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In Redskins' Loss to Giants, A Snowball Effect

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You would have rather seen the 25 million pounds of snow that occupied this piece of turf in Landover, Md., than the game that took place once the hard-working minions carted the white stuff away.

The New York Giants, with their playoff hopes flickering, played as if something were at stake. The Redskins played like steak tartare and got devoured as befits a bloody main course.

Outhit, outrun, outhustled, the Redskins started poorly and got ever worse in a 45-12 defeat on Monday night at FedExField.

Their inability to block cost them quarterback Jason Campbell (shoulder) late in the first half and their ridiculous insistence on a gimmick play cost them a field goal and a turnover on the final play before intermission.

They trailed 24-0 and could claim no successes in the first two quarters. They were held to -3 yards in a first quarter in which they possessed the football for 1 minute, 26 seconds. Of course they ran only three plays – an incomplete pass, a 6-yard run, a sack for nine lost yards.

Everything else? Giants. Giants all the way. The Giants (8-6), who want to go to the playoffs. And not the Redskins, who can only look to 2010, though this audition by coaches and players for newly named general manager Bruce Allen certainly did not pass the smell test.

Allen was hired last Thursday with the Redskins 4-9 and coming off an impressive 34-13 victory against the Oakland Raiders. Now they're 4-10, still without an NFC East win, 3-4 at home this dismal season.

That magnitude of their failure suddenly seemed to settle in but almost defied description in a locker room that emptied quickly and quietly.

"Disbelief, I guess," said defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. "The team is not that bad. The score, the record, they say we're horrible."

The Redskins couldn't stop the Giants. They barely slowed them. And it all began after the Redskins won the toss and chose not to play.

Kidding. They actually elected to defer their option until the second half, which, as we know now, would be at least 30 minutes too late. The Giants took the ball, the momentum, the lead and everything but the Redskins' Christmas cookies.

Sixteen plays, 80 yards, a 3-yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw and it was 7-0.

"They had a flawless drive and we went three-and-out," coach Jim Zorn said.

Rinse and repeat. Four consecutive three-and-out series set the table and the Giants made pigs of themselves.

Eleven plays, 63 yards, Bradshaw again and it was 14-0. Then a 38-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes, just to break the monotony. Then the Giants went back to touchdowns, with Eli Manning passing 6 yards to Steve Smith.

The Redskins could have scored at the end of the half. They could have tried a 38-yard field goal. Instead they lined up to attempt one, then shifted into a wild formation that put the holder, punter Hunter Smith, in position to pass.

Not like the Giants would anticipate this. The Redskins scored against the Giants in the season opener on a fake field goal and again against the Denver Broncos. So the Giants called time out. And the Redskins lined up the same way again and Smith threw an interception.

"Fakes either work or they don't," Smith said. "We went to the well one time too many and the well was dry. They did the one thing we didn't want them to do – an all-out rush on me."

Nice half. The Giants had 16 first downs to the Redskins' two, 232 yards to the Redskins' 78, 24 points to none.

Even when things went right, they went wrong. Campbell took the Redskins down the field on the first drive of the second half and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Fred Davis. The Giants then blocked the extra point.

Math might not be our strong point but bear with us. A field goal at the end of the first half, a touchdown and an extra point to start the second half and the Redskins would be down 24-10 but with the home crowd feeling it and roaring behind them, just a mere two touchdowns in arrears. Maybe they could cook up a little comeback?

Ah, fuggedaboutit, as our friends from Joisey would say. The Giants needed a mere seven plays to traverse 77 yards of permafrost. Manning pitched 22 yards to Derek Hagan (whoever he is) and the Giants led 31-6.

Fourteen seconds later, after Terrell Thomas returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown, it was 38-6 and we sorely missed the sight of 25 million pounds of snow covering this travesty. How come there's never an avalanche when one is so sorely needed?

Even when things went right, they went wrong. The Redskins scored, they went for the two-point conversion and their running play fell short. Two touchdowns, no extra points.

Perhaps the beating should have been anticipated. First, the Giants now have whipped the Redskins four consecutive times and six of seven. Second, the Redskins haven't won an NFC East game since last December. Third, the Redskins haven't won back to back games since the midpoint of last season.

Campbell likened this one to the 52-7 smearing by the New England Patriots in 2007.

"It's the worst game of my career, since we've been here. Worse than New England, because we were home," he said after enduring five more sacks and scrambling out of trouble several more times.

The Redskins talked last week of not wanting to play the spoiler role down the stretch and they were true to their word. They certainly didn't do any damage to the Giants' playoff hopes.

They spoke of playing to win, for pride, in a sense auditioning for Allen and whatever future coaching administration might be in place in a month. They failed miserably. They failed miserably in front of their new general manager, fell apart on Zorn with 78,359 watching in-house (though not for long) and with a national TV audience channel surfing and wondering what's on Animal Planet well before 11 p.m. Nancy Grace looked good compared to this.

"What we did tonight is disappointing," Zorn said. "Not so much for my job but because I'm the head football coach."

Oh, the Redskins were spoilers. They spoiled Monday night. Their one-game winning streak. The hope that tomorrow might begin today. And the pristine beauty of 25 million pounds of snow.


Larry Weisman covered professional football for USA TODAY for 25 years and now joins the Redskins Broadcast Network and Redskins.com to bring his unique viewpoint and experience to Redskins fans. Go to Redskins.com for the Redskins Blitz column and NFL Blitz on Friday. Larry also appears on The Jim Zorn Show on WRC-TV on Saturday night, on Redskins Nation, airing twice nightly on Comcast SportsNet, and on ESPN 980 AM radio, all in the Washington, D.C. area. Read his blog at redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.

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