Winning An Ugly One

You know it’s a bad game when you get multiple texts from several different friends, all saying the same thing: “This is the ugliest game I’ve ever seen.”

If the theme of the Redskins-Bears matchup yesterday was “Who wants to win this game less,” the Bears may actually have been the victorious squad, with Jay Cutler as their MVP (DeAngelo Hall, he of the record-tying 4 interceptions, gave defensive coordinator Jim Haslett the game ball, in a show of “solidarity” amidst reports that there was a “rift” or “heated discussion amongst the two of them;” personally, if I were Hall, I would have given the game ball to Cutler).

Sure, the Redskins did everything could to compete in the contest of “Who will blow this game when it counts the most?” The Redskins ball carriers fumbled the football a whopping six times. Laron Landry had a sure-fire interception hit him smack on the crown of his head in the fourth quarter, and he still couldn’t catch it. Three different Redskins receivers (Anthony Armstrong, Chris Cooley, Fred Davis) all had back breaking drops at critical points in the first half (what, did they all skip the day of training camp where they taught receivers to not start running with the football before you’ve actually caught the pass?). Offensive tackles Trent Williams and Jammal Brown both had their worse days as members of the Redskins, by far (especially Brown, who made Bears defensive end Israel Idonije look like the second coming of Deacon Jones).

But wait, there’s still more. Ryan Torain, only the second running back to rush for over 100 yards against the Bears this season, fumbled the football late in the fourth quarter, right as the Redskins are marching down the field after Cutler’s third interception of the game. And perhaps most frustrating of all, Donovan McNabb played easily his worst game of the season. He almost had two interceptions returned for touchdowns, dirtballed a couple of passes to wide open receivers, and threw an indefensible deep pass to Joey Galloway, who was double covered and didn’t even fathom the ball would come his way, right after the Redskins got the ball off a Cutler interception (detecting a trend, here?).

But the old adage in the NFL is that the definition of a “good team” is a squad that beats the team they’re “supposed to beat.” You beat these teams with the simple yet frustratingly difficult formula of executing your game plan, limiting your mistakes, capitalizing on the other team’s mistakes, and hoping that you’ve scored more points than your opponent after 60 minutes of play.

It follows, then, that the Redskins were supposed to beat the Bears. They scored more points on offense (10 to 7), ran the football (28 carries for 121 yards as a team), and decisively won the turnover battle (six to three).

But it still says something about the Redskins that they managed to hold on for the victory, even if it was uglier than a pile of baby poop. Deep down, every Redskins fan knows that if this game took place anytime between 2006 to 2009, we’d likely be singing another tune. The Redskins of the last several seasons found unique and gut wrenching ways to blow leads in the 4th quarter, time and time again.

But just like in their other three wins this season, the Redskins did just enough right to where they had the most points when the clock hit triple-zero in the fourth quarter, even if they’ll gain absolutely no “style points” in the process. And even if it came about in the ugliest manner possible, the record will show that the Redskins won a game against an NFC rival who may very well be contending for a playoff spot this winter (a testament to how awful the NFC is this year).

So, as you’ll hear on any given Sunday from 12 to 14 victorious NFL teams: “A win is a win, and we’ll take it.”


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One Response to “Winning An Ugly One”

  1. Chris says:

    Growing up in No.Virginia as a child, the Redskins of old seem more fantasy than reality. Theisman, Riggins, Monk and Mosley filled my Sundays with enough excitement that I would drag my father into the back yard after every game so I could run sloppy routes and catch his injured duck passes as I crossed imaginary goal lines for uncontested touchdowns and glory.

    But a win is a win. And the Redskins of late are finding a way to get it done. Should I dust off the nerf and call my father?

    The Skins are converting a paltry 25% of third down attempts. However, out of 126 total first downs on the season, 13% are being converted by drawing penalties from the opposing team’s defense.

    That’s one way to keep the ball moving forward. And when you rank 21st in the league in rushing yards, I don’t recommend looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    Washington has 17 sacks and 13 touchdowns on the season, keeping pace with their opponent’s totals of 16 and 14, respectively.

    On kick and punt returns, Washington is averaging roughly 5 yards more per return than the opposing team, but no one has managed to break free and convert a return into points thus far.

    DeAngelo Hall’s 4 interceptions against Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears tied an NFL single game record and his game jersey was forwarded to the Hall of Fame. Let’s see if it also can light a fire under the rest of the defensive squad.

    If the Redskins can address a few issues they will continue to battle teams tooth and nail every weekend, picking up ugly wins on their journey to recapture former glory.

    18.6 points per game – 23rd in NFL
    96.7 rushing yards per game – 21st in NFL
    406 yards against – 31st in NFL
    292.1 passing yards against – 31st in NFL