The Monday Night Massacre

Mike, How Do You Recover From This Loss?

I was 9 years old on November 12, 1990, when the Redskins lost 28-14 to the Eagles in one of the most gruesome losses in the team’s history, forever known as the “body bag game.” I still remember watching Jeff Rutledge and Stan Humphries carted off the field, along with seven other Redskins players. I remember seeing Brian Mitchell, a kick returner, having to play as the Redskins emergency quarterback, just so the Redskins could actually have SOMEONE line up under center.

Yet if that game was “the body bag game,” I’m naming the heinous loss last night “the Monday Night Massacre.”

This is a loss that could, and should, go down among the worst losses in Redskins history. The Redskins weren’t embarrassingly bad or laughably bad, they were historically bad. Off the top of my head, in the past decade, here are the five worst Redskins losses (in chronological order):

– Steve Spurrier’s shutout loss to the Cowboys in ‘03, when Tim Hasselbeck registered a whopping 0.0 passer rating
– the 52-7 loss to the Patriots in ‘07
– The loss to the Bills after Sean Taylor’s passing (also in ‘07, when Gibbs called the back-to-back icing the kicker timeouts)
– Jim Zorn’s 45-12 loss to the Giants in ‘09 (forever known for the swinging gate incident).
– This game.

Irregardless of the few big plays and touchdowns the Redskins managed to muster up, the Redskins were beaten, abused, obliterated, and humiliated. I don’t think Manny Pacquiao beat Antonio Margarito last Saturday as badly as the Eagles beat the Redskins, and Margarito actually needed surgery after the fight.

By the time the second half began, there were more players and maintenance staff on the field than there were spectators in the seats of FedEx field. Even the Eagles fans were leaving the stadium at halftime; that’s how bad their team was beating down the opponent.

The Redskins allowed an unfathomable performance from the Eagles offense. In 142 previous road games, the Eagles scored 45 points (total) exactly one time. Yet the Eagles had 45 points at the HALF last night. Michael Vick, who looked like the player from Madden 2004 (where even the producers of the game admitted that they made him unrealistically good), had 304 combined yards and 5 TD’s at HALFTIME. He’s an amazing athlete for sure, but Vick has never been anywhere near this dominant at any point in his organized football career, even when he played at Virginia Tech (I would know, I watched every game of his Hokie career).

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett should be absolutely tarred and feathered in the streets of Washington. The Redskins defense was skewered worse than a shish kabob. Any Redskins fan knows that the Eagles love to run screen and shovel passes time and time and time again when they play the Redskins (or any other opponent), and yet the Redskins defense is still completely taken by surprise when the Eagles run either play. ESPN’s Jon Gruden, sitting up in the press box, was accurately predicting the plays the Eagles would run, yet Haslett, who is supposed to do this for a living, was bamboozled by the Eagles play-calling.

And while I’m almost certainly in the minority on this, Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is spared some blame from last night’s disaster, because the personnel he’s supposed to operate with is beyond abysmal. Donovan McNabb, the newly christened $78 million(?) dollar man, hasn’t played a good game since September. But in his defense, he has absolutely nothing to work with on offense. Keiland Williams is the shining definition of mediocrity (I don’t care how many yards or TD’s he had, they were mostly in garbage time anyway). Joey Galloway is the epitome of has-been, and yet he still gets plenty of snaps (for reasons that should defy each and every Redskins fan). Every single offensive lineman has regressed in their play as the season went on. Fred Davis continues to see more bench time than playing time, even though he may be one of the most talented players on the entire offense.

If the team continues to play this way, the Redskins honestly may not win a single game for the rest of the season. Their schedule over the next seven weeks is absolutely savage. They have two games left against the Giants, (who have soundly beaten the Redskins in each of their last four match-ups), a re-match against the Cowboys in Dallas (they looked like a completely different team yesterday), away games against the surprising, never-say die Buccaneers and Jaguars (who have been playing good football over the last few weeks), not to mention games against Tennessee (away) and Minnesota over the next two weeks. If the Redskins went 0-7 over that stretch, especially after the way they played last night, absolutely nobody would or should be surprised.

But all of that still remains in the future. I’m honestly running out of adjectives to describe how pathetic and infuriating last night’s performance was. Redskins fans showed up in droves last night – FedEx field was as loud and raucous as any point in recent memory – and their team repaid them by being completely undressed on national television.

The Redskins added another chapter to the storied history of this team. Unfortunately, it’s one that we’d much rather forget and never think about again. Even with a different general manager, different head coach, and different quarterback, it’s the same old results.

As Yogi Berra once quipped: “It’s Deja Vu all over again”

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