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WP: Upon Further Review, Redskins Blame Themselves


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Upon Further Review, Redskins Blame Themselves

Players Say Defense Is Reason for Loss

By Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, November 14, 2005; E14

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/13/AR2005111301256_pf.html

TAMPA, Nov. 13 -- Almost to a man, the Washington Redskins were convinced Tampa Bay fullback Mike Alstott did not break the plane of the goal line and score what was ruled a two-point conversion with 58 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday evening at Raymond James Stadium. Also to a man, they agreed this crushing 36-35 loss on the road never should have come down to that play.

"All of our guys, from what they saw, they felt [Alstott] was on the ground before he got in," Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said after arguably one of the toughest losses of his second term in Washington. "That's what they told me. That's what instant replay is for. It's why we have replay. I've always been a proponent of it. If you have a chance to correct it, you correct it."

Asked if he received an explanation from a game official about the call, he shook his head no.

Gregg Williams, Redskins assistant head coach-defense, echoed Gibbs. "From what everyone said upstairs, [Alstott's] elbow hit before he got in," Williams said. "Once the elbow hits, it's over, and extending the ball after that doesn't count. But it shouldn't have come down to that."

It came down to Alstott's two-point conversion after the Bucs drove the length of the field in the final two minutes and scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from third-year quarterback Chris Simms to third-year wide receiver Edell Shepherd, with cornerback Walt Harris vainly trying to defend.

For the Redskins, there was a moment of elation when Harris and Shawn Springs came off opposite sides to block what would have been a game-tying extra point, only to sink back into despair when a yellow flag flew, signaling the Redskins had been offside. Springs initially thought he had not jumped offside, and when he looked at the replay he was certain it hadn't been him.

Harris also got a quick jump on the other side, and game officials never did specify who had been guilty.

With the ball placed half the distance to the goal line, a yard from the end zone, Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden elected to go for two points. Alstott, his team's veteran 248-pound battering ram of a fullback who had scored two short touchdowns earlier in the game, got the football again. Several Redskins said they reveled in the challenge of trying to stop him.

"I was excited that they were going for it," said safety Ryan Clark, a hero last week with a last-minute interception to preserve the Redskins' 17-10 victory over Philadelphia. "I was like, 'Let's make the stop and not go into overtime and get out of here.' But we lost.

"Did they score? I didn't get a real good look. But he must have scored. I mean they gave it to him twice, once on the field and then in the replay. My job is not to question the call. My job is to accept it and go on from there."

Most of his teammates took the same approach, especially those on the field at the time.

"It looked like he didn't get in to me," said linebacker Marcus Washington. "That's what I saw, but it's not up to me. In this league, you can't be crying over spilled milk. They could have said the same thing if we won on [Ladell Betts's] touchdown," a 94-yard kickoff return in which Betts flirted with the sideline at midfield on a play that also was reviewed but not reversed.

"I really felt that [Alstott] didn't get in. But that's neither here or there right now. It doesn't matter what I think. You've got to take your hat off to them. They did what they had to do, and they played well. I'm not surprised they went for it at all. They kind of felt they were on a roll.

"They were going to be either a hero or a goat, so they went for it. It looked to me like he was down. But the officials are experienced in those kinds of things. They make the call."

Linebacker LaVar Arrington launched himself toward Alstott on the conversion attempt but did not make full contact with him. "I personally thought he didn't get in, but that doesn't really matter. We lost, and now we've got to rally the troops and start a winning streak. They made some plays, and they won the game. It's as simple as that. We gave it up, and they took it," Arrington said.

Defensive end Phillip Daniels could only shrug when asked about the Alstott play.

"I was on the right side of the line," he said. "When he fell, I felt like he was not in there. We all thought his elbow hit short of the line.

"Even on the replay I thought so. It's tough to lose a game like that. You fight hard, and that last play in there killed us. But as a defense, we let it slip away. When your offense scores that many points like we did, you should win. If we can score like that, it's on us as a defense, and we didn't get it done. That's all that counts."

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Yup on one of the replays alstott's elbow looks like it hits just before the line but the refs probably thought it was inconclusive... the refs called it how they see it! Damn I was pissed. I was surprised on how our secondary played so horrible. The skins were leaving guys wide open for long yard passes. The 3 turnovers by Burnell hurt us. We need Sean Taylor back! Hopefully the skins keep their undefeated home streak alive against the Raiders.....and destroy them. Lets go Skins!

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Yea,read between the lines,every man up to the coach said it wasnt a TD,but they cant say that because you will get fined for it:shutup:,and also i like the nice little media blackout i see from ESPN,the media loves controversy but no one is saying anything concerning that last minute debatable call(if it was indianapolis,be hearing it all week),i remember last week when K.C scored on a 2pt conversion and for three days there was nothing but a frenzy concerning the play call and the guts to make that decision,and now there is no coverage of the event,just an analyst saying "and he barely gets in" on the swinging play of the game of the week ,i mean hell soccer and pba bowling got more coverage than this game,ya know i never used to give crecedence to the conspiracy theory game is "rigged" type stuff,but something sure dont smell right here...it was not a touchdown,im not saying that as a skins fan im saying that as fan.Even if it was the cowboys that happened to i would agree it was not (omg),and no i will not get over it,if your any type of decent fan hosed on a perhaps season swinging call,you wont either.Or you can sing koombya,eat tofu and listen to disney theme music,whatever makes your boat float.

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This was a TEAM loss.

In the first half, thoe 'O' stumbled, only scoring 13 points and commiting THREE turnovers, giving the Bucs easy scores.

In the second half, the 'O' tightened up, but the 'D' fell apart giving up big plays when it looked like the Redskins had the game in hand.

Alscott was probably down on that play as everyone has said, but as the players and coaches said, it SHOULDN'T have come to that.

We should've put them away earlier and did not.

Nothing to do now but get ready for Oakland.

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