What it means: The Washington Redskins blew a huge opportunity to get to 5-3 heading into the bye. And for whatever reason, the Detroit Lions own this team. Quarterback Donovan McNabb played poorly again, but surely he didn't deserve to get benched with the game still hanging in the balance. McNabb must've looked to see if his old buddy Andy Reid had wandered onto the sideline.
More on the benching: I was sitting in a press box in Arlington, Texas, when word started to spread of McNabb's benching. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan apparently played a hunch, and it backfired immediately. I'm not saying McNabb would've led the Skins to a late touchdown, but putting Rex Grossman into a game cold to run a two-minute offense is just ridiculous. "I thought (Grossman) gave us the best chance to win," Shanahan told reporters after the game.
If that's really the case, Shanahan should've given him a better chance to succeed. Saying that Grossman has a better grasp of the Skins' two-minute offense is an indictment of McNabb. (Yes, I know Grossman played for Kyle Shanahan in Houston). Shanahan said McNabb's still the starter, but he's unnecessarily sparked a controversy. On one hand, he placed Grossman in an impossible situation. On the other, he undermined a proud veteran. Now, McNabb will constantly be looking over his shoulder when he struggles. Sometimes it looks like Shanahan goes out of his way to show who's boss. Hey, we get it. The move smacked of desperation. And if Jim Zorn were still in office, he'd be getting destroyed right now. Those Super Bowl rings give Shanahan a little more latitude, but it's still a curious move.
A silver lining: The Redskins might have the most electrifying return man in the league (who's under 5-7). Brandon Banks single-handedly set this team up for 17 points against the Lions. I'd line the guy up and throw him a pass or two at some point.
No rushing game: The Skins only took two running backs to the game, and it backfired when Ryan Torain had to leave with a hamstring injury and missed the second half. McNabb was the leading rusher with 45 yards, and most of that came on one carry in the first half. By the way, it's not like Torain was that effective in this game when he was healthy with nine carries for 10 yards.
What's next: Shanahan will have a lot of questions to answer Monday. He and Bruce Allen convinced a fan base that they'd committed highway robbery by acquiring McNabb for a second-round pick. But at the first sign of trouble, Shanahan completely undermines the player. Maybe there are Skins fans who were calling for McNabb to be benched during Sunday's game after he threw into triple coverage for an interception, but I wouldn't have done it with under two minutes left. After the bye, the Skins will host the Eagles on "Monday Night Football." Will McNabb make it to halftime in that game? We'll find out soon enough.