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Late yesterday afternoon, as Arizona Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers sent a last-second, 55-yard-long, game-winning field goal attempt on its way, the Washington Redskins‘ coaching staff and the majority of the team’s players sat on the sidelines nervously anticipating their latest all-but-sure-victory-turned-tragicomedic-defeat.
Miraculously, Rackers’ kick—-which had more than enough distance and initially seemed to be headed right down the middle of the goal posts—-veered to the left and went barely wide. So, once again, the Redskins managed to dominate their opponent, completely collapse late in the game, and then either just barely lose the game (due to conservative play-calling, poor time management, and failed execution on the Redskins’ part) or just barely win the game (due to the other team’s bad luck)—-with yesterday’s win being an example of the latter.
As a friend of mine commented online after the game, “I don’t understand how the Skins ever win.”
Neither do I. But perhaps no one was more confused by the Skins’ fourth-quarter ineptitude than assistant head coach Joe Bugel, who—-shortly before Rackers’ game-deciding kick—-watched his defense prevent the Arizona offense from converting a game-tying 2-point attempt only to see his special teams unit botch Arizona’s following onside kick. Had Washington gained control of the ball, the rest of the game would have been a formality; instead, a tired Washington defense once again took the field, eventually allowing the Arizona offense to gain enough yardage for a dramatic field goal attempt within the closing minute.
The old man’s face says it all: The head-scratching disbelief, the bleary-eyed pain, a face weathered by countless last-minute disappointments, and an agape mouth out of which only the words “Jesus fucking Christ YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME” could possibly be spilling forth. Unless, of course, you can think of a better caption.