#SundaySlices Week 11: The Good, The (no) Flag & The Ugly

No one can run a statistical oddity or microscopic sample-sized occurrence into the ground quite like D.C. sports writers. I’m not the type to name names, but one rhymes with “Stan Deinberg.” (Just kidding, Dan. Your newsletter is the truth). 

First, it was “the team hasn’t scored a TD in the second half,” then it became “the team can’t win two in a row and OMG they have a symmetrical record that goes back for years!” After those were predictably ended, there was only one more...


But then it happened. After nine-plus games, Washington finally produced a score where one team passed the other in the points column. Sure, the lead was finally changed, but the team’s luck, specifically on the injury front, did not. 


On a perfect, autumn football afternoon, the home team did what they could do with what they had. Alas, even the backing of “real fans” could not will them to victory, as they bizarrely fell to 0-2 versus the AFC South, losing to Houston 23-21. 


So who’s to blame for the undesirable result of the game? I’m glad you asked. Welcome to the tenth of sixteen #SundaySlices recaps, where we cut up the game to assign fame and blame, based on the outcome, into delicious pie chart form. Try not to make a mess.   


MISSING INGREDIENTS

(These are the players/coaches/etc. who are not in the pie, because they did not contribute to the loss).

- Preston Smith. A sack, a self-tipped pass and a pick to match gets you in good graces. Preston’s surge the last month or so is replacing his pupils with dollar signs for his impending free agency.  

-Trey Quinn. For some, Quinn’s debut reception, a nice, albeit innocuous, first down reception, was right on par with Clinton’s Portis’s first carry in 2004. “Mr. Irrelevant” seems to have already developed quite the fan following and let’s just say his most ardent supporters are real “lunchpail” type fans. Speaking of irrational fanhood:

-Colt McCoy. The show goes on. With Alex Smith being Theismann’d—literally in front of Theismann, no less—this is Colt’s team for the foreseeable future. What the results of that are remains to be seen, but I don’t think it’s an accident that so many team leaders have been vocal in their support of the backup.

THE PIE

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Daniel Snyder: 1%

After a game like Sunday’s, you just have to put some of the loathsome luck at the feet of the worst owner in the NFL. Oh yeah, and Sanchez getting a job before Kaepernick is a joke. 

Tress Way: 4%

Way has been mostly outstanding this season and is perhaps a borderline Pro Bowler for the NFC. Fresh off his Special Teams Player of the Week award, everything was going well...until his 31-yard punt late in the 4th quarter, with Washington needing every yard of field position possible. Less Way to win following that. 

Mason Foster: 10%

Here’s the thing: Foster is having a nice season. He had an OK Sunday, snagging another interception and finishing second on the team in tackles. The problem is those tackles typically occurred 20+ yards down the field, as his man carried the ball for a long pass play. Inside backer will have to be a top priority in the offseason for Allen, Williams or whoever the hell makes personnel decisions these days in Ashburnistan. 

Vernon Davis: 10%

How does the second-string tight end, who only received two targets the entire game, get a whopping 1/10 slice of blame? Welp:

The Pick-12: 15%

A pick-6 is a backbreaking mistake, but woooo buddy, a pick-12 (an interception in the opponent’s end zone that they return for a TD; a full two touchdown swing) will have you Gronk-spike your beer on the ground and scream expletives like Cartman from South Park...or maybe that’s just me. 

Yes, it was only one play, but when you play games as close as Washington loves to, sometimes that’s all it takes. And since twitter is basically Law and Order in these matters, a pressing and pointed question lingers: whose fault was it? *insert yellow face, finger-on-chin, pontification emoji* 

Some say Alex:

Others say Reed.

Who’s right? I don’t know. You’ll notice I didn’t give any specific slice to Smith, who has much more important matters to deal with, like ya know, his long-term health, but his two interceptions in the first half were absolutely brutal. This particular play may have cost the game, but in spite of it, Washington fought back, only to be absolutely railroaded by:

The Referees: 25%

First, let’s jump in the Dolorean and take a quick trip back to an excerpt from my #SundaySlices in a win versus the Packers in week 3:

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Well, that time has come and I must be honest, I have no desire to be referred back, because clearly, this week was so much worse!

Seriously, which of these is even worse? Trick question! They’re both horrible and wrong and make me hate seeing black and white so much that I called and yelled at my parents for an hour (KIDDING...I would never do that...I just spoke loudly). (Side note: that was a biracial child joke. And no, we don’t claim Dak Prescott). 

Hmm. That’s pretty bad. But wait! There’s more!

It’s close, but this one may be more offensive because it was an assault on my boy Doctson. Surely things couldn’t get worse?

THANK YOU, NFL! I TOTALLY FEEL LESS AGGRIEVED!

Jay Gruden: 35%

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The Madden franchise is one of the most popular video games ever created. Millions of people in this country play it religiously. If you took even a modest cross-section of players, slapped a hat, polo and disgusting pleated khakis on their bodies, placed them on the sideline of an NFL team with the only assigned task being clock management and timeouts, I PROMISE they could do a better job than 95% of NFL coaches. 

It is MADDENING (see what I did there?) that so many coaches can’t figure out using timeouts BEFORE the 2-minute warning is not only permissible, but the smart play. If Washington had 40-50 more seconds, they would be 7-3. I firmly believe this. Of course, if the refs had just...sorry, back to Jay. 

I don’t know what the younger, better-coaching brother of Chucky did to deserve the kind of injury hands he’s been dealt, but in year 5, there just won’t be any more excuses. I can only hope what he has dialed for Colt is good, because if it’s bad, his employment could get ugly. 

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NEXT SERVING


#SundaySlices will return following Thanksgiving Day's battle at Jerry World versus the hated Dallas Cowboys. If you have any slice suggestions, critiques, complaints or questions send them to @slimceeVA on Twitter. Should you feel the need to add snarky commentary about pop culture, sports or politics into your life, you can also follow @slimceeVA—and you should.