For 31-year-old Washington Redskins cornerback Greg Toler the 27-27 overtime tie played out against the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium earlier today was the first in a NFL career which entered its eighth year this season.
And with that new experience came an unfamiliarity of how to feel after it – neither a win or a loss and being part of a side so close to both losing and winning the game.
“It’s a weird feeling because you feel like you didn’t lose and you feel like you did lose, you’re in a medium,” said Toler to A Head For The Game in the locker room after the match.
“In eight years I’ve never had a tied game and I was kind of surprised because I didn’t even know that was the rule, that once overtime is over it’s a tie, but we’ve got to take it for what it is and not leave it until the refs and the clocks end it – next time we just got to put it [all] out [there].
“Win, lose or draw we still got to go back to the drawing board; there’s always room for improvement, we’ve got to go back and study the film, see what we did out there which maybe could be corrected. We didn’t get a loss in the column but there are things we could have done that would have made this game a different outcome.”
With a record of 4-3-1, at the end of the London match which started before Sunday’s games, the Redskins still find themselves bottom in a tight, competitive NFC East, behind rivals Dallas Cowboys (5-1), Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) and New York Giants (4-3), but despite their divisional position, they have lost just one of their previous five.
“It’s always good,” said Toler when asked if, despite the tie, the winning record stayed intact. “We’re not in a bad place, we’re not in a bad position when you’ve got a winning record but we’ve got to close up, head out and move on to next week.
“Both teams played hard, it was a great game in a great environment and we’re happy to be over here in London, but I think we left some plays out there, speaking for ourselves.
“We’ve got to make plays that go our way, go back to the drawing board, look at film and see what we could have corrected throughout the stretch of the game because it wasn’t just one play or one person, it’s overall – as a unit – we need to clean up some of the mistakes that we made.”
The Redskins now have two weeks to get ready for their next match – at home against the Minnesota Vikings – as they have a bye week following their international trip, something that the Indianapolis Colts declined and who went on to win, after suffering a defeat in their London match.
“You’ve got to take them as they come,” said the former Arizona Cardinals player who was born in Washington D.C. “You would love to play next week to get the funk off of you, but your body needs rest and with a bye week we’ve got to take it to study the film, make corrections and get prepared for Minnesota next week.
“I was happy just to get this experience and see all the different fans here in London who like so many teams; I saw them with all the different jerseys. It’s just good to know that we’ve put on a good show and gave them a good outing – it felt like a mixture of supporters today.”
Tomorrow on A Head For The Game read Greg Toler’s thoughts about his career and his feelings about his now defunct college, St. Paul’s.