|Mission accomplished for pesky Cortland Finnegan. (US Presswire)|
By now, you no doubt know how what happened near the end of Sunday's Redskins-Rams game with wide receiver Josh Morgan firing the football at Rams cornerback and perpetual instigator Cortland Finnegan. Morgan incurred a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the process, making what would've been a 47-yard field goal attempt to tie the score into a 62-yarder.
Predictably, kicker Bill Cundiff missed the long-range try, Washington lost and fans were thrust back into the reality of what it means to pull for the Redskins.
But why did coach Mike Shanahan elect to kick from the Rams' 46 instead of going for it on fourth-and-16 with 73 seconds left in the fourth quarter?
“It was fourth-and-. I thought [Cundiff] could make a 62-yarder," Shanahan explained afterwards via the Washington Post. "At fourth-and-, it was not great odds. ... I thought it was at least worth a shot. He can kick it out of the end zone pretty consistently from the 35-yard line [on kickoffs]. So that means he could kick a 62-yard [field goal] if he hits it right.”
And if he has a tee … and a 15-yard running start.
Whatever the rationale, the Redskins shouldn't have been in that situation. Worst case: Washington would've had a fourth-and-1 from the Rams' 31 with 1:13 to play. From there, they could've gone for the first down to keep the drive alive or have Cundiff attempt a more manageable 47-yarder.
That didn't happen, obviously, because Finnegan suckered Morgan into doing something stupid (quick refresher: Finnegan's the guy who made mild-mannered Texans WR Andre Johnson lose his mind a few seasons ago).
“I should've just kept my calm," Morgan conceded. "We were driving. I should've kept my calm."
There were reports Finnegan provoked Morgan's ball-throwing by poking him in the eye. Still, Morgan knew he messed up as soon as he did it (a realization undoubtedly made easier by Shanahan's "You did not just do that" face)
"[I thought], ‘Oh, they called that one?' But they called it,” Morgan said via the Post. “Second man gets caught. Coach has been telling me this all week. I should've just kept my cool.”
For what it's worth (and we'd imagine not much), Morgan's teammates said he's not the reason the Redskins lost.
“In reference to that, one guy doesn't win or lose the game for you,” Robert Griffin III said. “Josh will learn that. … That's just something he can't do, and he knows that. He'll learn from it and move forward from there. It is what it is now.”
It is what it is, indeed.
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