Down 17-10, the Redskins began driving. Once they got into the red zone, Donovan McNabb hit Santana Moss for a first down. Moss extended to the 12-yard line, meaning the Redskins would have the possibility of getting another first down by reaching the 2-yard line.
That is, of course, unless you can’t count to 10.
On first down, McNabb hit Anthony Armstrong on a deep slant for nine yards. On second and one, McNabb and his receiver missed on a fade. On third down, Ryan Torain lost a few yards on a run. On fourth down, Fred Davis dropped a perfectly-thrown McNabb pass in the endzone.
But on fifth down, McNabb hit Moss in the endzone for the touchdown.
No type-o. I really mean fifth down.
The problem was that the officials had the first down marker nine yards away. So when Armstrong caught the slant on first down, the Redskins were awarded with a new set of downs. However, because FOX correctly had the first down marker at the 2-yard line, anyone watching was unbelievably confused.
The picture quality isn’t great, but it’s there. Circled is the clear disparity between where the marker should have been and where it was placed. And if you count from the blue line that marks the line of scrimmage to the orange stick, it’s clearly only nine yards.
But here’s the thing that really bugs me: Those chains are a measured-out 10 yards. If they’re taut, they will be 10 yards apart. So how in the world did the guys holding the sticks manage to miss by exactly one yard? How did they miss the excess chain? How did no one realize this mistake?
I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but they were at FedEx field.
Fortunately for the league, the whole thing became moot once the Redskins special teams blew the extra point and lost 17-16. But had the Redskins tied the game and won in overtime, it would have had devastating effects on the Bucs playoff chances and the league would have some Ricky Ricardo-style serious ‘splainin to do.
This is going to go down as one of the biggest blunders no one will remember.