The Worst Losses in the Modern Era of the Washington Redskins
It’s a given that there have been more heartbreak than celebrations amongst Redskins nation, especially since Snyder took ownership of the team, but is there another struggling franchise that has suffered so many bad losses over this time?
I’m not calling for a pity party or anything like that, but it seems to happen frequently. Let me clarify, too: I don’t enjoy writing negatively, I would much rather reflect on the accomplishments that I’ve witnessed. However, there is not a lot I can think of. Come to think of it, when I was first assigned this article, I immediately rattled 10 horrible losses off the top of my head.
Anyways, here are the worst losses during the Dan Snyder era, which dates back to 1999.
September 2011, the Redskins Lose on MNF to the Cowboys
With all the attention on Tony Romo’s ribs, the Redskins were in position to start the season undefeated at 3-0 and put the city of Washington into utter euphoria.
After losing to Dallas so many times it’s hard to pick just one loss that sticks out. Maybe this is because it was less than a year ago as it remains fresh in my head or the fact that the two rivals really haven’t played any meaningful games against each other. Ironically, the battles that had some form of postseason advances resulted in two Redskin victories. (In 2005 and 2008.)
Back to last year’s loss; from the rib injury that Ron Jaworski felt inclined to mention every five seconds on National television to the numerous lucky “bounces” that plopped right back up into Romo’s arms or the 3rd-and-20 first-down completion to Dez Bryant after DeAngelo Hall’s mishap.
Okay, seriously, how does the ball go over Romo’s head like that so often and every single one of them is recovered by Dallas? Does the Redskins bad luck defy the laws of physics? I believe so.
Instances like that kind of sum up what it has been like to play the Cowboys over the last decade. Just when you think the Redskins will catch a break, the bounce of the football goes the other way. Infuriating.
September 2002, the Redskins Get Demolished by the Eagles on MNF
Steve Spurrier might be the dumbest NFL coach there has ever been. Remember that famous clip while he was in Washington when he was doing that weird movement with his lips? Well that was during this game.
After coming off of an impressive victory in Spurrier’s inaugural game, Redskins fans were, of course, overly anxious for Monday Night Football against Philadelphia. It takes very little to amuse us fans by the way.
There wasn’t much to celebrate for Steve Spurrier during his tenure in Washington, but this loss might have been his worst. After an abrupt hire like this and playing on a national landscape, Spurrier proved his ideals belonged in college.
December 2007, the Redskins Lose to the Bills After the Death of Sean Taylor
So many emotions involved in this game. Of course you prepare for season-ending injuries, contract holdouts, trades, free-agent signings, but the murder of one of your players? Unfathomable.
Not to mention he was the most talented on the roster on the brink of reaching an All-Pro level. That’s what Sean Taylor was and a lot more. Taylor embodied what Skins fans loved.
Even before his death, a frequent conversation amongst fans was “what is your favorite Sean Taylor hit?” To an extent, the Redskins still haven’t recovered from something that devastating. He was incredible to say the least.
Anyway, throughout the season the Redskins were treading water as they remained on the cusp of the playoffs. Not only did the team have to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but this was one of the most emotional games played in Redskins history.
Well the actual game was overall ugly to watch, which had a lot to do with the weather. What people forget about is Joe Gibbs' critical error at the end of the game.
As the Bills miraculously marched down the field with no timeouts left, they set up their kicker for a 50-plus-yard field goal. The trend among head coaches that year was icing the kicker, in which they call a timeout just before the attempt.
To Joe Gibbs' dismay, the football lifer called consecutive timeouts that resulted in a 15-yard penalty that set up a more than manageable game-winning kick.
So here’s what I was thinking after this loss: Our best player was just tragically killed. We’re probably out of the playoff race with a 5-7 record and our Hall of Fame coach just made a bonehead error that would cost a normal coach his job.
This one had a happier ending as the Skins went on a four-game winning streak to make the playoffs, so it wasn’t all that bad.
December 2009, the Saints Remain Undefeated in Washington
The 2009-2010 season may have been the worst. Jim Zorn was pretty much a goner after the first game of the season.
Remember that season? Albert Haynesworth’s arrival, Jim Zorn being relieved of his play-calling duties for Sherman Lewis who was a bingo operator at the time, Vinny Cerrato quitting or fired who cares, oh and finishing 4-12. That was fun, let’s do that again.
Anyway, the whole season was a wash. However, an early December game against the undefeated Saints and eventual Super Bowl champion would have made something out of nothing.
Beating them would have provided some form of comfort for the organization and the fans; that despite the complete disappointment of the season, they were able to take down the best team of the league.
Not to mention the way we lost was the reason why it was so heartbreaking. The game was for the Redskins taking and careless errors like the Shaun Suisham missed 23-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play for example.
