Keeping Tabs on Washington's Team

Kick Me

Monday, Dec 13, 2010  |  Updated 8:50 AM EDT
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Images From Redskins-Bucs Game

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Graham Gano

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Redskins fans probably thought they'd seen every possible way to lose a football game in recent years.

But just when you think you've seen it all, the Skins find another way to blow a game -- and your mind in the process.

This week, it was the kicking game that was atrocious for Washington. Graham Gano missed two first-half field goals and then didn't even get an opportunity to kick the game-tying extra point with nine seconds left in the game, as the snap sailed through the hands of holder Hunter Smith and was eventually recovered by Tampa Bay to seal a 17-16 loss for the Redskins at FedEx Field.

Yep, it's been that kind of season.

The weather was less than ideal for a kicker on Sunday, with cold temperatures and rain throughout the afternoon. But many kickers have dealt with worse. It appears the Skins' kicking team couldn't deal with it at all.

Gano missed field goals of 34 and 24 yards in the first half. So instead of heading into the locker room with a 16-3 lead, Washington was only up on Tampa Bay by 7 despite showing a dominant running game that was led by Ryan Torain's 158 yards on the ground.

The Bucs shut down the Redskins' running attack in the second half, and eventually took the lead with 3:47 left in the game when Josh Freeman connected with Kellen Winslow on a 41-yard completion down the middle of the field. Freeman powered in the two-point conversion to take a 17-10 lead.

Donovan McNabb led the Redskins down the field in the final minutes and hooked up with Santana Moss on fourth-and-6 to give Gano and the kicking team a chance to tie it with nine seconds left. And that's when things fell apart.

Long snapper Nick Sundberg's snap was a tad high. The ball slipped right through Smith's hands. Gano tried to go back and pick it up, but was tackled immediately, and a Buccaneer eventually fell on it.

A final onsides kick led to nothing, and that's what the Redskins came away with on this day.

Washington let Torain's career-best 172-yard rushing performance go to waste. They also let a solid defensive performance go to waste, as well. The Skins' defense showed no worse for wear with the loss of the suspended Albert Haynesworth.

But there was no joy on a muddy field on this day, as Mike Shanahan's squad found another unique way to blow a game.

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