Losing at Denver, Kansas City, the Giants and Tampa Bay are all to be expected, but losing a 10-point halftime lead to Oakland at home is inexcusable. In fact, the late losses the past two weeks -- 36-35 in Tampa and 16-13 to Oakland -- are just the kind of defeats for which Dan Snyder fired Norv Turner five years ago with the Redskins at 7-6. Not that even Snyder would dare fire Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.
With San Diego, Dallas and the Giants all still coming to town, plus trips to St. Louis, Arizona and Philadelphia, the Redskins might be hard-pressed to prevent Gibbs from suffering a second straight losing season for the first time in his 14-year career.
The downfield passing game is disappearing rapidly with defenses increasingly focusing on stopping speedy receiver Santana Moss. Mark Brunell passed for just 155 yards against Oakland with No. 2 wideout David Patten lost to season-ending knee surgery on Friday and No. 3 wideout James Thrash going down just before halftime. That left disappointing third-year man Taylor Jacobs as the only other wideout with NFL experience.
Brunell is no longer the Pro Bowl lock he was during the first six games. When Washington was 4-2, Brunell had 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. As the Redskins lost three of their past four, he has just two touchdowns and three interceptions.
To make matters worse on a day that Brunell didn't commit a turnover until the final offensive play was already toast, running back Clinton Portis, who hadn't lost a fumble all season, coughed up two. One set up points for the Raiders; the other probably cost the Redskins at least three.
Nine teams came into last weekend with more turnovers than the Redskins. But Washington's mistakes are magnified by its lack of takeaways. Middle linebacker Lemar Marshall's interception return in the first quarter wasn't just Washington's first defensive touchdown, it was only the eighth takeaway for the defense in 10 games.
Speaking of Marshall, he wound up in single coverage on a touchdown bomb from Kerry Collins to Jerry Porter that gave the Raiders life on the opening possession of the second half. Lately, it seems as if assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams is outsmarting himself. If one corner and a safety are shadowing Randy Moss, that still leaves two defensive backs to watch out for the dangerous Porter, especially on deep balls. But somehow Marshall was beaten for the big touchdown.
This was a game the Redskins couldn't lose. They were 4-0 at home and out to make up for the previous Sunday's controversial, heartbreaking loss at Tampa Bay. The visitor was Oakland, 3-6 overall and 1-3 out of The Black Hole. What's more, Washington led 13-3 at halftime.
And yet the Redskins managed to find a way to lose 16-13 in the final 75 seconds to a Raiders team with no running game and a weak defense. And Oakland is coached by ex-Redskins boss Norv Turner, master of the agonizing defeat.
As happened in the previous Sunday's last-minute loss in Tampa Bay, all three phases played a part in blowing the game. Derrick Frost kept giving the Raiders good field position with poor punts. The defense allowed a pair of 11-play scoring drives in the fourth quarter at the same time that the offense was going three-and-out back-to-back.
Player Personnel Notes
--RB Clinton Portis ran 22 times for 92 yards but also lost two fumbles, one at the Washington 16 that set up an Oakland field goal and the other on first down at the Oakland 29 that likely cost the Redskins at least three points.
--WR Taylor Jacobs started for the first time this year in place of the injured David Patten. He caught just three passes for 17 yards.
--MLB Lemar Marshall scored his first career touchdown on a 17-yard interception return, but he was also burned by Raiders WR Jerry Porter on a 49-yard TD.
--WR James Thrash pulled his right hamstring in the second quarter against Oakland and didn't return.
--H-back Mike Sellers injured his back and ribs from a big hit by Oakland's Isaiah Ekejiuba while covering a punt. Sellers returned briefly but was hospitalized after the game for observation.