Coming off one of the worst losses in franchise history just six days prior, the Redskins found a way to win despite an amazing number of injuries. You know its bad when even a trainer tears his ACL coming out to the field after halftime.
By the third quarter the Redskins were down to one running back, Keiland Williams, an undrafted rookie free agent out of LSU. They were missing three of their starters from the secondary. Also, they only had five healthy offensive linemen, with a guard playing center and a tackle playing guard.
Their kicker, Graham Gano, missed a 48-yard field goal as time expired in regulation that would have won the game.
The Titans had beaten 12 straight NFC teams and were 3-0 against the NFC East heading into the game. The Redskins had lost two straight and were surrounded by negative thoughts and controversy.
So how did the Redskins do it?
Well, their defense held the Titans out of the end zone, forcing the Titans to attempt three field goals. They also forced two turnovers, including an early Vince Young fumble after a disastrous start to the game. Lastly, the defense knocked Young out of the game, something the Redskins have been pretty good at this season. Usually when they win, it is because the defense has stepped up, by holding teams in the red zone and eliminating crucial players due to injury.
On the offensive side of the ball, Donovan McNabb played like a steady veteran. He was moving well in the pocket and finding his receivers on third down. After finishing 0-10 last week on third down conversions, the Redskins improved to 8-16, which proved to be quite a difference-maker.
The heavily criticized offensive line played as well as they could considering their lack of talent and bodies. At one point it looked like Mike Shanahan was about to put in third-string tight end Logan Paulsen because of the number of injuries.
Overall, the best term to describe the Redskins' win over the Titans is redemption. After being written off all week, after having people questioning the new coach and front office for giving McNabb a brand new contract, they found a way to gut themselves out a victory.
To quote the great Joe Gibbs, “they fought their guts out.”