All signs pointed to Redskins tight end Jordan Reed playing on Sunday night against the New York Giants.
But a pregame headache knocked Reed from the lineup, his second missed game in a row. Reed had expressed confidence that he would play after passing the necessary concussion tests last in the week and going through three practices. But the setback knocked him from the game. Washington next practices on Wednesday.
“Once he had a headache pregame, we could not go in that direction,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said.
And Reed wasn’t the only one sick or injured. Fellow tight end Niles Paul was also scratched with a lingering illness. Fullback Darrel Young sat for a second consecutive week with a hamstring strain.
That tested Washington’s depth. Tight end Fred Davis was again in the lineup with Logan Paulsen. He dropped a pass on Washington’s final drive. Running back Evan Royster was listed on the depth chart as the starter at fullback and struggled in his limited time at that spot.
Safety Reed Doughty sustains another concussion
The Redskins lost safety Reed Doughty to his second concussion of the season with just under three minutes left in the first half. Reed was injured after colliding with Giants fullback John Conner on a New York running play. He was then knocked to the ground by offensive lineman David Diehl. Doughty did not return.
After his first concussion on Oct. 20 against Chicago, Doughty was adamant that he would not return to the field until he felt it was completely safe to do so. It is at least the third concussion of his career.
Meanwhile, veteran middle linebacker London Fletcher sustained an ankle injury. Fletcher has played in 252 consecutive regular-season games and is the NFL’s current consecutive games played leader. He is one only four players in NFL history to appear in at least 250 consecutive games.
“Coming with an all out blitz, I just ran out there and made the tackle,” Fletcher said. “I think as I was getting up, somebody hit me and I ended up getting my ankle caught in a bad situation. Probably be pretty sore [Monday], but I think I’ll be okay.”
A Half Nelson
The strangest play of the night came late in the third quarter with Washington ahead 17-14. A drive stalled at its own 38 and, forced to punt, special teams disaster struck again.
Long snapper Kyle Nelson skidded his snap to punter Sav Rocca, whose kick was partially blocked and went just 18 yards,
“Just a miscommunication,” Nelson said. “I thought I heard something else. I was just thinking way too much.”
Rocca just managed to get the punt away. It landed at the New York 44. Unfortunately, on an exceedingly bad play, Nelson was also whistled for holding. He was unaware of that even after the game. But it gave the Giants the ball at the Washington 46. Quarterback Eli Manning needed just four plays to push his team into the end zone for a 21-17 lead.
Nelson admitted he shouldn’t have snapped the ball at all. When he tried to pull it back, it was too late and the ball skipped across the ground to a surprised Rocca.
“No. Believe me, that was a shock to me, too,” said Nelson. “I was just caught in the middle of a snap. I didn’t want to snap it and at the same time I wanted to snap it…Next time I’ll know if I hear something that I wasn’t sure about, I’ll just stop and if we take the penalty, we take the penalty. Maybe they’ll even jump offsides.”