In yet another season gone bad after a good start, there's not much for the Redskins to look forward to. Sunday's thrilling but ultimately gut-wrenching 34-27 loss to visiting New England ensured that Washington will finish below .500 for a third straight season for just the second time since 1964 and finish with a losing record at home for a third straight year.
Controversial calls and their eighth loss in nine games after a surprising 3-1 start sent three of Washington's co-captains over the emotional edge.
Santana Moss, who became the 11th active receiver to surpass 9,000 career yards, was livid about his touchdown catch turned offensive pass interference penalty with 69 seconds left that could've forced overtime or set up the game-winning two-point conversion that coach Mike Shanahan was mulling.
"I've been playing this game for a long time and I still find it hard to believe that it's all right for somebody to mug us at five yards, but we can't get the guy off us," said Moss, an 11-year veteran. "All day the guy been mugging me. Every time I go around him, I'm getting pulled so I said, 'OK. I'm not going to go around him. I'm going to go at him. He didn't move. We collided. It sucks. I thought they weres gonna call it on him. (But) I guess it's something I should have been used to. We don't get no calls around here."
Inside linebacker London Fletcher was as angry as he has ever been during his 14 seasons about his penalty for unnecessary roughness on Tom Brady when the Patriots' quarterback was running out of the pocket late in the second quarter shortly before New England tied the game 20-20 with a chip-shot field goal.
The call launched a post-game diatribe from normally mild-mannered defensive end Stephen Bowen.
"I looked at Tom Brady and he gave me a look like, 'Bad call,'" Bowen said. "He knew it wasn't a good call. They pamper him because he's like the golden guy in the league. You gotta let people play, man."
|Patriots Tom Brady hit as he slides by Redskins LB London Fletcher 12/11/11 (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)|
And then there was the ever-volatile DeAngelo Hall, who was so frustrated to be flagged for defensive holding that he picked up the flag and threw it, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The two calls gave the Patriots 20 of the 80 yards they needed to drive for the go-ahead touchdown to start the third quarter.
So now the 4-9 Redskins, whose offense produced a season-high 463 yards and 27 points thanks in part to Roy Helu becoming the first rookie back in the franchise's 80 seasons to run for at least 100 yards in three straight games, can only hope to sweep the New York Giants, Minnesota and Philadelphia to avoid a third straight season of double-digit losses.
BY THE NUMBERS: There were three Redskins with 80 receiving yards on Sunday. Donte Stallworth (96), Jabar Gaffney (92) and Santana Moss (81) became the first such Washington trio since Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders accomplished the feat in a 1990 overtime victory at Detroit.
LINEUP WATCH: Right tackle Jammal Brown injured his right groin during warm-ups, forcing Tyler Polumbus into the lineup. Sean Locklear started for suspended left tackle Trent Williams, but rookie free agent Willie Smith played most of the way.
--SS LaRon Landry missed a third straight game overall and second in a row with a pulled groin. Reed Doughty started again in his place.
--OT Willie Smith made his NFL debut.
--FB Darrel Young returned after missing last week's game with a concussion.
--FS O.J. Atogwe was benched in favor of rookie Dejon Gomes.
--FB Mike Sellers left the game before halftime with an injury to his right elbow that was in a sling afterward.
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