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Flop at goal linesums up season
Redskins haunted by missed opportunity in the fourth quarter


Date published: 12/11/2006

By TAFT COGHILL JR.

LANDOVER, Md.--When the Redskins look back on yesterday's 21-19 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field, they'll probably remember one crucial possession.

The Redskins had dominated the game statistically and were on the verge of completely overcoming a 21-3 deficit when they inexplicably forgot what got them to that point.

Trailing 21-16, they were set up nicely with a first-and-goal at the Eagles' 3-yard line with 6:15 remaining in the game. Running back Ladell Betts had rushed for a career-high 171 yards on 33 carries, but didn't touch the ball in an unsuccessful three-play sequence that sealed coach Joe Gibbs' second losing season in the three years since he returned to the team.

In his post-game press conference, Gibbs stood by the decision to replace Betts with 6-foot, 254-pound backup T.J. Duckett.

"That was a lot of yards rushing," Gibbs said of Betts' big day. "The guy had a fantastic day. T.J. is also our goal-line runner and he goes in on those situations."

Said Betts: "From a competitive standpoint, you always want a shot to get it in. We went with T.J., and it's not the runner's fault. We just didn't capitalize as a team."

The Redskins had driven 82 yards from their own 15 to the Eagles' 3, and Betts had five carries for 20 yards on the drive. Second-year quarterback Jason Campbell had completed a key 13-yard pass to tight end Chris Cooley, and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El executed a reverse pass to perfection when he connected with Brandon Lloyd on a 40-yard pass play down to the Eagles' 18-yard line.

After Campbell scrambled 15 yards on third-and-10 from the 18, the Redskins appeared ready to seize control of the game.

But on first down, Duckett was stopped for no gain. On second down, Cooley fell down on his route and Campbell was forced to throw the ball away. Following a Redskins 5-yard penalty for having 12 men in the huddle, the Eagles brought a blitz and safety Brian Dawkins sacked Campbell for a 9-yard loss.

"He's a playmaker," Eagles safety Michael Lewis said of Dawkins. "You need your playmakers to make plays, and Brian stepped up for us big time."


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