After suffering through one of the worst losses in the team’s storied 78-year history, everyone was wondering how the Redskins would rebound after embarrassing themselves on national television.
The result was a gutsy 19-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans on the road in one of the most injury-riddled games the Redskins have played through since “The Body Bag Game” against the Philadelphia Eagles almost 20 years ago to the day.
The win puts the Redskins at 5-5 and certainly tested the depth on the roster. Reserves from the offense, defense and special teams stepped up and helped will the team to a hard-fought victory against a talented but declining Titans team.
“As a veteran, an older player on the team, I couldn’t be happier. Everyone did their job and we were victorious,” linebacker Andre Carter said when asked of his thoughts about the younger players stepping up.
Carter said that he wasn’t shocked by the solid performance of the reserves.
“I wasn’t surprised. This is the NFL. When a player goes out, the next person plays on that same level or even higher. As a player, starter or backup, we prepare ourselves for any given moment,” Carter said.
“Despite injuries, it was important to stay focused at the task at hand,” he said. “We prayed for our injured players before and after the game but we have to put those situations on the back burner and focus on us as individuals and as a team.”
Even before the injuries began to pile up during the game, many were curious as to what kind of impact that Titans wide receiver Randy Moss would have since two of the Redskins top defensive backs, safety LaRon Landry and cornerback Carlos Rogers, were ruled out with injuries of their own.
Little did people know that Santana would be the most productive Moss that day. Part of Washington’s offensive resurgence was fueled by Santana, who had 6 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, while Randy was held to no catches.
“Santana was on fire and his ability to make plays in crucial moments of the game was amazing. To utilize him was keen because it allowed us to rest on the sideline,” Carter said.
The offense’s ability to sustain long drives and dominate time of possession early on in the game kept the defensive players resting on the sideline and was one of the key factors to the victory.
“Keeping the legs fresh in a game is big because you never know when you need them. When you are not as winded you are able to communicate better and not too fatigued,” Carter said.
The Redskins also relied on the legs of Graham Gano, who made four out of six attempts on the day. The second-year kicker missed a 51-yard field goal at the end of the first half and a 47-yard attempt into the wind at the end of regulation but redeemed himself by booting 48-yard game-winner in overtime.
“We were happy he finished strong,” Carter said. “That’s one position I definitely wouldn’t want to play. It’s a lot of pressure when the game is on the line. However, this game we were happy despite the previous field goal attempts he had missed.”
Carter knows that getting this win was important for the morale of the team and is also needed to help build confidence down the home stretch of the season.
“Monday night (against the Eagles) was a thing of the past and this past Sunday was an example of great effort as a collective [unit],” he said. “November and December are crucial months in the NFL. But to bounce back after a tough loss is a blessing. We must continue to utilize this momentum.”
If the Redskins want to continue to utilize the momentum, then they will have to do it against the Minnesota Vikings, a team coming off of a 2010 NFC Championship appearance but are currently in self-repair mode after firing Head Coach Brad Childress and replacing him with Leslie Frazier on an interim basis.
With the Vikings heading into FedEx Field reeling at 3-7, Carter doesn’t know what to expect from the new coach just yet but plans to figure it out early on.
“I really don’t know much about him. We will see what happens Sunday. You tend to find a coach’s style of play after the first quarter,” Carter said.
One of the biggest reasons for the Vikings’ downfall this season is quarterback Brett Favre, who, in his 20th season, has thrown 17 interceptions and continues to play through a myriad of injuries. Despite all of that, Carter still thinks highly of the legend and is prepared for anything, especially when he is given a chance to use his arm.
“Despite what’s going on in the Vikings organization, Favre is still the best in the league. He’s a gunslinger and will take chances in the passing game. Now granted, the team is struggling, but leave no doubt Brett still has cannon for an arm,” Carter said.
One of Favre’s favorite targets the last two seasons has been tight end Visante Shiancoe. After scoring 11 touchdowns in 2009, Shiancoe has been limited to two this season but can still do damage to a defense. As a linebacker, Carter will keep a close eye on him and will try not to let him keep Minnesota in the game at any point.
“I don’t know what the game plan will be (for Shiancoe) but I know he is an offensive weapon and the go-to guy,” Carter said. “From what I saw, he is difficult to bring down and can gain additional yardage if not tackled so we have to be on our ‘A’ game.”
frankcal20: What did you say to the guys when they were hurt? I noticed that you were over there on nearly every injury on defense.
AC: I just made sure they were OK and said a prayer hoping nothing serious had happened.
Irn-Bru: How do you personally approach the roller coaster of emotions that this team is going through? A record-setting loss one night and a huge win in a tough away game just six days later. How do you process the highs and lows?
AC: You embrace everything. In life or in football you take the good with the bad. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Certain situations develop character as individuals and as a team. There is always a reason for everything.
langleyparkjoe: Are preparations for Adrian Peterson different than other RBs and if so, what are they?
AC: I feel that every week our preparation for a running back is far greater than the week before. Adrian Peterson is one of the best in the league despite the team’s record. Every week is the same philosophy: gang tackle, gap control, and don’t allow big run plays.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell