Sep 19, 2010

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

Good evening! There was so much to like in this game, right up until the moment the fourth quarter began. Let's figure it out.

Hi Cindy, What's up with that dirty time out called right at the field goal?

Hey there. Nothing really "dirty" about it. As I said on Twitter, icing is delicious on baked goods, stinks in the NFL. Coaches do this all the time and it's incredibly irritating...and occasionally effective.

We won't be a serious team until we can run the ball...we can't put people away. Any idea when the running game will return?

Good question. I had a list of things I wanted to see today and I crossed a bunch of them off: touchdowns, a big game from McNabb, really effective offensive movement and a running game. There has to be more than just Portis. Larry Johnson was dreadful. No one else stepped up. The O line is so much improved, but there's only so much those guys can do.

Why didn't Shanahan call a timeout to ice the Texan fieldgoal kicker?

I asked myself that very question. The announcers alluded to it, saying Shanahan was nowhere near the refs. Maybe he felt that the distance made it a gimme.

Threw. That. Game. Away. I don't mind losing fair and square, getting well beat. But to be up 27-10 and then let the Texans score 17 unanswered... that's unacceptable. I have no high hopes for the Redskins, even had they won this one, but we *should* have won this one, we had a chance to steal a win against a possible playoff-bound team. What I want to know is, what happened to the secondary? We played very soft in the second half, far off the Texans time and again, allowing them the underneath passes. It was ugly.

That second half was dismal, specifically the fourth quarter. The Redskins seemed to be in control and it slipped away; I wouldn't say it was thrown away. Landry had an unbelievable game, he got dinged a couple of crucial points. Same with Doughty. The depth there remains a concern. 

Any news on Trent Williams? As a Seahawks fan, I know how much it hurts to have your rookie starting LT out for a while.

Mike Shanahan talking now, he says Trent Williams will have an MRI. Earlier, they'd said there was a sprain. We'll see what the MRI shows. Could be some torn tissue, maybe not. Some people will tell you that a sprain always means there's a tear of some sort, but there's no reason to panic. It didn't look like a bad injury.

I come from three generations of Redskins fans. I am ready to end the family legacy now. This game was absolutely atrocious. You have a 17 point lead and blow it in one quarter. That is not bad football. That is HORRIBLE football.

Really? Don't you have to be happy with the progress that's been made from last year? Sure, it's a wretched way to lose and the Redskins could be 0-2 right now after last week. But they finally showed progress on offense. The defense is what it is and that's a good thing. I can't believe you've stayed with 'em through Zorn and you're bailing now. I would say that what we've seen was atrocious football; this was merely bad.

That's what happens when you don't deliver the knockout punch. You can't fault the kicker. Redskins have no one but themselves to blame.

The Gano miss was huge. And so were the injuries as the game wore on. If they'd had a running game, the second half could have been different. They could have played ball-control, ran out the clock and moved the ball into FG position a couple of times. They don't have the horses for the ball-control they needed in the second half.

Not a question, just a reminder...Shannahan started the icing trend

Yes, he did! With any one else, you might think they'd regret that. I'll bet you he does not.

The Redskins have a chance to finish the game in the red zone and manage to get and easy field goal blocked. Suddenly the defense falls apart. Living in London I had to watch the game by internet, but this is not a sign of a team with confidence. Your thoughts?

Tough to be confident when you're the defense and you're getting shredded for over 400 yards -- that goes for both sides. It's just that the Texans got rolling at the right time and, to my way of thinking, had the better depth. You have to say that, on the ol' team-building spectrum, the Texans are farther along. The Redskins need more people at key spots, more depth. And, um, maybe a big ol' defensive end who's interested in playing. Or a coach who's interested in playing him.

Should I drink heavily after this game, or should I heavily drink?

Really, has drinking ever really solved anything or made anything better? Of course it has! Hope you've got some sick days at work. Want me to write you a note?

What was with the call on 3rd and 7 in OT at the 35 yard line. Why go for a TD when you could be more conservative with a short pass (slant or curl). At worst, you make it easier on the kicker. At best, you get a first down and continue the drive.

That's the way I roll, but NFL GMs aren't asking me to coach. (I could do better than Todd Haley, I think.) 

any word on the condition of trent williams?

See earlier answer. Shanaan: MRI on his knee. You can expect to know more tomorrow.

Cincy, are the Texans really that good, or was our defense mainly awful? Holes a mile wide in the middle of the field.

I did not realize my name is Cincinnati! You know the answer: it's both. The defense wore down; there's a lot for Haslett to look at. But the Texans really are good. The Texans came into this game riding a five-game winning streak (since last season, obvi) and their previous two wins were over the Patriots and the Colts. They're improving and growing. It's a cool thing to watch if they aren't playing the team you root for. 


Didn't Shanahan invent the late timeout to ice the kicker when he was in Denver? Ironic that his protege does him in with it today.

Yes, he did. I watched a lot of Broncos games as a Cheeves fan. You know, sometimes your own smart ideas can bite you on the buttocks. I'm pretty sure Mike Shanahan does not see the irony in that. 

Where do you see the Redskins record ending up this season?

I had 'em at 7-9 and I'm going to stand by that. 8-8 might put them in the running for a wild card on the first week of January. That would be fun. I think they're gonna fall just a little short of the playoffs, though. They have an old roster and injuries are gonna happen. 

Was that pass to Jones a catch, Jurgeson and Doc Walker thought not?

I believe it was a catch. You could see the tape on his forearm and you could see that the ball was between the ground and his arm. In any event, once the call was made the replay wasn't conclusive enough to overturn it. 

How many of us 1980s-1990's Real Redskins Fans love it when Danny Snyder has a bad day? I know I cannot be the only one. BTW, Long Live the Kubiak Timing.

