The Redskins top ten season-changing plays

It hasn't been all smiles in DC as of late (photo by Jonathan Newton-The Washington Post)

I’ve decided to reflect upon the top ten plays that have dramatically changed the Redskins season, for better or worse. First let me give you the method to my madness. I took into account the overall impact of the plays, not just the impact on that one particular game. Also, it is worth noting that the later you get in the season the more impact a play or game can have so I tried not to just make this a chronological list. If I missed something or someone, comment and let me know. Let’s get to it!

  • Honorable Mention – Week 4 at Philadelphia – :36 left in the third quarter. The Redskins are up 14-3 on a Michael Vick lead Eagles squad. Vick scrambles up the middle for 23 yards only to be sandwiched by DeAngelo Hall and Kareem Moore. Vick injures the cartilage in his ribs and wouldn’t return for weeks. The Redskins go on to win the contest and the Eagles lean on Kolb for the next few weeks while Vick tries to get healthy.
  • 10. Week 5 vs. Green Bay – end of the third quarter. On a routine offensive play Packers linebacker (and now current NFL sack leader) pulls his hamstring and would be sidelined the rest of the game. It was 13-3 in favor of Green Bay heading into the fourth quarter. I believe the pressure alleviated by Matthews being out played a huge roll in the Redskins offense picking up. The Skins would go on to win in overtime 16-13.
  • 9. Week 2 vs. Houston – 2:11 left in the fourth quarter. The Redskins were up 27-20 and after allowing the Texans to get back in the game, they were staring 2-0 in the face. That was until Matt Schaub hooked up with Andre Johnson for a 34-yard touchdown to send the game into overtime where the Redskins would eventually fall after Graham Gano missed a game-winning field goal. Neil Rackers would go on to make his attempt and give the Texans a 30-27 win.
  • 8. Week 10 vs. Philadelphia – the entire game. This game was quite possibly over during warm-ups. I was there, in person, with my Philadelphia Eagle-loving girlfriend. Thank God my tickets were free.
  • 7. Week 8 at Detroit – 4:40 left in the fourth quarter. After an electrifying return by Brandon Banks and a meaningless possession by Detroit, the Redskins were up 25-20 and had the ball. Washington seemed in control until Donovan McNabb tried to hit Anthony Armstrong between three different defensive backs; we all know who came up with it. The turnover would lead to a touchdown for Detroit and ultimately Donovan McNabb’s benching (regardless of cardiovascular endurance).
  • 6. Week 11 at Tennessee – the entire overtime period (and game for that matter). I’m just going to literally paste the description of this one play during overtime by right here: “(11:56) (Shotgun) 5-D.McNabb pass short left intended for 86-F.Davis INTERCEPTED by 20-A.Verner at WAS 40. 20-A.Verner to WAS 33 for 7 yards (86-F.Davis). PENALTY on TEN-93-J.Babin, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at WAS 33. The Replay Assistant challenged the pass completion ruling, and the play was REVERSED. (Shotgun) 5-D.McNabb pass incomplete short left to 86-F.Davis (20-A.Verner). PENALTY on TEN-93-J.Babin, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced at WAS 27.” Have you ever seen a team completely self destruct like the Titans during overtime? Redskins would go on to win another close one in overtime 19-16 after being decimated by injuries.
  • 5. Week 7 at Chicago – all four of DeAngelo Hall’s interceptions (one went for a touchdown) from his hall-of-fame performance. Cutlet said he would keep throwing at him if he had the chance. It’s too bad the Redskins don’t play the Bears every weekend.
  • 4. Week 1 vs. Dallas – :03 left in the fourth quarter in a 13-7 game. Romo escapes the Redskins rush and hits Roy Williams for a 13-yard touchdown to tie the game. With an extra point, Dallas would have won but the touchdown was called back due to a holding penalty. This gave the Redskins the most improbable of wins and started the season on a high note.
  • 3. Week 8 at Detroit – 1:45 left in the fourth quarter. The play we’ve all been waiting for- the perfect microcosm of the Redskins season. A backup comes in and everything goes to hell. Grossman’s first play he is hit, fumbles the ball and with it the Redskins chance at victory as Suh returns it 17 yards for the game-sealing touchdown. The Redskins loss would hurt twice as much with a bye week to dwell on all the drama. I believe this game set them up for the “Monday Night Massacre” vs. Philadelphia.
  • 2. Week 12 vs. Minnesota – 7:15 left in the fourth quarter. The Vikings were playing an ugly game without Adrian Peterson but somehow still had the lead 17-13. Brandon Banks would then field a punt and return it 77 yards for a touchdown that seemingly saved the Redskins season. That was, of course, until we all realized the laundry on the field. Perry Riley, the fifth round rookie, is called for a block in the back that had almost no bearing on the outcome of the play. The touchdown is nullified and the Vikings close the game out on a first down run by Brett Favre of all people.
  • 1. Week 4 at Philadelphia –  14:51 left in the fourth quarter. Clinton Portis injures his groin. This is possibly the most devastating injury to the Redskins for the entire duration of the season. Portis represents the best run threat and best pass blocker in the backfield; without him Washington would continue to struggle all season rushing the ball.

So there you have it, the top ten plays that have changed the Redskins season through my eyes. Now I don’t remember every single play from every game so I’m not saying my list is perfect. Hopefully Washington can add some more positive plays to this list in December.

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