Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

December 2, 2012

Redskins hoping to end 'Monday night curse'

WASHINGTON — The last time the New York Giants visited the Washington Redskins on a Monday night, the national television audience got to see coach Jim Zorn and the home team embarrass themselves with one of the silliest fake field goal attempts ever seen in the NFL, the everybody-run-to-one-side play that belongs in high school.

Zorn was fired a few weeks later.

A year earlier, those prime-time viewers watched Pittsburgh Steelers fans take over the Redskins stadium, waving yellow Terrible Towels in the lower bowl — right in front of owner Dan Snyder's box — in a 23-6 win.

The next time the Redskins hosted the Steelers, Snyder ordered that 50,000 white "Redskins Rally towels" be distributed among the fans to counter the Pittsburgh invasion.

Or go back to 2000, when Samari Rolle highlighted a 27-21 Tennessee Titans win by pulling off one of the best Monday night runbacks you'll ever see: 81 yards for a touchdown, every single yard precious because the clock had hit 0:00 to end the half.

The Redskins didn't make the playoffs that year, either, despite a high-priced roster that included Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith.

Snyder likes his team in the spotlight, but his largely unsuccessful 13 years as Redskins owner has been a Monday night wipeout. Washington has lost 10 straight home Monday night games, nine of them with Snyder as owner. The last win came in 1997, shortly after they moved into their new suburban stadium.

Now, at last, the Redskins have a leader suited for the big show. If anyone can end what tight end Chris Cooley jokingly referred to as "the Monday night curse," it's rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

"It's nothing he can't handle," Cooley said. "He's so grounded. He doesn't get in over his head."

The stakes could hardly be bigger for this season's Redskins (5-6), who have climbed back into the playoff picture with back-to-back wins in which Griffin has thrown for eight touchdowns and a 146.1 rating.

Still standing in their way, however, are the defending Super Bowl champion Giants (7-4), who have carved themselves a nice lead in the NFC East.

"It's a game where we can put some space between us and the rest of the division and really be in a position to lock it up," said Giants receiver Victor Cruz, whose 77-yard touchdown catch was the game-winner when the teams met in the Meadowlands in October. "Basically lock up our division with a win in Washington."

Griffin has already proved himself impervious to pressure games, winning his NFL debut at New Orleans and leading the Redskins to the franchise's first Thanksgiving victory over the Cowboys. Now would not be the time to hit a rookie wall: A win Monday night pulls Washington within a game of first place; a loss turns its playoff hopes into something best calculated in an advanced mathematics class.

"A win Monday night can do a lot for us in the near-future — and in the distant future," said left tackle Trent Williams, who has known nothing but last-place finishes since the Redskins drafted him in 2010.

Both teams attributed recent bye weeks for regaining momentum after difficult stretches. The Redskins lost three straight before their week off and are 2-0 since. The Giants recharged the batteries after two bad losses, then came back to rout the Green Bay Packers last Sunday night.

That 38-10 win was a bit disheartening to the Redskins, who tuned in hoping the Giants would still be on the skids.

"I didn't like what I was seeing, so I turned away," Washington defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "Seeing them rolling like that and so excited, you don't want too much of that in your head. You don't want those good vibes."

 

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Manziel battling playbook, Hoyer in first NFL camp Manziel battling playbook, Hoyer in first NFL camp

    Johnny Manziel has quickly learned his college days — on the field anyway — are over.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Tennis star Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon Tennis star Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Caroline Wozniacki always feels confident she can outrun her opponent on the tennis court.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ridgeley, Lakeview advance to finals

    POTOMAC PARK — Blake Rhodes doubled and singled twice while Wyatt Yates and Caleb Hare singled three times to power Ridgeley to a 14-4 victory over the Cumberland Kiwanis for a sweep of the Hot Stove League’s National League Championship Series Wednesday at Hamilton Field.

    July 31, 2014

  • Laurel’s Jake Snyder Laurel tops defending champs

    POTOMAC PARK — Falan Garner had three hits and chased home a pair of runs and Laurel held of a furious ninth-inning rally by Funkstown to beat the defending state champs 9-8 Wednesday afternoon at the Maryland American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Memorial Field.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sports Calendar - 07/31

    July 31, 2014

  • Sports Briefs - 07/31

    July 31, 2014

  • HEAT RILEY Riley insists Heat will be competitive

    MIAMI — One of the last things Miami Heat President Pat Riley told LeBron James before free agency began this summer was that he would be selling potential players on the notion of playing alongside a four-time NBA MVP.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • STEELERS Speedy Steelers rookie making quick impression

    LATROBE, Pa. — Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • ORIOLES TRADE Orioles say they won’t dangle young arms for trade

    BALTIMORE — The Orioles apparently won’t give up some of their young arms to get pitching help this season, and that likely means Jon Lester won’t be coming to Baltimore.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stotler’s hit lifts Post 13 to 5-3 win Stotler’s hit lifts Post 13 to 5-3 win

    Brandon Stotler singled home Brady Hillegas to snap a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning and all nine starters hit safely as Fort Cumberland beat Severna Park 5-3 on a chilly opening night at the Maryland American Legion Baseball State Tournament Tuesday at Memorial Field.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo