While I was at work last Sunday, I was able to listen to my favorite football team’s game by streaming 980 Redskins ESPN Radio through the computer. Granted my work consisted mostly of me sticking address labels onto envelopes (clearly, I’m not that bright, a Redskins fan after all, so the bosses don’t give me much responsibility.) So, even though I’d hit the mute button and engage with customers when they’d trickle in, it was pretty easy to give passing attention to the game. Like most fans, I find it maddening when the beloved team can’t seem to manage ostensibly simple situations. With a minute to play in the first half, Tennessee had just taken the lead on a touchdown throw following a bad Kirk Cousins interception. All right, Washington, you have all three timeouts. Hurry up and see if you can get close enough to try a field goal before the half ends and regain some momentum. 52 seconds to play and D.C. completes a five yard pass to their own 30. As occupied as I was with labels, envelopes, and customers, my immediate thought was, Call Timeout. Nope. Tick. Tick. Tick. Only 29 seconds left now. About 20 seconds completely and unnecessarily wasted. Another couple positive plays, and with twelve seconds to go now, Washington had managed to get it close to midfield. But now they’re desperate, heaving it down the field. Inexplicably failing to utilize a single timeout, time runs out and the half ends. I hope the coach was able to trade those three timeouts he took into the locker room for some more Gatorade or something. How can I be at work listening on the radio and be more in tune with the game than the coaches standing on the sideline with the game before their eyes? In the end it didn’t truly matter, but it’s confounding nonetheless. Washington won just their second game of the year by kicking a field goal with three seconds remaining after their third string quarterback (Cousins was benched), Colt McCoy, improbably led them on a 76-yard drive in the final three minutes.
Meanwhile, D.C.’s next opponent is one of the season’s biggest surprises. Dallas was thought to have perhaps their worst defense in team history and was picked to be battling it out with Washington for last place in the NFC East. Well, the Cowboys are 6-1 and in first place, a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas running back DeMarco Murray just set an NFL record with at least 100 yards rushing in each of his first seven games and is the best RB in the league. They have an elite wide receiver in Dez Bryant, a very talented quarterback in Tony Romo, and the league’s most proficient kicker ever in Dan Bailey. And the defense has been no pushover. It was nice to get a win last week despite the poor clock management and quarterback controversy, but next week this team called the Redskins will have to play their best game in a couple of years to have a chance against their most hated rivals from Dallas. It doesn’t look promising. Maybe I’ll just concentrate on labeling more envelopes.