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Elfin's Endzone: Redskins' DeAngelo Hall: 'I'm The Reason We Lost'

8:56 AM, Nov 21, 2011   |    comments
Dez Bryant burned the Redskins' secondary (Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE)
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LANDOVER, Md. (WUSA) -- DeAngelo Hall is the NFL's version of Ryan Howard.

The Philadelphia Phillies slugger, who's always swinging for the fences, whiffs about three times as often as he belts a home run.

Hall plays cornerback for Washington with the same swashbuckling style, giving up catches underneath in hopes of later luring opposing quarterbacks into allowing him to jump a route for an interception.

PHOTOS FROM THE GAME

That approach helped the Redskins rank 10th on defense in 2009, Hall's first full season in Washington. The defense plummeted last year, but Hall was chosen for the Pro Bowl after his big-play mentality delivered victories over Dallas (on a fumble by current teammate Tashard Choice which he forced and returned for the winning touchdown) and Chicago (an NFL record-tying four picks, one of which he returned for the clinching score) and helped beat Philadelphia (when he teamed with Kareem Moore to sideline Eagles star quarterback Michael Vick for most of the game with injured ribs).

However, 2011 has been much less productive for Hall, who was the goat on Sunday for the second time in as many games against the archrival Dallas Cowboys, failing to stay with receiver Dez Bryant on the 26-yard catch on third-and-15 in overtime that set up Dan Bailey's 39-yard field goal that beat the Redskins 27-24 three plays later.

Eight weeks earlier with Washington clinging to a late 16-15 edge in Dallas, Hall was burned by Bryant for 30 yards on third-and-21. Choice carried on three straight clock-eating plays before Bailey's 40-yarder provided the winning margin with 1:47 remaining.

In that postgame locker room, Hall ripped defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for calling an all-out blitz and leaving him in single coverage. The next day, Hall, who was so distraught he couldn't sleep, changed his tune, saying, "I might've been a little overzealous. (I'm) passionate about football. ... I was extremely frustrated. That doesn't excuse what I said. ... Definitely thought that was a ballgame we should've won. The Cowboys might actually send me a bill. I broke a couple things down there."

After Sunday's hard-to-swallow defeat, Washington's sixth straight, Hall sat at his locker partly-dressed, checked his texts and emails and declined comment. But then he decided to be a stand-up guy.

"The way I'm playing right now, they need to cut me because I'm definitely not worth what I'm getting," Hall said. "You can't slip. I'm the reason we lost. Second time in a row against Dallas. I'm definitely pissed at myself."

Of course, the Redskins aren't going to cut Hall or even bench him, especially not with fellow starting corner Josh Wilson having left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

But there's no doubt that Hall, who turned 28 on Saturday, six days after his wife Jada gave birth to twins, hasn't been himself this year. After averaging five interceptions over the previous six seasons, Hall has just one in 2011.

So while Hall credited Romo and Bryant for making a good play, he knows he just hasn't been the playmaker that he has always been since Atlanta chose him eighth overall out of Virginia Tech in 2004.

"When an opportunity presents itself ... and I don't go out there and make the play, it's definitely frustrating." Hall said. "We made ... changes from what we did the first Dallas game to put me in a better position to make that play, and to still not make that play ..."

On the first Sunday in six that the offense re-awakened and made plays, Hall didn't when it mattered most. And so the Redskins were swept by the Cowboys for the second time in three years and six defeats in the seven matchups with Dallas since Hall's arrival, five of them coming by a total of just 13 points.

At 3-7, the Redskins are virtually guaranteed of a third straight losing season (1993-95, 2002-04) for just the third time since the late 1960s. And they surely won't be playing when it matters most for the 10th time in the dozen seasons of this millennium.

WUSA-9's Redskins Insider, David Elfin, has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1975. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the author of five books on the Redskins including the new "Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History."

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