Following a tremendous four-game winning streak, the Redskins morale came crashing down with one swift 49-yard kick from Josh Brown.
That field goal resulted in the Redskins first loss since the opening week of the season and a defeat to the previously 0-4 St. Louis Rams, who had undergone several major changes two weeks leading up to the game.
There was a lot of talk about this matchup becoming a trap game for the Redskins and indeed they got caught despite outgaining the Rams 368 to 200 in total yardage.
“How in the world did the Rams beat us? Well, people thought it wouldn't happen and it did. For starters, on defense we held them to less than seven first downs the whole game. I am not sure how accurate I am, however that is certainly too many. (It was actually eight.) We allowed them to kick too many field goals in the game. The Rams capitalized on turnovers and as far as our defense, we didn't create turnovers to put our offense in a better position. I felt as a team we were physically and mentally prepared to play the Rams,” said Redskins defensive end Andre Carter.
Despite many Redskins players publicly stating that they and the team would maintain a “humble” approach following a huge win against the Philadelphia Eagles, running back Clinton Portis said that he believed the Redskins overlooked the Rams.
Carter gave his thoughts on Portis’ comments.
“I can understand where Clinton is coming from. You can analyze the game in so many perspectives but at the end of the day we lost that game. End of story. We knew this game was not going to be an easy win. Then again there is no such thing as an easy win in the NFL. In the end, they won. It was a game that makes you disgusted after watching the film but it’s done and we have moved on,” Carter said.
One matter not overlooked by the NFL was the behavior of Rams offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who nearly cost his team the game with a 15-yard personal foul during Brown’s first attempt at the game-winning field goal. He was fined $25,000 for that penalty because it was the culmination of continued verbal defamation of a referee throughout the game. He was also fined $5,000 for a 15-yard face mask penalty in the second quarter and $5,000 for a chop block that wasn’t called during the game.
“Incognito is a passionate player that is just wild and crazy. He loves football but I think his mouth got him in trouble. I didn't hear what he said but the ref did. You have to know when and where to say kind words when the ref isn't around,” Carter said.
Strangely enough, Incognito’s attitude was a reflection of the Rams’ desire to win.
It doesn’t get any easier this week for the Redskins. Recent history has shown that no team should be disregarded, especially those with losing records at this time of the season.
On Sunday, the Redskins face the Cleveland Browns, who started out 0-3 but have won two in a row, with their latest win against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Monday night. Their other win came against the 0-6 Cincinnati Bengals but the last two games have shown improvement for a team that came into the season with high expectations.
“I had a chance to check out the game on Monday night. They came out and played a good game against the Giants. The Browns were a playoff [caliber] team last year and want to try to prove it again this year. I honestly didn’t know who was going to win that game. I knew it was going to be a shootout in the first half. After I saw the final score that Tuesday morning, I said to myself: ‘these Browns are trying to prove something’,” Carter said in regards to how he views the Browns.
“The Browns play smash-mouth football. They are the type of team that will run the ball and "make you like it" in the words of Marcus Washington. They are a hard-nosed team and their run game is strong. Their defense is physical and they run hard to the ball on the run and [in the] passing game,” Carter continued.
To combat Cleveland’s physical defense and temporarily replace the injured Ladell Betts and help aid Clinton Portis, the NFL’s current rushing leader, the Redskins signed 2005 NFL MVP and former Seattle Seahawk Shaun Alexander.
“As a person, he is a great man who has a strong belief in God. He is a family man and from talking to him, [he] enjoys people and living life. As a player, he whipped my tail a few times when I played against him during my days in San Francisco so it’s an honor playing with him,” Carter said.
The acquisition of Alexander came along with a flurry of moves this week for the Redskins, which included waiving underachieving punter Durant Brooks and replacing him with former Seahawk Ryan Plackemeier. The team released safety Justin Hamilton and signed safety Mike Green, another former Seahawk. The team also placed veteran safety Reed Doughty, who was looking to have a breakout year but was replaced by rookie Chris Horton, on injured reserve with a back injury.
“This is the NFL. Injuries happen. Reed is a courageous player who stuck his neck out on the field when his back was at its worst. I could sympathize for him because I had back problems as well. It’s not laughing matter and it’s something that can't be fixed overnight. He will continue to be a leader in his position and study the game more in depth in order to become a better player,” Carter said.
Under the Helmet:
THN: What is your best method of stress relief during the season?
AC: My best method of stress relief during the season is [using] my hot tub and getting a massage on a Monday after a hard days work on Sunday. Ha ha ha.
THN: What was your first job? How was the experience?
AC: My first job experience was mowing lawns when I was in the 9th grade. It was an easy 20 bucks but after that my father told me to focus on school and sports so that’s what I did.