'Skins can't get job done


LANDOVER -- The P-word is quickly fading from the Washington Redskins' vocabulary.

Only two weeks removed from a stirring victory over the Philadelphia Eagles that gave the Redskins a 5-3 record and incentive to begin talking about the playoffs, Washington has seen its postseason chances grow dim.

Thirteen unanswered second-half points by Oakland led to a 16-13 loss to the lowly Raiders yesterday at FedEx Field - the Redskins' second consecutive setback - and dropped the team to 5-5, two games behind the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants in the NFC East.

Many of the 90,129 in attendance who clung to the hope of a game-tying field goal left disappointed when quarterback Mark Brunell was sacked by defensive end Derrick Burgess on fourth-and-two from Oakland's 43-yard line with five seconds left in the game.

Since opening the season with three straight victories, Washington has dropped five of seven games. After yesterday's game, the mood in the locker room was somber.

"Right now, we're in a do-or-die situation," defensive end Renaldo Wynn said. "That's the way we've got to look at it. We can't lose anymore."

Added guard Randy Thomas: "We're still searching for an identity. We haven't found it yet. We've got a lot of guys with heart, but the score is in the other guys' favor, so it doesn't count."

It barely mattered that the loss was delivered by a Raiders team (4-6) coached by Norv Turner in his first game in Washington since his seven-year tenure as the Redskins' coach.

What hurt more was the way the Redskins had squandered a chance to collect a win and stay in the hunt for their first playoff berth since 1999.

After enjoying a 13-3 lead at halftime, Washington did not score another point.

The league's 10th-ranked offense gained just 94 of its 246 yards in the second half against an Oakland defense that had allowed an average of 334.8 yards a game (ranked 24th), and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since the season opener against the Chicago Bears.

Brunell connected on just 14 of 32 passes for 155 yards and was sacked twice, and wide receiver Santana Moss had just four catches for 53 yards against double coverage.

Running back Clinton Portis rushed 22 times for 92 yards, but lost two fumbles - his first giveaways of the year. With three giveaways against just one take-away, the Redskins lost the turnover battle for the eighth time this season.

"We hurt ourselves again with the turnovers," said coach Joe Gibbs, whose team fell to minus--13 in turnover differential. "I think it's kind of hard and frustrating for us if we can't find a way to keep from turning the ball over."

Washington's defense limited Maryland alumnus LaMont Jordan to 52 rushing yards, and middle linebacker Lemar Marshall returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown - the defense's first score since Antonio Pierce returned an interception for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 18, 2004.

The defense thought it had forced and recovered a Jordan fumble at the 1-yard line at the two-minute warning, but officials ruled Jordan was down by contact before losing the ball.

The unit continued to surrender big plays. Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins threw for 289 yards, including a 49-yarder to wide receiver Jerry Porter (six receptions for 142 yards) for a touchdown to open the second half, and Oakland put up four more plays of 20 yards or more.

"This was definitely tough for us because we thought we were in the driver's seat most of the whole game," said Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington. "You kind of hate to say it, but we beat ourselves."

Notes -- H-back Mike Sellers was taken to a hospital as team officials were concerned that he might have suffered a bruised kidney. Sellers, who leads the Redskins with six touchdowns, was speared in the back by Raiders linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba during punt-return coverage in the fourth quarter. Sellers, who was penalized 10 yards for holding when he retaliated against Ekejiuba on another punt return, complained of pain and was sent to the hospital for observation. ... Wide receiver and return specialist James Thrash pulled his right hamstring in the second quarter and did not return.


Chargers@Redskins Sunday, 1 p.m., Ch. 9, 1430 AM, 106.7 FM Line: Chargers by 3

Keys to the game

Receivers shut down

With David Patten sidelined for the season and James Thrash lost for the second half, Washington's passing attack sputtered. The Raiders marked wide receiver Santana Moss (four catches, 53 yards) with a cornerback and a safety, and Taylor Jacobs (three catches, 17) was the only other receiver with a reception.

Other options

With the Redskins' free safety following Randy Moss' every move, Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins took advantage. He launched a 49-yard touchdown strike to Jerry Porter when he had one-on-one coverage with middle linebacker Lemar Marshall and hit Doug Gabriel for a 37-yard gain that set up a game-tying field goal.

Skipping the run

After a 4-yard rushing average (19 carries, 76 yards) in the first half, Washington went to the run just eight times for 32 yards in the second half. Clinton Portis carried just five times for 22 yards after halftime.

[Edward Lee]

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