Skins Fall Short in Home Opener; Nats are Playoff Bound
September 24, 2012
By Ceci Ferrara
It’s been two weeks since the Redskins went to New Orleans and blew away the competition. It’s also been two weeks since they’ve had a win.
After a mediocre outing against St. Louis last week, the Skins hoped to redeem themselves against the Bengals in their home opener—which they’d won every year since 2006 until Sunday.
Even with an impressive second-half effort by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Redskins came up short. RG3 led the Redskins to a 24-24 tie in the third quarter, after they trailed 24-10 going into the half.
“He did an unbelievable job coming back in the second half,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said. “He made some big plays at the end that a lot of people can’t make.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. As impressive as RG3 was on Sunday, Bengals QB Andy Dalton was better. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, that pushed the Bengals past the Skins 38-31.
There was a moment when RG3 looked to be driving the Skins to another touchdown to send the game into overtime. After scoring a rushing touchdown with just 3:38 left to play, he cut the Cincinnati lead to just one touchdown. They managed to get the ball back with less than two minutes to play, but instead of a miracle, Griffin got a 15-yard sack, followed by penalties and a flooding of players on the field who believed the game was over. The last play was a Hail Mary that, like the Redskins, fell short.
So, two weeks after their 2012 debut, the Redskins are 1-2 and at the bottom of the NFC East standings. But despite two straight losses, the Redskins still have a solid quarterback who will go to great lengths to win.
After the loss, RG3 was deflated but still optimistic, saying “The one thing I won’t do personally is quit or play scared. I’ve never played scared in my life … I’m going to continue to get back up. Even if they have to cart me off the field, I’m going to get off the cart and walk away.”
If the Redskins defense can step it up the way RG3 has, then they still have a fighting chance this season.
For the first time since 1933, Washington has a baseball team in the playoffs.
Despite dropping two out of their last three games to the Brewers, the Nats still have a firm grasp on the NL East, leading Atlanta by 4 1/2 games with just 10 games to go in the regular season.
While the Nats clinched a playoff spot last Thursday with their 4-1 win over the L.A. Dodgers, they won’t find out what team they’re playing until game time.
Due to new MLB playoff rules, two teams will now face off to determine the Wild Card, instead of determining it based on standings. If the Nationals hold onto the best record in the National League, they will face the Wild Card team—and won’t know until the end of that game (scheduled two days before the first division series) whom their opponent will be.
Right now, the NL Wild Card game is shaping up to be the Braves versus the Cardinals—but that could change easily within the next 10 days. Not knowing who you’re going to face is causing problems for Washington manager Davey Johnson, who believes it’s putting his team at a disadvantage.
“It’s actually easier for the clubs fighting for the wild card because they’ll know who they have to beat to move ahead. And then if they get in, they’ll know who they’re going to play. I don’t. I shouldn’t be handicapped that way. To me that’s putting a handicap.”