Washington is out of it and can no longer make the playoffs, they are sitting last season’s first round pick and rookie of the year in favor of back-up quarterback Kirk Cousins, and when they had the chance to tie the game with an extra point they choose to go for the win with a two point conversion. There has been a lot of speculation this week that the reason RGIII was shutdown was due to Mike Shanahan trying to maneuver his way out of town. That he wants to be fired by Daniel Snyder and hold onto the $7 million that is owed him.
Embarrassing the team’s quarterback was supposed to do it for him but it didn’t. There Shanahan was on the sidelines today having to coach a team that can’t do anything right on special teams, with no offensive line, and a secondary that would be picked apart in a backyard holiday pick-up game. Shanahan has no one to blame but himself for the players he has. He was given total control of the team and the draft picks and free agent signings he made to fix the secondary and the offensive line have failed. Despite all this Washington played a competitive game and seemingly scored a game tying touchdown with less than thirty seconds to go.
Instead of allowing that touchdown to tie the game Shanahan sent his offense back onto the field to go for the win. Shanahan was going to win it in this moment or lose it but he wasn’t going to stand on the sideline as Washington’s head coach for one minute longer than he had to and playing for overtime would have kept him there for up to fifteen minutes further than he wants to be there. Daniel Snyder wants to save his $7 million, Mike Shanahan wants to collect it, and the players are caught in the middle.
It is hard to explain the final moments of this game in any other manner. Washington turned the ball over seven times and shouldn’t have even been in the game, but they had a chance to keep playing. They had a chance to show that all the talk about playing to win the game and starting veterans over young players at positions that aren’t quarterback wasn’t more sound and fury from Mike Shanahan, but it was. With a chance to compete. To play to win the game. Shanahan folded. He sat his cards down and walked away from the table.
There is a strong chance he didn’t believe his players could win in overtime. He has thrown more of them under the bus than can be counted and it is hard to imagine any of them trust him anymore. Still there was a chance for this game to continue into overtime. To guarantee that the game would continue and Washington would have a chance to win. By going for the two point conversion the only options were to win or lose. The game wasn’t going to continue, and even if Washington had recovered the proceeding onside kick they still had to score. If they had kicked the extra point the game was going to continue into overtime.
This isn’t the first puzzling move Washington has made this season and it won’t be the last. Mike Shanahan wants out, Dan Snyder wants him out, and after two games they are both going to get their way, but until that happens Mike Shanahan is going to cause as much havoc as possible and Dan Snyder is going to make him as miserable as possible. There really is nothing like football in Washington.