The word, in all its variations, has been uttered ad nauseum at Redskins Park this week. Embarrass. Embarrassing. Embarrassment.
No need to tell you, I'm sure, what players and coaches are talking about, not with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to town this weekend. They're talking about the last time the Eagles were at FedEx Field, Nov. 15, 2010, when Michael Vick and Co. eviscerated the Redskins on the "Monday Night Football" stage. The final score, if memory serves, was 59-28, and 35 of those Philly points came before the second quarter was 10 seconds old. It was a night of infamy like few others in Redskins history. Embarrass/embarrassing/ embarrassment only begins to cover it.
"Philly did anything they wanted in that game," defensive boss Jim Haslett said Thursday. "They could have scored 100 on us. They were playing at a high level, we weren't playing very well. We go on the field, they score; we go on the field, they score. I can't even talk about it anymore."
Actually, 100 points might have been a stretch for the Eagles, but 73 — the all-time NFL record — was definitely in reach, especially since they had 59 before the third quarter was over (more than five minutes before the quarter was over, to be exact). But Philly showed mercy, otherwise the Redskins might be saddled with the two worst defensive performances in league annals. (They gave up the aforementioned 73 in the 1940 title game against the Chicago Bears).
Sometimes, after a stinker like that, the coach will say, "We didn't even watch the tape. I burned it." According to Trent Williams, though, the Redskins "definitely looked at that tape. But you try to forget that type of stuff," he said. "It's kind of hard to remember because, as a human, your brain kind of puts the bad stuff out."
Yup, it goes right in the Outbox — or is it Recently Deleted Items? — along with all the other 59-28 games. Not that Williams has had many of those. At Oklahoma, he was usually on the other end of 79-10, 64-0 and 57-2.
Adam Carriker, on the other hand, has had some experience with humiliation. "Pretty much my [entire] high school career," he said. "We won two games in four years" at Kennewick High in Washington state.
The idea of avenging the Nightmare on Arena Drive is "a big inspiration," he went on. "You never want to have that happen to you again. But that was a long time ago. We've got a different team this year. I think things will play out a little differently."
Indeed, Mike Shanahan has turned over almost half the roster since the Monday night massacre. Twenty-two players who suited up for the game are no longer with the club, and nine starters have changed. It's one of the big reasons the Redskins are leading the NFC East at 3-1, far ahead of the faltering Eagles (1-4).
You'd think the Redskins' chances Sunday would be pretty good. They're coming off a bye week, while Philly has dropped four straight (and has been giving the ball away like Halloween candy). Still, it might be helpful to find out how the Redskins have done in these situations over the years. By that I mean: After giving up 50 or more points against a team — and basically had their helmets handed to them — have they usually beaten that team the next time?
We're dealing with a fairly small sample here because, well, how often have the Redskins allowed 50 points? As it turns out, it's happened eight times in their 80 seasons (going back to their days in Boston). Here are the other seven:
• Oct. 28, 2007 — New England 52, Washington 7 (at Foxborough, Mass.). Next meeting: Eight weeks from now at FedEx. Should be fun.
• Nov. 5, 1961 — New York Giants 53, Washington 0 (at New York). Next meeting (Oct. 28, 1962, also at New York): Giants 49, Redskins 34. Highlights: The Giants' Y.A. Tittle threw for 505 yards and a record-tying seven touchdowns.
• Nov. 7, 1954 — Cleveland 62, Washington 3 (at Cleveland). Next meeting (Dec. 5, 1954, at Washington): Browns 34, Redskins 14. Highlights: The Browns spotted the Redskins a touchdown, then scored the next 34 points.
• Oct. 10, 1954 — New York Giants 51, Washington 21 (at Washington). Next meeting (Oct. 24, 1954, at New York): Giants 24, Redskins 7. Highlights: In the rematch two weeks later, the Redskins came roaring out and ... fell behind 17-0 by halftime.
• Dec. 11, 1949 — Los Angeles Rams 53, Washington 27 (at L.A.). Next meeting (Nov. 25, 1951, at Washington): Redskins 31, Rams 21. Highlights: The Redskins rushed for 352 yards, which is still the club record.
• Oct. 26, 1947 — Chicago Bears 56, Washington 20 (at Washington). Next meeting (Nov. 28, 1948, at Chicago): Bears 48, Redskins 13. Highlights: The Bears racked up 41 points in the first half. (The only time the Redskins have yielded more in the first two quarters is when the Eagles hung 45 on them last October.)
• Dec. 8, 1940 — Chicago Bears 73, Washington 0 (at Washington). Next meeting (Nov. 16, 1941): Bears 35, Redskins 21. Highlights: After the Redskins' second TD, Bob Masterson defiantly removed his helmet and kicked the point-after bareheaded (for what it was worth).
To recap: In two of these "revenge" games, the Redskins nearly gave up 50 points again. In five of the six (not counting the bludgeoning by the Patriots), they lost by at least two touchdowns. In the one game they did win, it took a team rushing record to do it.
Conclusion: Revenge may be sweet, but - in these instances, anyway - it isn't easily accomplished. We'll see Sunday whether the Redskins are up to the task, whether last year's horror show against the Eagles is a big enough "inspiration," as Carriker put it.
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