- Clinton Portis rushed for a pair of touchdowns against the Houston Texans. (Staff Photo/Jay Wescott)
Apparently the Washington Redskins have an affinity for nail-biters.
A week after a botched field goal gave the Dallas Cowboys new life, and the game came down to a last second play, the Redskins found themselves in familiar territory against the Houston Texans. This time, however, instead of watching an opponent shoot itself in the foot, the Redskins were victims of self-inflicted wounds, and fell 30-27 in overtime.
After dodging two fourth-quarter bullets, the Redskins finally succumbed and allowed the Texans to tie the game at 27-27 with just more than two minutes left thanks to a 34-yard touchdown reception by Andre Johnson. An inability to answer back brought on overtime.
The Redskins had had their opportunity to slam the door on the Texans, having reached the Houston 5-yard-line with 6:40 left in regulation.
But on third-and-1, right tackle Jammal Brown jumped off sides, to back his team up. After an incomplete pass, Washington had their deja vu field goal moment. Last week it was a bad exchange from the snapper and holder. This week, Fred Davis didn’t pick up Bernard Pollard off the corner, and the Houston DB blocked what would’ve been a 29-yard field goal attempt.
It looked as if the Redskins would dodge the bullet when the defense held, but the offense couldn’t move the ball, and had to punt again. Eight plays and 81 yards later, following a 34-yard pass from Matt Schaub to Johnson, the game was tied.
Things went from bad to worse for the Redskins. Prized rookie left tackle Trent Williams went down on a left knee injury, and Donovan McNabb got sacked for a big loss. Then a holding penalty on Stephon Heyer (Williams’ replacement) backed Washington up into the shadow of their own end zone.
The Redskins briefly avoided disaster, but an inability to capitalize on another defensive stand at the start of overtime, and missing a 52-yard field goal attempt (which came after a Houston timeout nullified Graham Gano’s successful initial attempt), Washington let the Texans roll downfield and win on a field goal.
Although they were much more successful on the offensive end this week than last week the Redskins are still missing a key element. The running game. This Redskins’ air attack is indeed impressive. Kyle Shanahan drew up play after play in which wide receivers, tight ends, even running backs ran free and were easy targets for McNabb, who connected with eight receivers while throwing for 426 yards and a touchdown while completing 28 of 38 attempts.
Meanwhile, the team rushed for a combined 18 yards on 17 attempts. Clinton Portis had two touchdowns, but only 33 yards on 13 carries. Larry Johnson had two carries for negative-seven yards, and Santana Moss lost eight yards on a reverse attempt.
The lack of balance did the Redskins in.
At the time that a team would like to put the ball on the ground and grind out precious clock, the Redskins struggled to pick up yards on the ground, and had to punt when unsuccessful, leaving chunks of playing time on the clock. Meanwhile, when the Texans had the ball, they mixed in the run to keep the Redskins off-balance.
Houston even showed this on the final drive, relying on Arian Foster to pick up a few extra yards while running out more clock before they attempted the field goal.