This wasn’t supposed to be close. The Chargers laid waste to the Bills last week. The Redskins, meanwhile, blew a late lead yet again and lost — to Norv Turner and the Raiders, for crying out loud. The Redskins were beat up mentally and physically.
But on a balmy Sunday when 10 percent of the crowd decided not to show up at the Big Ugly by the Beltway, the reeling Redskins summoned the will to take a 10-point edge over the defending AFC West champion Chargers into the fourth quarter.
The Redskins blew that lead but still had the game won: They had a first down at the San Diego 31 with 1:04 left and the score tied. A game-winning field goal seemed imminent. The Monday Morning Quarterback felt pretty sheepish for picking the Chargers big.
Then, like usual, the Redskins did what they do best: found a way to lose.
Now, the nation’s capital is heading into another December to forget.
Q: Why does this keep happening? Legendary chokers like Maryland basketball, Syracuse basketball and the Red Sox have won titles in this millennium, and we can’t even make the playoffs.
A: Well, the Redskins did make the playoffs in 1999. Still, it is incredible to watch so many different players and teams come up small. It’s almost like it’s destiny.
Q: What was Casey Rabach thinking when he threw down Jamal Williams with the Redskins in field goal range in the final minute of regulation? Even Dan Snyder would have to admit that was a blatant hold.
A: Rabach vamoosed from the locker room before it was opened to reporters, but I’ll venture he would have said he was trying to make a block and got a little carried away. It was a killer penalty.
Q: How does the defense hold LaDainian Tomlinson in check all game, then let him go for a 32-yard touchdown to tie the game and a 41-yarder to win it in overtime?
A: The Redskins have a good rush defense, one that was bolstered yesterday by the unanticipated return of top run-stuffer Cornelius Griffin. But when a player as talented as Tomlinson gets the ball 32 times, he’s bound to make big plays. At some point, LT is gonna getcha.
Q: Have we ever lost three in a row like this? I feel like my heart was ripped out.
A: It wasn’t that long ago, actually. The Redskins lost 20-17 at Carolina, 24-23 at Miami and 24-20 at home against New Orleans just two years ago under Steve Spurrier.
Q: But that team wasn’t as good as this one, was it?