- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2005

The Redskins could not lose this game.

They were 4-0 at home. They were out to atone for last Sunday’s controversial, heartbreaking loss at Tampa Bay. They faced a Raiders team that was 3-6 overall and 1-3 outside of the Black Hole. What’s more, they led 13-3 at halftime.

And yet the Redskins found a way to lose in the final 75 seconds to a Raiders team with no running game, a weak defense and a coach by the name of Norv Turner, master of the agonizing defeat.

Two weeks ago, the Redskins felt as if they were on top of the world: They had just ended a four-year losing streak to the Eagles and were talking playoffs.

Now, the Redskins are staring at a bleak January for the sixth straight season.

The game kicked off at 1 p.m., but the Monday Morning Quarterback feels seriously bleary-eyed this morning.

Q: Did I really see that? Tell me I drank from the wrong bottle and that we didn’t really lose to Norv at home.

A: I’m as shocked as you are. Losing on the road to the Broncos, Chiefs, Giants and Bucs is to be expected. But being cowed by Norv at home is embarrassing. Dan Snyder must be feeling mighty small this morning.

Q: Snyder fired Norv for losing back-to-back nail-biters at home to the Eagles and Giants when we were 7-6 and still in the hunt. Is he going to fire Joe Gibbs for losing back-to-back close ones to the previously punchless Bucs and the loathsome Raiders?

A: No way. Not even Snyder would dare dump a Hall of Fame coach during the season. RFK barely has half the seating capacity of the Big Ugly by the Beltway; otherwise, Danny might be ready to reclaim the stadium where Coach Joe ruled.

Maybe Jack Kent Cooke really did build his team’s house on an ancient Indian burial ground; not much has gone right for the Redskins since they moved to Landover.

Q: This was supposed to be one of the gimmes on the schedule. Are we going to lose at the Cardinals, too?

A: Hey, the Cardinals beat the Rams on the road yesterday. To be truthful, anybody can beat you, and you can beat anybody.

Q: Excuse me?

A: Sorry, I was channeling Coach Joe there for a minute. This was a game no team with serious playoff aspirations should lose.

Q: How could the coaches let Mike Sellers go back out there when he was still raging about getting plastered by Isaiah Ekejiuba? You just knew the volatile Sellers would do something stupid, which is what he did.

A: It was like sending Marty McSorley on the ice to stir things up, wasn’t it? Maybe the coaches were to scared to tell the 6-foot-3, 278-pound Sellers to stay put.

Q: Mark Brunell didn’t throw a pick and didn’t fumble until the game was decided. But Clinton Portis, who hadn’t lost a fumble all year, does it twice? How does that happen?

A: It was probably the fault of “Dollar Bill.” Maybe Portis can stop looking for who killed “Southeast Jerome” and look for his missing handle.

Q: Funny (not). How does such a well-coached team make more turnovers than Au Bon Pain?

A: Je ne sais pas, mon ami. Nine teams actually came into the weekend with more turnovers than the Redskins. Washington’s mistakes are magnified by its lack of takeaways. But it’s still amazing that an offense with so many veterans makes so many critical errors.

Q: How does middle linebacker Lemar Marshall wind up in single coverage on a bomb to speedy Raiders receiver Jerry Porter?

A: Probably by mistake. Lately, it seems like Gregg Williams is outsmarting himself at times. If one corner and a safety are shadowing Randy Moss, that still leaves two defensive backs to watch out for the dangerous Porter, especially on deep balls.

Q: Is Brunell reverting to last year? He hasn’t had a big game since the White Sox were sweeping the Astros in the World Series.

A: Brunell isn’t the disaster he was in 2004, but he’s also increasingly not the Pro Bowl lock he was during the first six games.

When the Redskins were 4-2, Brunell had 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. As the Redskins lost three of their past four, No. 8 had two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Q: With the Chargers, Cowboys and Giants all coming here, plus trips to St. Louis and Philadelphia, can we still make the playoffs?

A: It sure doesn’t look that way. It doesn’t even look likely the Redskins will finish with a winning record, which still would leave Turner the last coach to post one for the Redskins.

That was back in 1999, before Snyder was able to put his stamp on the team. Norv trumps Danny again.

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