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In football, beauty is not Skins-deep
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Forsyth County News
You Georgia fans think the Bulldogs have a bad football team?


Underachieving? Perhaps. Failing to meet expectations? To be sure. Average? Ordinary? Commonplace? Run-of-the-mill? Absolutely.

But bad? No way.

To see a bad football team in action you must scope out the Washington Redskins.

Sunday, the Falcons met a team coming off a bye week. The Skins had two weeks to prepare. A fortnight to straighten out the disaster of a 2-5 start. Fourteen days to sift through the rubble of three straight losses.

So what happened? They immediately compiled their worst 30 minutes of football of the entire season. And that was no small feat.

On the opening play from scrimmage, Albert Haynesworth, the Skins expensive free-agent addition, charged into the Falcons backfield.

Sadly, the ball hadn’t been snapped yet.

“This is a very emotional game,” coach Jim Zorn observed during his post-game press conference. “We can handle an offside. It was the first play of the game. I don’t think it was significant in any way of the entire football game.”

Really? It immediately set the tone, put the Redskin defense back on its heels, and established a “here we go again” mentality that erased any good vibes that took root during the bye-week hiatus. It also enabled the Falcons to set sail on a 10-play, 74-yard touchdown drive.

Haynesworth also jumped offside on 4th and 1 from the Redskins’ 8-yard line, further assuring the drive’s success.

The Skins stopped the Falcons on their second drive. That is, until Reed Doughty was caught offside on Michael Koenen’s punt.

This led, through an intriguing maze of events that only the Redskins could fashion, to the Falcons second touchdown. On the next play, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, working diligently to change his nickname from “Matty Ice” to “Matty Ice Pick,” threw another of those pesky interceptions.

Charitable to a fault and not to be outdone, Skins quarterback Jason Campbell returned the favor just five plays later. This time, Tye Hill returned the pick 62-yards for a 14-0 lead.

After finally stopping the Falcons, the Redskins resumed their porous ways. They let the Falcons go 61 yards in only five plays, Michael Turner covering the final 30 in an unimpeded stroll around left end.

For good measure, on the Falcons’ final drive, the Skins added two unnecessary roughness penalties on a single play, and a roughing the passer penalty on 3rd and 11, which allowed the Falcons to add a field goal as the first half ended.

So much for the first half turned in by the Redskins’ defense. What about the offense? Glad you asked.

Their first drive ended with a sack of Campbell. The second ended with Hill’s interception; the third with another sack of Campbell. Likewise the fourth, though Shaun Suisham then connected on a 48-yard field goal.

The Skins unveiled a new wrinkle on their final drive of the half. Campbell was sacked on second down, and then took a breather as Todd Collins completed a third down pass for a four-yard loss.

To recap: the five sacks allowed by the Skins were a Falcons franchise record. Their 21-point deficit was their largest halftime deficit of the season. They extended three Falcon drives with penalties on third or fourth down.

And now for the coup de grace: Total offense, 69 yards. Yards penalized, 69. Yikes!

To the Skins credit, they played with passion in the second half. Or, if you’re a true cynic, the Falcons had lost interest. The Skins put together two excellent drives to start the second half: 13 plays, 80 yards in 7:50, and 13 plays, 76 yards in 6:50.

Those drives cut the deficit to 24-10. Meanwhile, the Falcons had run only three plays.

They soon ran three more. The last was a Turner blast off left tackle for 58 yards and the icing touchdown.

That gives you insight into just how bad a team the Redskins are. All the good things the Skins had done in the second half were blown away in a single play. But that’s how it goes for bad teams.

The amazing thing is that these clowns have actually won two games. But a closer look at their schedule reveals that they beat the now 1-7 Rams in a Week 2 thriller, 9-7. Two weeks later they beat the Bucs, 16-13. The Bucs were winless until Sunday.

The Skins even managed to lose to the Lions, something no other team has been able to accomplish during the past two seasons.

Can it get any worse? Of course. They’ll be big underdogs in seven of their final eight games. But they’ll probably beat the Raiders on December 13 and screw up any shot at getting the top pick in the draft.