November 2008, the Steelers Put the Redskins in Their Place on MNF
The first half of the 2008 season was probably the most enjoyable. After a 6-2 start my life was sublime. I woke up on Sundays excited as my team was expected to win. That may sound miniscule to some people, but I’ve never had that feeling.
At the halfway point of the season, the Redskins faced their biggest test against the Steelers and once again it was on Monday Night Football at home.
Notice a consistency? I loathe playing on national television. The Redskins flat out do not win those games, whether it’s too much pressure for the team or just some weird curse. Either way, the less primetime games the better.
In conclusion, the Steelers put the Redskins in their place. What seemed like a changing of the guard as the Redskins were winning their way into relevancy, and the Steelers beat the daylights out of them.
The rest of the season was a blur as only two more games were won and Jim Zorn turned out to be another failure.
November 2010, the Monday Night Massacre Against the Eagles
Where to start? This was so bad on so many different levels. Could it have been the Donovan McNabb contract extension before the game? What about Albert Haynesworth doing the worm on the field? What about Michael Vick setting franchise records and looking like the best quarterback to ever play the game? Or that our season pretty much ended after that? Of course it was on Monday Night Football again.
It’s a game that I will never forget. I’ve witnessed some blowouts before, but it was never-ending. It was worse than a Madden game.
At the midpoint of the season the Redskins sat at 4-4, which leaves us to playoff thoughts. A loss like that really plagued the team for the rest of the season, the locker room was in angst and the off-the-field drama soon engulfed the franchise for the worse.
September 2009, the Lions Snap Their Losing Streak
The most embarrassing moment of my fandom came when my friends and I were literally pointed at and laughed out of a bar on that September afternoon.
Sad thing is, I knew this was going to happen. I had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that this was the week that the Lions were going to snap their pathetic losing streak at the Redskins expense.
I expected a lackadaisical game in which the Redskins’ effort was terrible. I expected the Skins to be the brunt of jokes around the NFL and I expected Jim Zorn to be fired after the game. Well I was only wrong in one of those predictions.
After Zorn’s initial success, his coaching ability seemed to decline week after week and nothing could prove that more than what followed after the loss in Detroit. Out of all coaches in Washington over the years, I don’t think I’ve seen a locker room lost like that.
January 2008, the Seahawks End the Redskins Dramatic Run
The final score read 35-14. Truth be told, the game was a lot closer than the score reflected. After being down by 13 points, the Redskins got to within one point and were set up to take the lead until Shaun Suisham missed a 30-yard field goal.
Notice another consistency? Kickers aggravate me.
After the missed field goal, the game blew up. Todd Collins, who was playing almost perfectly, threw two costly interceptions and the offense froze.
The difficult loss really just ended a season in which they were tested on so many levels, especially with the death of their teammate.
It also ended the Joe Gibbs’ tenure. In his four seasons, he didn’t bring us back to the “Promised Land,” however, how he rallied a grieving team to the playoffs with a backup quarterback, something that shows why he is a three-time Super Bowl winner.
January 2006, the Seahawks Keep the Redskins out of the NFC Championship
Carlos Rogers dropped a pick six. That’s what I remember from the game, the talented cornerback had one major problem. He couldn’t catch the ball.
If Carlos catches that interception and returns it to the end zone, the Redskins may have been in the NFC Championship game, something that a Dan Snyder-owned team has never done.
This was the best team the Redskins had since their 1992 Super Bowl run. The defense was absolutely dominant, Santana Moss was having a career year and Clinton Portis proved why he was worth all that money.
At the end, the offense was too beat up. Mark Brunell was hurt, Clinton Portis was exhausted and Santana Moss was getting double-teamed on every single pass play.
That being considered, the 2005-2006 Redskins had a championship defense and that’s what could have led them to the ultimate goal. Do I think they were Super Bowl worthy? Probably not; the fact is that they had an opportunity and the Skins haven’t been that close since.
January 2000, the Botched Snap
I was only 12 years old when this happened, so it’s hard for me to distinctly remember how exactly the game went down.
Norv Turner’s offense was a spectacle to watch, as Brad Johnson, Stephen Davis and Michael Westbrook all had career years. Instead, rookie quarterback Shaun King led his team to the NFC championship game.
However, what will really be remembered from this game is the botched snap attempt from long snapper Dan Turk with 68 seconds remaining.
I will say it was a 51-yard field goal in the playoffs on the road. The odds weren’t exactly in kicker Brett Conway’s favor, but the fact that the kick was never even executed is what leaves us asking what if?
What’s even more frustrating is that Norv Turner was eventually fired and has led many successful seasons in San Diego. Brad Johnson won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay after being benched in favor of Jeff George and Stephen Davis played in a Super Bowl for Carolina after being shown the door as well.
It was a fun season to watch and the Redskins have never had an offense like that since then and they haven’t won games with that margin of victory either.
You can really say that it has been downhill for Snyder ever since. After his first season, he soon micromanaged the whole organization and the rest is history.
On that note, please save us, RG3.
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