Really? You can't mean that. ... Changing the topic: wouldn't you love to know what Kubiak and Shanahan said to each other? 

This is why I passed on Skins tix last year ( and this year) Love 'em but they have no identity...they always play up or down to the level of the opposing team. You watch, next week will be 'another close one' too

You're right. That is their MO. It used to be Jason Campbell's fault. It used to be Jm Zorn's fault.  There's been a ton of roster turnover since last year and I'm sure there'll be more this offseason, but Miek Shanahan has to figure this out. That's why they pay him the really really big bucks.

This team is not a playoff bound team unless it gets real lucky, but I think we saw real steps in the offense and another good lesson for them to learn how to finish.

That's why I say 7-9, 8-8. The offense looked better, but do you think Joey Galloway can keep up this pace? Who else besides Moss is gonna catch the ball? And where's the running game? 

You've gotta admit that this Redskins team is improved, don't you?

Yeah, I don't mean to be a downer. The team is better, offensively and defensively. And it's certainly better coached. You didn't really think they're go from 4-12 to 12-4, did you? They weren't that close to catching fire last year. This is gonna take time.

I know we got to Schaub occasionally, but he had all day in the fourth quarter. Was deactivating Haynesworth a mistake?

Well, he was hurt and couldn't go, Shanahan said. He's certainly a big body and he does make a difference when he's out there. He sprained his ankle Wednesday, missed practices and, well, you know what that means. Whether he couldn't go or whether the coach didn't want him is probably a matter of semantics. Perhaps in the past here or in Tennessee, coaches have shrugged, kept him active and put him in for enough plays to keep the offense on its toes. That isn't the way Shanahan is going to work, rightly or wrongly. 

Where's the Redskins running game? I thought that was a Shanahan specialty.

Larry Johnson is not the answer and there really isn't an RB who's stepped up to help Clinton Portis out. He's had two really strong games, but he's doing it by himself.

It was a terrible way to lose a game but maybe it evens out after last week. Can we trade Albert for Vincent Jackson? Also, kudos to Landry, he played like an All-pro!

Even what you have is a team that's going to be right around .500. You can't trade Albert Haynesworth for a tube of Neosporin and a box of socks. Everyone knows the Redskins want to be rid of him and no one has a big enough need to give up anything in return. It's what you call a buyer's market. Landry has had two really strong games.

I would like to see the Redskins return to their former glory but I do not think that it will happen until Dan Snyder has no involvement with the team.

I know you're not the only one who feels this way. I think he has far less involvement with Shanahan in charge. Just watch Shanahan; does he seem like he'd be into small talk with an owner? 

This could be the high-water mark. It was a game that was lost and whether there is improvement will define this coaching staff and group of players. Way too many relics--LJ, Galloway, on this roster

Oldest roster in the league and it's a long season. As for high water or low've got to like their chances in St. Louis.

I know he ended up winning....I know calling the timeout a split second before the field goal is legal....but that combined with the "I'm too much of a wuss to go for the winning field goal...I'm punting" decision....I GUARANTEE they don't make the playoffs with that kind of wussy coaching...congrats to him on the win, and they're going for an 8-8 season.

This was the first overtime game in the history of the Texans, so you've got to cut Kubiak a little slack. But only a little. Who punts in that situation??? You're wrong, though, about 8-8. They're gonna be better than that. 10 wins, I sayeth.

I agree we are significanlty better. This was an eminently winnable game, but we just don't come through at the right time. It always seems to be samo-samo at the end. It is better, and that is encouraging.

Baby steps, baby steps. Not easy, I know.

Why is Andre Johnson in 1 x 1 coverage? Even if you blitz, drop back someone else. Doughty is a great guy, but boy is he turning into a bad football player. Buchanon was let go by the Texans for a reason.

I like Doughty and I think he's a very capable backup. He's very, very smart...but you can't have him out there as much as he was tonight. Tend to agree on Buchanon.

I find it funny that people are so angry after this loss. Maybe I've had the high hopes beaten out of me by the last 10+ years of Redskins football, but I'm just impressed that the Skins scored 27 today, particularly after last week. If you told me before the season that the Skins would be 1-1 after two weeks with a win over Dallas, I'd have taken it in a second.

You actually get pizza with toppings, so there's that.

Portis looks like he is out of gas and Johnson's a free agent bust; the Redskins need a runner to grind out the clock. Do you think that is a direction they should go for the draft?

Depends on where they pick in the draft. I can't answer that until I know their picks for sure. But it would seem like an area they'd address.

Just curious... McNabb choked in the clutch. No line depth, no receivers and bottom line, the same result. Why should I pay the rest of my payments for NFL ticket for a sub par performance?

I wondered how you guys were gonna feel about McNabb. He had one of the best performances by a Redskins QB in decades. He can't play defense, too. Or kick. 

I agree that depth hurt us in this game but I think also starters did too. I think that some of the starters are too old to keep up in this style of defense and are not the right personnel to begin with. Would you say that the skins are 1 year away from being a playoff team or 2 years away?

Probably a year away from wild card, two from contending for the NFC East. Some of that depends on McNabb's health and whether he re-signs here.

Cindy, Though he did score on those short-yardage touchdowns, Portis rushed 13 times for 33 yards. I'm not sure I would call that a "really strong game."

I was referring to his overall performance. For the second game, he had some crucial blocks and he's been solid in pass pro. 

Whew. I've overstayed my welcome, but you guys were terrific. Thanks for joining me; I'll see you here next Sunday and on The Early Lead blog until then. Tracee Hamilton and Jason Reid will be chatting in the morning so ping them with your questions. They'll crank it up at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

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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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