Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at email@example.com.
Confusion Regarding Personnel Costs Redskins Opportunity At Field Goal Attempt
PHILADELPHIA – It’s supposed to be done quickly. After all, the Washington Redskins use the term “Geronimo” to refer to situations when the placekicking unit is supposed to parachute swiftly onto the field.
It worked last week against Minnesota, when, facing a 10-point deficit with 1:25 left, the unit rushed onto the field and Graham Gano made a 47-yard field goal. But it didn’t work Sunday in a 34-10 loss at Philadelphia, as a mix-up in personnel and a misunderstanding of the situation at the end of the first half didn’t even allow the Redskins to attempt a 25-yard field goal.
After Rex Grossman completed an 8-yard pass to Jabar Gaffney on third-and-goal with eight seconds remaining, the offensive players not on the placekicking team hurried off the field. Center Will Montgomery instead ran to the line of scrimmage, expecting to snap the ball before a spike killed the clock, but the situation prevented that from being an option.
That caused long snapper Nick Sundberg, who ran onto the field with others in the unit, to turn around when he saw Montgomery staying on. With three seconds remaining on the clock, everyone was in place except Sundberg – and when he made it back, the half was over.
“I knew it was fourth down, but it just created a bunch of confusion,” Sundberg said. “I turned around to run off thinking I made a mistake. I should have trusted myself. It cost us.”
Sundberg said the unit typically needs 12 seconds to get on the field, in place and attempt the kick. He felt good about the potential conversion, which would have given the Redskins their first points of the game. But there was plenty of confusion, and Montgomery and Gano were among those who said they’d have to take a second look at the play on tape.
“I don’t know if we would have gotten it off,” said punter Sav Rocca, the holder on field goals. “I’m not sure. There was a bit of confusion up front and then when I looked up, time expired.”
The chaos came six minutes after the Redskins had a field goal attempt blocked, which didn’t help with the confusion. Eagles defensive tackle Derek Landri bowled over the Redskins’ Tyler Polumbus, who was at left guard on the attempt, and got a hand up to block Gano’s try from 36 yards.
It was the fifth field goal attempt the Redskins have had blocked this season – the most in the league. Only 29 field goal attempts were blocked in total, and 14 teams did not have a single kick blocked.
“Yes, it’s frustrating, but there’s not much you can do about it,” Gano said. “You just come back next week and try to get better.”