Nov 21, 2005, 8:49 PM EDT
Indisputable Visual Evidence II
No, this is not another 1,000 words about yet another close call at the goal line that went against the Redskins. It did indeed seem unlikely that Lamont Jordan’s knee would be able to find the ground in the midst of pile of bodies that he was on top of. I mean, last week you have Alstott on a pile of bodies and he’s not down and this week Jordan is on the pile and he is down. And it would have been a bit easier to swallow if we had seen a zebra running in and emphatically jabbing his index finger towards the ground in the universal “down by contact” gesture. It was like last week when the head linesman trotted in from the sideline, looked around, hesitated a count, and then raised his arms to signal that the conversion was good. Be emphatic and sell the call, ref.
There is no diatribe here for two reasons. First, unlike last week, there is no indisputable visual evidence that the call on the field, weak and hesitant as it was, was incorrect. It looked like a fumble, but his knee could have touched the ground; you just can’t see through the pile. Second and most important, again unlike last week, the view here is that the Redskins would have lost this game even if the call had gone in their favor.
They would have had the ball inside their own one with about 2:20 left. They had done zip offensively in the second half. The Raiders had two timeouts and the two-minute warning to work with. Assuming a three and out for the Redskins, Oakland would have had at least a minute and a half and good field position to give Janakowski a shot. Even if it had gone into overtime there is little reason to believe that they would have been able to move the ball and/or stop the Raiders from doing so.
There really isn’t any point in writing a thousand words about this game anyway because it can be summed up in one word—turnovers. Despite the lack of offensive continuity, despite the lack of a pass rush, despite the injuries, the Redskins still win if they don’t cough the ball up. Two fumbles by Clinton Portis, who has been positively glue-fingered all year, cost the Redskins six points. His first gave the Raiders the ball at the Redskins 15 and led to the Raiders’ first points of the day on a field goal. In the third quarter, Portis’ second fumble at the Oakland 29 cost them a shot at a field goal. Do the math, that’s a net loss of six points in a three-point game.
And here’s one more number: 2:39. That’s the Redskins’ time of possession in the fourth quarter of a close game. The possession times in their three “drives” in the fourth quarter were 29 seconds, 39 seconds, and 63 seconds (for those of you doing the math, another drive died after first 25 seconds of the fourth). That’s not going to get it done.
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