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News » Redskins a mess heading into big game

Redskins a mess heading into big game

Redskins a mess heading into big game
CINCINNATI (AP) - Clinton Portis got benched and got even, derisively calling his rookie head coach a genius. The offensive line meetings have turned into meet-and-greet sessions. The record? Getting worse each week.

With so many problems already swirling around them, the Washington Redskins aren't in position to add one more. They simply can't afford to pull an Eagles.

The Redskins (7-6) know that their once-promising season will be in tatters if they come to town on Sunday and let the injuries and the egos get in the way. The Bengals (1-11-1) can't win without a lot of help - they can't even get a touchdown these days without assistance - but it won't matter if Washington shows up as a mental mess.

Remember the Eagles.

Four weeks ago, Philadelphia came to town needing a win to stay with the pack of playoff contenders. Instead, Donovan McNabb lost a fumble and threw three interceptions, helping lowly Cincinnati to scratch out a 13-13 tie, the NFL's first in six years.

"I saw that on TV," Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell said. "It got our attention. If Cincinnati had beaten the Eagles then, the Eagles would have been out of it then."

Same goes for the Redskins. Even a tie would likely knock them out of playoff contention.

It's that grim.

Their offense has fallen apart over the last five games, which include four losses. They've scored six, 10, seven and 10 points in those losses, culminating in a 24-10 defeat in Baltimore last Sunday. That one turned into a breaking point for Portis, who ran for 944 yards in the first half of the season, but has substantially slowed down because of knee, rib and neck injuries.

He had only 11 carries for 32 yards against the Ravens, and rookie coach Jim Zorn benched him early in the second half, saying the running back's lack of practice due to injury was affecting his play. Two days later, Portis lashed out at Zorn during a radio show, belittling him by calling him a "genius."

They've tried to patch things up, of course. The team captains called a players-only meeting at midweek to make sure everyone understood that after weeks of talking about must-win games, they have to actually win one of them.

"Now we mean it," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "There's a 'must-win,' but then there's a 'we-ain't-got-no-other-choice-but-to win."'

The offense has been dragging them down, with Portis' drop-off and injuries to the offensive line taking a toll. The Redskins brought in three new offensive linemen last week to help them get beyond season-ending injuries to Chris Samuels and Justin Geisinger.

"It's still our job to score points, and we haven't done that," guard Pete Kendall said. "And that's frustrating, whether we're playing against the junior varsity or we're playing against a gang of Hall of Famers."

Those aren't Hall of Famers that they're playing this weekend. Things are so bad for the Bengals that their tie with Philadelphia stands as one of their two glory days all season.

With Carson Palmer sidelined by an elbow injury and the offensive line getting pushed around, the Bengals are slogging through one of the worst offensive showings in their history. They rank last in the league in total yards and often have trouble getting one first down, let alone stringing two of them together.

In their last two games, the Bengals have managed a total of two field goals. They have only two touchdowns in the last four games, one of them set up by one of McNabb's interceptions in the tie. They haven't scored that many points in any of the last three games.

"It's just been crazy," said Palmer, who resumed throwing last week, but will sit out Sunday's game. "Every time we play, you get more and more shocked. It's almost so unreal sometimes. We don't believe it's true sometimes."

Believe it: These Bengals are historically bad.

They're coming off the worst back-to-back losses in franchise history: 34-3 against Baltimore and 35-3 in Indianapolis. The Redskins ought to be able to take advantage of them, assuming they've gotten beyond their own internal issues.

The Redskins started the season 6-2, looking like they had staying power with the Portis-led running game and a solid defense. The 1-4 skid has left them dazed and wondering what's happened.

"The way things are going, you wonder why the change from 6-2 to 7-6 now," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "Losing all those games in a row: What's going on? Some of the questions, I can't answer."

They'll get one big answer come Sunday.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 12, 2008

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