- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hours after Bruce Allen was hired as Dan Snyder’s first general manager, Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn said Allen would benefit from a three-week head start on evaluating the entire organization.

“Maybe he’ll like what he sees,” Zorn said Thursday.

Maybe not.

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Dominated from the start, the Redskins responded to Allen’s arrival by turning in their worst performance of the Zorn era, providing little resistance in a 45-12 beat-down by the New York Giants.

The improved execution of the last four weeks by the Redskins was replaced by the problems that dominated the first half of the season and ultimately will trigger Zorn’s exit in two weeks: a defense that allowed too many lengthy drives and an offense that couldn’t get out of its own way.

“We did poorly overall,” Zorn said. “I was really surprised and our players were as well because we have been putting together some pretty good performances.”

Added cornerback Carlos Rogers: “It’s embarrassing. To come out down 24-0, that’s embarrassing. The last time we were on ESPN Monday night [loss to Philadelphia], we got embarrassed. I don’t know what it is.”

The Redskins put on such a bad performance that Zorn’s immediate future could be in doubt.

The 45 points scored by the Giants were the most allowed at FedEx Field in nine years, and the 33-point margin of defeat was the fourth largest in Snyder’s tenure.

The only drama in the second half was the “Let’s Go Giants” chant that emanated in the lower bowl, a brouhaha that ended with Albert Haynesworth getting penalized for unnecessary roughness and snowballs littering the field.

Although former front office boss Vinny Cerrato said at midseason Zorn’s job was safe the remainder of the year, a new regime is in place and Snyder was undoubtedly embarrassed by another clunker on the national stage. Snyder reportedly already has begun the process of replacing Zorn by interviewing former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, and it’s possible members of the Redskins’ staff have also been interviewed.

Another wacky week - Cerrato’s stunning departure and Allen’s appointment - ended with the Redskins falling to 4-10. Allen watched the game from the coach’s box near offensive consultant Sherm Lewis.

One play epitomized the game: Down 24-0 on the final play of the first half, the Redskins declined to kick a 37-yard field goal, instead shifting the offensive line wide left and having holder Hunter Smith throw a Hail Mary pass that New York intercepted and returned 49 yards.

“It was good defense - that’s what hurt that play,” Zorn said. “I contemplated after [the Giants] called timeout just kicking the field goal, and the play was unique enough that I didn’t think they saw what we were trying to do. They smelled it out quickly.”

Earlier this year, Zorn at least could acknowledge his trick plays worked. Now even those turn into fiascos.

Quarterback Jason Campbell was intercepted twice, sacked four times and battered the entire game; he got his 12 times.

“It’s the worst game since I’ve been here,” he said. “We got beat in every phase of the game. It was a total team loss. We had been playing so well the last four to five weeks and to do what we did tonight, I didn’t see that one coming. We didn’t even look like the same team that played the last four to five weeks.”

Giants quarterback Eli Manning was 19-for-26 for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

The Redskins remain winless in Monday night home games since 1997, and this rout essentially was over by halftime.

The Redskins’ first four drives ended with punts.

The Giants’ first four drives: touchdown, touchdown, field goal and touchdown. New York posted the game’s 16 initial first downs.

The first half was a return to earlier this season when the Redskins dug themselves into double-digit holes against the Giants, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

New York ran 39 of the game’s first 48 plays from scrimmage, and when it led 24-0 late in the second quarter, it held monster advantages in yards (226 to minus-2) and time of possession (20:58 to 4:26).

“It all started with them having a flawless drive to start the game,” Zorn said. “And then we went three-and-out and then we went three-and-out and then we went three-and-out and then it was 24-0.”

The Giants’ opening drive (16 plays, 80 yards) lasted 9:13, the longest allowed by the Redskins this year. Ahmad Bradshaw’s 3-yard run capped the march.

Following a Redskins three-and-out, the Giants marched 63 plays on 11 yards to make it 14-0 on Bradshaw’s 4-yard run.

The Redskins gained a yard on their next possession, and the Giants took advantage of a 15-yard Domenik Hixon punt return to make it 17-0 on Lawrence Tynes’ 38-yard field goal. It could have been worse for the Redskins, but Haynesworth sacked Eli Manning for a 10-yard loss on third-and-7 from the 10.

New York’s next drive featured its first big play in the passing game. On third-and-5, Hakeem Nicks ran a crossing route and turned a short pass into a 45-yard gain. On the next play, Manning lofted a 6-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith.

The Redskins’ initial first down didn’t come until 3:30 before halftime.

“It was a nightmare,” defensive end Andre Carter said.

Campbell returned to his painful role as a pinata against the New York pass rush. Campbell couldn’t get up after Osi Umenyiora landed on his left shoulder late in the second quarter. Todd Collins entered and threw 46 yards to Santana Moss, but the drive stalled and ended with Smith’s interception off the fake field goal.

The Redskins had the ball to start the second half and took it 86 yards on eight plays to make it 24-6 on Campbell’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Fred Davis. The extra point was blocked.

New York answered with a 77-yard drive, capped by Manning’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Derek Hagan. The drive started with a 35-yard catch-and-run by tight end Kevin Boss.

On the next play from scrimmage, Campbell’s attempted screen pass sailed over Quinton Ganther’s head and into the waiting hands of Terrell Thomas, who returned the interception 14 yards for the 38-6 lead. It was Campbell’s first pick-six since Week 9.

Following Ganther’s 1-yard touchdown run, the Giants broke 40 points for the second time this year on Manning’s 25-yard scoring toss to a wide open Mario Manningham.

The Redskins now must regroup in time to face Dallas on Sunday night, another high-profile contest in front of the home fans at FedEx Field.

“I’m just disappointed because they didn’t see the team that I know we are,” safety Reed Doughty said. “I know these guys aren’t going to pack it in. At this point, we know we’re not going to the playoffs, but we’re playing for jobs. We’re playing for pride. We’re playing for each other. I think we’ve got a lot of leadership on this team, and I think we’re going to improve next week. I guarantee that.”

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