LANDOVER, Md. – For the fourth time in five weeks, the nerves mounted along the Washington Redskins sideline as the game once again came down to the final snap. They’re finding all sorts of ways to win – except, that is, by taking a knee.
This time the shouts of exultation had to wait until Graham Gano’s 33-yard field goal sailed through the uprights 6:54 into overtime. It gave the Redskins a 16-13 win over the Green Bay Packers and an unexpected 3-2 record for a team that won only four games last season.
It’s almost too much to take.
“You wish you could do something different, man,” receiver Santana Moss said, shaking his head. “But I’ll take ’em. As long as they’re W’s out there, I’ll take ’em.”
Washington has had two games go to overtime and two that ended on passes thrown into the end zone by the opposing team at the end of regulation. This one came after the Redskins were thoroughly dominated for much of the afternoon, the defense allowing 427 yards and the offense allowing Donovan McNabb to get sacked five times. They also overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
But the Redskins have come out on top more often than not, a switch universally attributed in the locker room to new coach Mike Shanahan.
“These are the games,” fullback Mike Sellers said, “we didn’t win in the past.”
And these are the games the Packers (3-2) aren’t supposed to lose, not if they’re going to keep their Super Bowl aspirations intact. They were coming off a two-point win over Detroit that had no one in the locker room celebrating, and that followed a three-point loss to Chicago in which they had a team-record 18 penalties.
Already banged up coming into the game, Green Bay also had Donald Lee (shoulder), Jermichael Finley (knee), Ryan Pickett (ankle), Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Derrick Martin (knee) leave with injuries. After the game, the Packers revealed quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion.
“It’s just one of those seasons, and we’ve still got to focus in, and we’ve got to keep clicking. I still think we can be the team that we want to be,” said Finley. “It ain’t changed just ’cause of one loss.”
The Packers moved the ball well early, but couldn’t convert their yards into points, leaving them with a tenuous 13-3 lead entering the fourth quarter. A 48-yard touchdown pass from McNabb to a leaping Anthony Armstrong got Washington within three, and Gano tied the game with a 45-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining.
The Packers had time to drive for a winning score in regulation, but Mason Crosby hit the left upright from 53 yards with 1 second left.
In overtime, Rodgers’ downfield pass was picked off by a diving and rolling LaRon Landry at the Packers 39-yard line. Two short passes, a holding call on linebacker Brady Poppinga and a pass interference penalty on Charles Woodson moved the ball to the 22, helping Gano get in easy range.
How much did the tide turn? The Redskins punted on seven of their first eight possessions, while the Packers’ last seven possessions ended with four punts, two missed field goals and an interception. Green Bay was also hurt by nine penalties for 63 yards.
McNabb finished 26 for 49 for 357 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Moss caught seven passes for 118 yards. Ryan Torain ran for 40 yards on 16 carries. Landry had a hand in two turnovers, forcing a fumble on Green Bay’s first drive before his interception.
Rodgers completed 27 of 46 passes for 293 yards and a 5-yard pass to Donald Lee in the first quarter accounted for Green Bay’s only touchdown.
Redskins 16, Packers 13 (OT)
GB—D.Lee 5 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
GB—FG Crosby 52
Was—FG Gano 26
GB—FG Crosby 36
Was—Armstrong 48 pass from McNabb (Gano kick)
Was—FG Gano 45
Was—FG Gano 33
|Total Net Yards||427||373|
|Time of Poss||32:40||34:14|
RUSHING—Green Bay, Jackson 10-115, Rodgers 4-30, Kuhn 3-12. Washington, Torain 16-40, McNabb 4-10, K.Williams 1-1.
PASSING—Green Bay, Rodgers 27-46-1-293. Washington, McNabb 26-49-1-357.
RECEIVING—Green Bay, Jackson 5-25, J.Jones 4-65, Driver 4-58, Quarless 4-51, Nelson 3-42, Jennings 2-22, D.Lee 2-22, Kuhn 2-5, Crabtree 1-3. Washington, Moss 7-118, Cooley 7-69, Torain 4-27, Armstrong 3-84, Galloway 3-28, Sellers 1-22, K.Williams 1-9.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Green Bay, Crosby 48 (WR), 53 (WL). Washington, Gano 51 (WR).