Rapid Reaction: Rams 19, Redskins 17
I guess we should've seen the letdown coming. After a remarkable four-game winning streak, which included division road wins over the Cowboys and Eagles, the Redskins lost to the winless Rams at home.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Washington (4-2) is the first team in NFL history to play its first five games without an offensive turnover. But that came crashing down in the first half Sunday, when the Redskins had two turnovers. The back-breaking turnover came late in the half when Redskins guard Pete Kendall plucked a deflected pass out of the air and then was stripped. The Rams returned the fumble for a touchdown to take a 10-7 halftime lead.
The play energized a team that seemed destined for a 0-5 record. Clinton Portis was able to gash the Rams defense, but the Redskins didn't take the lead until late in the fourth quarter.
Everything Jim Zorn has touched has turned to gold lately, but on Sunday, the Redskins looked like a team that was emotionally spent. Still, they had a chance to hang onto a 17-16 lead late in the game. Rams quarterback Marc Bulger found rookie wide receiver Donnie Avery for a 43-yard gain on third-and-13 from the St. Louis 41-yard line. Avery, one of the fastest players in the draft, somehow was in one-on-one coverage with nickel cornerback Leigh Torrence.
Former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown nailed a 49-yard field goal to win the game and help the Rams improve to 1-4. Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell wasn't awful, but he couldn't make enough plays to give the Redskins some cushion in the first half.
The good news for the Redskins is that they will host the Browns next Sunday and then travel to Detroit. There's still a great chance this team is 6-2 at the midway point, and I think most Redskins fans would've taken that at the first of the season.
I'm sure the Redskins are re-thinking their decision to go with rookie punter Durant Brooks over veteran Derrick Frost. Brooks had two pathetic punts Sunday, and that helped set up the offensively challenged Rams.
It's not wise to panic after one loss -- but the Redskins definitely made life a little tougher on themselves.