play again this year, but it's hard to believe he's a Redskin next year.

Agree, but it's tough to tell whether it isn't mutual or whether perhaps McNabb isn't in any hurry to sign. If you're McNabb, the smart thing to do, right from the get-go, would have been to play out the season here and then see whether this is the best fit or whether perhaps another team (Arizona, Minnesota) would be a better fit. 

Didn't it strike you that things started to go downhill when the Redskins encroached on the field goal attempt which lead to the Detroit TD placing Detroit ahead?

The encroachment penalty came at a horrible time and, you're right, it was indeed huge. A tipping point.

Is it just me or could Moss have stripped the ball easily from the Detroit lineman who made Grossman fumble, possibly running it deep into Lions territory afterwards? I hate to say it but despite all the yards Moss has put up this season, I think he's not the receiver he was 2 or 3 seasons ago. He seems afraid to take people one on one in space. I'd like to know what his yards after the catch are this year vs past seasons.

Perhaps, but I think the offense may have been in a state of shock, too. I know you don't expect that, but they had to be feeling weird, too.

Should we draft o line in draft or a qb ?

O line. Maybe you get a free-agent QB.

Cindy Boren writes: Shanahan said after the game that McNabb is not hurt, at least not physically. He'll be the starter when the team returns from the bye. It's gonna be interesting to observe the state of McNabb's psyche then. Cindy, are you admitting that he is prone to choking?

No, I'm just saying that I wonder what his state of mind will be. If your status is that precarious, if your coach calls you out on that big a platform, isn't it going to affect how you mentally and mess with your confidence? Aren't you going to be looking over your shoulder?  

Cindy - I'm sorry. You don't pull your best QB out with 2 minutes left in the game because of the fauz premise that sext Rexy may know the offense better. I mean, do you pull Peyton Manning in the last two minutes? Heck no. Any why is no one asking about the poor O-line - hello? Where is Dockery? I cannot believe that he could be worse than Cory 'I can't block anybody' Lichtensteiger... Sorry - rant over

And it was a good, succinct rant. Excellent!

hey cindy, lifelong skins fan here. at the midway point, i certainly hope we do not give mcnabb crazy money....his performance thus far is just not going to get it done long term. geez.....campbell has looked better in oakland that mcnugget does for us. this is so frustrating. hail.....i guess!

He hasn't done well, that's for sure. But why mess with his mechanics after all these years? 

Instead of repeatedly going for two, the PAT would have made it a two FG game for a tie. Not ideal, but it keeps you safe and in relative control. By missing them, not only did we keep them in the game, we really gave it to Detroit. The worst part, the decision to pull McNabb... he's gone after the season. We'll be drafting someone in the middle of the pack or looking for a scrub free agent.

I thought going for two in those situations was a really poor decision.

At the end of the year, will we still believe the trade for McNabb for a 2nd-round pick was a good idea? My Magic 8-Ball is starting to lean towards 'No'.....

Possibly. There's half a season to go, so let's be patient and see what unfolds. 

On that note, I'm going to sign off. Thanks for joining me. You can talk more tomorrow morning with Tracee Hamilton and one of the Redskins beat writers (not sure exactly which one) at 9:30 a.m. See you on The Early Lead and on Twitter (@CindyBoren). Hit me there if you want to keep talking. Have a safe Halloween

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Cindy Boren
Cindy Boren blogs for The Early Lead and has edited Redskins and NFL coverage for the Post. Follow her at @cindyboren on Twitter.
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