- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the first night of the rest of Bruce Allen’s life, the Redskins treated him to the full Dan Snyder Experience, the kind of performance their fed-up fans have been subjected to more times than they’d care to remember these past 11 seasons.

Welcome to our nightmare, Bruce. And don’t think you can turn this franchise around — like your old man did in the ‘70s — by swinging a 15-player deal with the Rams. For one thing, the Rams don’t have that many players you’d want.

Yes, it was another cover-your-eyes Monday night at FedEx Field. It was 7-0 after the Giants’ first offensive series, 14-0 after their second and hopeless-to-nothing (read: 24-0) by halftime. In between scores, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Co. worked over poor Jason Campbell so mercilessly that he had to go to the locker room for repairs.

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Actually, Campbell’s sprained shoulder might have been the most positive development of the evening for the home team. Given the way his offensive line was swinging and missing at pass rushers, his injury could have been a lot worse, possibly even fatal.

Anyway, the Redskins’ new general manager got to see it all, got to witness for himself the handiwork of his predecessor, Vinny Cerrato. The Redskins didn’t make a first down until the last few minutes of the first half (at which point they were being outgained 236 to minus-2), missed the extra point when they finally did push across a touchdown and played perhaps their most miserable game in a season of miserable games.

It’s hard to say what brought on this 45-12 defeat, inasmuch as the Redskins had been making decent progress in recent weeks. Maybe it was just a case of running into a desperate New York club whose playoff hopes were all but extinguished. Or maybe Jim Zorn’s beaten-up team just hit a wall after playing over its head for better than a month. Then again, maybe the Giants really, really didn’t like the all-burgundy Washington uniforms.

“We’ve been playing so well lately,” Campbell said. “I didn’t see this coming. All year we’ve been blocking out a lot of things” — injuries, coaching staff upheaval and now Cerrato’s “resignation” — “and doing pretty good. But tonight…”

Whatever the explanation, the Redskins might have done Allen a favor by giving him a glimpse of the sheer magnitude of their problems. We’re not just talking about on-field problems, either. We’re talking about empty seats — too many of them — and a FedEx crowd that has lost its patience with the club… and with an owner who keeps failing to deliver.

There might not have been as many boos in George Allen’s seven years as coach here as there were Monday night. And for George’s son, the sound of them must have felt like a helmet in the ribs. These aren’t your father’s Redskins, Bruce, and these aren’t the Redskins fans of yesteryear. They’ve had to sit through too much bad football, too many games like the one you just watched. It doesn’t take much anymore for them to start voicing their disapproval — or even to head for exits.

And on this night, they had every reason to. The Redskins suffered a complete, utter breakdown against the Giants. To find a more embarrassing loss, you’d have to go back to the 52-7 whupping by the Patriots two years ago. There’s one big difference between the two games, though: The Patriots were in the process of putting together a perfect regular season; the Giants, on the other hand, were a very imperfect 7-6 coming into FedEx.

Which is why Zorn, who could find a ray of sunshine on the dark side of the moon, began his postmortem with a long, loud sigh. “It got away from us early,” he said. “It was hard to watch.”

A couple of moments stood out Monday night, and hopefully Allen noticed. The first came when Albert Haynesworth broke through to sack Manning in the second quarter and forced New York to settle for a field goal. “How ‘bout that defense,” the scoreboard exulted.

How ‘bout that defense? Greg Blache’s boys had been run over to that point — and the field goal increased the Giants lead to 17-0. Nothing is more symbolic of the tone-deaf, head-in-the-sand Snyder Era than “How ‘bout that defense” when the ‘D’ is getting demolished.

A short time later, trailing 24-0, the Redskins looked like a high school team trying to run a gadget play on fourth down from the New York 20. They lined up most of the offense wide right, snapped the ball to punter Hunter Smith in the shotgun, and he was lucky to get off a wobbly pass before being buried by unblocked Giants. Naturally, it was intercepted — and almost returned for a touchdown by free safety Aaron Rouse.

Mickey. Mouse. But then, the Redskins have looked Mickey Mouse so often in the last decade that it’s a wonder Snyder didn’t buy Disney instead of Six Flags. It would be nice if Bruce Allen addressed that issue — and sooner rather than later, too. It would be nice if he put the professional back in professional football in Washington.

With every touchdown the Giants scored, every sack (five) and quarterback hit (12) the offensive line gave up, you could almost feel the price of the Redskins’ next coach — Mike Shanahan, whoever — go up. It’s going to take a ton of work to make this team relevant again, as Allen certainly understands now. And if he doesn’t, the Redskins have two more games against playoff-caliber competition (Dallas, then San Diego) to hammer the message home.

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