Washington Redskins Disaster Averted: Shanahan, McNabb's Debuts Bestow New Hope

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Washington Redskins Disaster Averted: Shanahan, McNabb's Debuts Bestow New Hope
Larry French/Getty Images
Washington sporting bolder uniforms in their 13-7 victory on September 12

The Mike Shanahan era in Washington started the ball rolling with a 13-7 win against renewed NFC East rival Dallas in Landover, Maryland.

A capacity filled to the brim at Fed Ex Field roared so load, a majority of snaps could not have been heard at all.  Not only does this win for the Redskins start the 2010 season 1-0, but they have a leg up in NFC East play marking up a 1-0 record.

Remember last season the Redskins skirmished chance after chance eventually looking up at the division standings and seeing 0-6 next to their respected team name?

Washington flew out of the gates following a Dallas punt and drove 69 yards on 12 plays eating 6:26 off the clock before settling for a Geno Graham 29 yard field attempt prompting the Skins out to a 3-0 lead. 

For the next 20:21, the battle took place deep in the trenches exchanging punt for punt and no turnovers, just a pulverizing brawl with pads popping above the sound of the squeeze packed Fed Ex Field crowd.

90,670 to be exact.

Did someone mention no turnovers?

With 4 seconds left until halftime, Dallas eyed one final opportunity to make a bit of noise when Tony Romo tossed a short pass out to running back Tashard Choice, but Choice’s choice to hanker after a few extra harmless yards backfired terribly.

Choice fumbled the ball and nearby Redskins’ defensive back DeAngelo Hall swopped in, scooped up the ball and scampered 32 yards with no time remaining jolting Washington up 10-0 at the half.

Of all the impractical means to run out the clock and yet implode allowing for the opposition to capitalize, Tashard Choice unwillingly discovered a new ridiculous way of self destructing. 

Dubbed as one of the “dumbest” approaches of finishing out a half, Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy truly thought they had seen it all.

Until now.

The battle in the trenches ensued well into the second half as both teams’ squandered chances to put points on the board because of the awesome will to turn the other away in the nick of time. 

Washington’s defense picked up where they left off one year ago in spite of surrendering 380 yards of offense to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night.  An energized home swarm of maroon and gold stimulated the hunger to jerk the Cowboys back before they had the shot to pin the Skins back on their heels.

Defense wasn’t the only name of the game.  Yellow laundry was flying everywhere in the second half penalizing the Redskins 5 times for 42 yards, but Dallas committed 12 penalties amounting 91 yards; many of which occurred at the most inopportune times.

Donovan McNabb completed 15 of 32 attempts for 171 yards in his official Washington Redskins debut, but Shanahan’s Skins managed just 250 yards of total offense.  Furthermore, tonight’s 13 point downburst couldn’t match that of last season’s 16.6 points per game, one of the lowest in the NFL.

Miscues kept the Cowboys in the game all the way to the end.  From Bidwell’s horrible 27 yard punt giving Dallas generous field position, to the bobbled snap resulting in losing an easy three points, nobody was going home leaving the stadium without some grey hair.

Dallas had one final breath which transformed into a furious drive from their own 19 yard line with 1:45 remaining.  For the Cowboys, this is what their offense is built for in situations as such these.

In the past, the Redskins have crudely witnessed games slip away on the strength of a last minute drive where Dallas stole the lead too late to respond.

Here we go again.

Romo was about to pull off another immaculate drive with 3 seconds remaining.  Flushed out of the pocket he found Roy Williams floating into the end zone.  Not a single defender was within five yards of Williams making it all too easy in catching the game tying touchdown pass.

But wait, not done yet.

Dallas offensive lineman Alex Barron attempted the sleeper hold on Redskins defensive end Brian Orakpo and was called for holding ending the game.

Disaster averted, and the Washington Redskins escaped and started the season off on the right foot.

Skins’ fans can sleep well tonight. 

Tonight’s win ended up safe after all.     

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