- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Near the end, the Washington Redskins‘ defense just couldn’t get the stop it desperately needed.

The Redskins allowed a touchdown on the opening drive of a 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, then shut down the Ravens’ offense for more than three quarters.

But with the outcome in doubt in the fourth quarter, the Redskins surrendered a clock-killing, 12-play drive that covered 83 yards, consumed 7:52 and resulted in a victory-clinching touchdown for the Ravens.

“When we came out on the field [with 11:22 remaining], we knew they were going to try to run the ball and run the clock, but I guess they wanted it more than we did,” defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery said Monday.

“They ran the same play a handful of times and just ran it down our throat,” defensive end Jason Taylor said. “We knew what they were running on some of the runs, and for whatever reason we couldn’t stop them. We were half a step short in the gap or the gap got a little too wide or the guy fell forward. There were a myriad of reasons why they got the first downs.”

The Redskins capitalized on Ravens turnovers at the Baltimore 26 and the Baltimore 30 to cut their deficit to 17-10 early in the fourth quarter.

The Ravens’ offense then took the field and played keep-away for almost eight minutes. Fullback Le’Ron McClain carried 10 times and receiver Mark Clayton once as the Ravens moved steadily downfield. Then, Derrick Mason beat Carlos Rogers on a double move for a 28-yard touchdown catch with 3:35 remaining.

“We had an all-out blitz, and with that double move, I don’t know how [Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco] had time to get the ball off,” Rogers said.

Said Redskins coach Jim Zorn: “That drive right there was the telltale of our football game.”

Adding to the frustration of a defense that ranks sixth overall and 10th against the run was that the same thing had happened three weeks earlier against Dallas. Burly Cowboys back Marion Barber burned up nearly six minutes of clock with 10 runs and a reception before quarterback Tony Romo kneeled down to clinch a 14-10 victory.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall said the loss to the Ravens hurt more than the division loss to the Cowboys because time is running short to clinch a playoff spot. Dallas and the Atlanta Falcons, both 8-5, are a game ahead of the Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles (7-5-1) are a half-game ahead.

“You’ve got everything you want right there in front of you, and for us to not take care of business is a little frustrating,” Hall said. “The good part about it is that we’re in the same situation we were in last week because the teams in front of us lost.”

Taylor said the Redskins will take their chances of winning a playoff tiebreaker if they beat Cincinnati, Philadelphia and San Francisco in their final three games.

“Our confidence is shaken a little bit, but I don’t think hope and faith are gone,” he said.

Horton’s MRI negative

An MRI on Chris Horton’s shoulder was negative, leaving the rookie strong safety day-to-day for Sunday’s game at Cincinnati. Defensive tackle Kedric Golston, sidelined the past two games, said the bone spurs in his ankles were feeling better. Zorn expects him to return this week. Cornerback Shawn Springs is less likely to be back after missing a sixth game with a chronically strained left calf.

Strongside linebacker Marcus Washington’s high ankle sprain is improving, but he likely will miss a fourth straight game. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin has added an abdominal strain to his chronically ailing shoulder. Middle linebacker London Fletcher and defensive end Andre Carter didn’t make their foot injuries worse by playing against the Ravens. Backup tight end Todd Yoder suffered a mild sprain of his left MCL during the first half. Yoder has played with a similar injury in the past and doesn’t expect to miss a game.

Portis passes Brown

Clinton Portis gained just 32 yards on 11 carries on Sunday, but that was still enough for him to pass Larry Brown and move into second place on Washington’s career rushing list with 5,876 yards. Hall of Famer John Riggins is the leader with 7,472 yards.

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