The feel-good vibes from the 6-2 start have vanished and if anyone still fancied the Redskins a playoff team, those thoughts were obliterated today with a 20-13 loss at previously one-win Cincinnati. Did we mention the Bengals have 23 players on injured reserve?
The Redskins (7-7) remain mathematically alive. But barely. And when you're losers of five out of six games, the playoffs aren't realistic.
And, now, let the speculation begin on Zorn's future. It will certainly be the predominant topic until the end of the season – or until owner Dan Snyder publicly says he won't be firing the rookie coach. Instead, the Redskins have been very silent on the matter. In part because this topic wasn't on anyone's radar screen before today.
Then came the loss to the now 2-11-1 Bengals.
"It's pretty tough," running back Clinton Portis said. "We had an opportunity to come in here and keep our season alive, and we let it slip away. We didn't execute. You can't put that on the coaches. It was on us on the field."
The Bengals entered last in the NFL in yards and points. Yet they grabbed a 17-0 lead on Washington and a defense full of second-tier players20held the Redskins to under 300 yards.
"It'd kind of frustrating — the penalties, the errors, the fumbles," Zorn said. "Those are things that take their toll on you. I'm frustrated, and it's heartfelt. I can sense the emotion welling up in me."
The Redskins had a chance to tie the game at 17 when it reached the Bengals' 1-yard line midway through the third quarter. But Zorn inexplicably never gave Portis a chance. He tried a bootleg pass on first down that failed. Then came a Mike Sellers run that gained a few inches. On third and 1, Sellers again was given the ball. This time he was stopped short of the goal line and, from just inside the 1, he tried to stretch the ball across the goal line.
It was a dumb move, albeit one by a guy trying to make a play.
Zorn defended the call after the game, but if the play had been good, it would have worked. It did not.
"We worked so hard to get down there — it was like an 80-yard drive," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "To get down there and have that opportunity and not come away with any points, that was tough and it kind of deflated us after that."
Indeed, the Redskins, who had grabbed all the momentum away after trailing 17-0 at one point, was lifeless thereafter.
And the Bengals crushed them with a long, time-consuming drive in the fourth quarter, the second straight week that happened.
"There s so much frustration going on right now, I don't know if I'm fit to even talk," Redskins receiver Santana Moss said.
Moss scored the Redskins' first touchdown, a 10-yard pass from Campbell. It was his first touchdown since Oct. 26 vs. Detroit.
Shaun Suisham kicked a 23-yard field goal on their next series with 19 seconds left in the first half.
Cincinnati capitalized on Chris Cooley's fumble on the Redskins' first possession. The Bengals, starting from the Redskins' 41-yard line, scored six plays later when both Demetric Evans and Mike Green were fooled on a Ryan Fitzpatrick bootleg from the 1.
The Bengals made it 14-0 in the first quarter when Fitzpatrick hit Chris Henry for a 15-yard touchdown. Henry beat Carlos Rogers, but the Redskins once again got no pressure from a blitz.
The Redskins responded with a meek three-and-out. That preceded a 32-yard Shayne Graham field goal early in the second quarter.
Here is a review of the ten spot and how John Keim did at predicting the game's outcome…