Redskins lose to Bucs on botched extra point attempt

The ball sails over Washington Redskins' kicker Graham Gano's head as holder Hunter Smith misses the snap costing the Redskins the game during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on December 12, 2010. The Buccaneers defeated the Redskins 17-16.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Think Mike Shanahan will try to blame Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Bucs on Albert Haynesworth, even though the massive defensive tackle was at home suspended?

Despite getting a 173-yard rushing effort out of Ryan Torian, the Redskins found a new way to lose when a high snap slipped through the fingers of holder Hunter Smith on what should have been a game-tying extra point attempt in the final seconds of the game. Donovan McNabb had just engineered a late scoring drive that was capped on a touchdown pass to Santana Moss but due to Washington’s inability to do anything right this season, the botched extra point cost the Skins the game. Their ensuing onsides kick failed and the game was over.

This season couldn’t end fast enough for Shanahan. Everyone knew it would take a while for him to turn things around in D.C., but this season has been marred by controversy and embarrassment. No matter what side of the debate you’re on in the Haynesworth debacle, the bottom line is that Shanahan failed to perform damage control at the start of the season and now Haynesworth is at home and the Skins are still losing. He’s a lazy malcontent of a player, but Haynesworth was by far Washington’s most productive defensive lineman and Shanahan never had control of the situation. (Or maybe Haynesworth would have continued to be a pain in the ass and it wouldn’t have mattered. Whatever.)

As for the Bucs, they kept their playoff hopes very much alive and with home games coming up against the Lions and Seahawks the next two weeks, anything could happen. They certainly seem to have a better chance than the Packers, who have the same 8-5 record but have a much tougher road ahead. They’re at New England next week before hosting the Giants and Bears in the final two weeks.

Thanks to a botched extra point attempt on Sunday, the Bucs’ fairytale ride isn’t over yet.

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Clinton Portis to miss the next 4-6 weeks with groin injury

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03: Clinton Portis  of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Those impressed by Ryan Torain’s effort in the Redskins’ 17-12 win over the Eagles last week are about to get themselves a helping hand of it again.

Mike Shanahan told the media on Wednesday that running back Clinton Portis will miss the next 4-6 weeks because of a groin injury. Portis said that he heard his groin “pop” in the third quarter on Sunday and although he was able to return to the game in the fourth, he immediately aggravated the injury and had to return to the locker room.

Torain now becomes the featured back in Washington, while Keiland Williams and Chad Simpson will battle for carries as well. Keep in mind that Skeletor likes to rotate his running backs, so there’s no guarantee that Torain will receive a full workload every week. Shanahan will continue to play the hot hand from game to game, just as he’s always done.

For now, Torain becomes a great story. He sifted through the muck that was the Redskins’ depth chart (i.e. Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker) to reach this point and remained patient throughout. He goes from the practice squad to the starting lineup in one, quick jump.

Don’t be surprised if the Skins placed Portis on IR, which would end his season. There’s a ton of wear and tear on those tires and he can’t stay healthy. If Torain runs well over the next couple of weeks, there’s no reason for Shanahan to turn back to Portis.

Redskins still have plenty of concerns offensively

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 08:  Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins watches from the sidelines after suffering a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 8, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Merry preseason, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing the trio of issues the Redskins could face this season.

I always thought Jason Campbell got kind of a bad rap, although there’s no question that Donovan McNabb has better physical tools – even at this point in his career. Thanks to first round pick Trent Williams and former Saint Jammal Brown, the tackle positions got a much needed makeover in our nation’s capital as well.

So generally speaking, the Washington Redskins are an improved football team.

But it seems as though some pundits are going a tad overboard when predicting this team’s success this year. While they have made several upgrades on that side of the ball, the offense still has plenty of question marks as well.

Let’s start with the offensive line. Williams is a tremendous prospect, but he’s still a rookie and far from a guarantee. He also doesn’t have a ton of experience on the left side, which is where he’s expected to anchor this Washington O-line.

Brown is a massive upgrade over Stephon Heyer, but that’s like saying an authentic slice of New York pizza is an upgrade over Dominos. Heyer was one of the worst offensive linemen in all of football last year, so a broomstick cemented in a bucket would have been an upgrade.

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Love ‘Em & Leave ‘Em: Thursday Night Game

Since Denver and Cleveland square off on Thursday night, I thought I’d throw out a few recommendations of some Browns and Broncos that you’ll want to start (or sit) this week. My regular “Love ‘Em/Leave ‘Em” post will go up Friday morning as usual.


Jamal Lewis has a great matchup with a Broncos rush defense that is 26th against the run. On average, they allow 5.1 ypc (2nd worst in the league) and 1.3 rush TD per game. The Browns are likely planning to establish the running game to help Brady Quinn get settled in his first game as the starter. Lewis should gain 80-100 yards and find the endzone at least once…Braylon Edwards is also a solid start against the Denver pass defense, which is 27th in the league…Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal are both worth starting against a Browns secondary that hasn’t been great against opposing WRs. On the whole, the Browns have a pretty good pass defense, but they allow quite a few fantasy points to wideouts…Ryan Torain looks like a sneaky good start against a Browns rush defense that is 28th in the league and yields an average of 148 yards and 1.1 rush TD per game. Be warned, Mike Shanahan is just as likely to pull a free agent off the street and go with a RBBC as he is to give Torain a full load.


There are no players that I would bench based on the matchup, but I’m not feeling good about the chances of Tony Scheffler returning this week. He’s listed as questionable and didn’t sound positive earlier in the week when asked about the injury.

Ryan Torain has surgery, may miss three months

Broncos rookie RB Ryan Torain was having a terrific camp before injuring his elbow. Now, he might be out for three months.

His recovery time could be as long as three months, which means the Broncos will have to make a decision by the end of training camp on whether to place him on injured reserve, which would make him ineligible to play this season.

If they think his recovery may be slightly quicker and that he may be able to get back on the field by late October, they could use a roster spot when final cuts are made to 53 players, but they would have to release a healthy player to do it.

Torain suffered a fractured bone near his left elbow Wednesday and was taken for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam as well. That test showed ligament damage that Torain needed repaired Thursday morning.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has called Torain “one of the most gifted running backs I’ve been around, and I’ve been around for a long time, very similar to Terrell Davis when he came in.”

That’s high praise coming from Skeletor, who has a history of jerking his running backs around. Torain was pushing Selvin Young for the starting job, but now it looks like it is Young’s job to lose. He’s a nice pick in the middle rounds when you’re trying to find a third RB. This is Mike Shanahan, so if you want to play it safe, go with someone like LenDale White or Rudi Johnson.

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