From 3-5 to 3-10.  From gaining traction to being under a tractor.  A 45-10 loss to Kansas City that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.  Thankfully, Burgundy and Gold Nation has at its disposal the “Kübler-Ross model” aka the “five stages of grief” to accompany the current slide.   The Minnesota come from ahead loss?  Denial:  “that didn’t just happen…the Skins couldn’t have coughed up a 13 point lead to a 1-7 team”.  The Philadelphia defeat?  Anger: “how could they start so slow again…and who was RG3 throwing to?”.  The smackdown by San Francisco?  Bargaining:  “if they could just play a full 60 minutes in all three phases, the Skins might be able to make a run…”.  The collapse against the NY Giants?  Depression: “they blew a double-digit lead AGAIN?  And clinch their way out of the playoffs with FOUR games to go?  Life sucks…”  Sunday’s loss to Kansas City?  Acceptance:  “WOW.  This team is rudderless…and beyond bad.  Ten losses for the seventh time in eleven seasons.  Last year’s turnaround was a mirage after all.  And who knows when things will get better?“.

Now turnarounds happen– and there’s been many a team that’s gone from 10+ losses to the playoffs in one season.  Witness the Skins last year.  But the current cloud that hangs over the owner, coach, and quarterback only masks more than a few things that demand attention–this is not a good football team.  This team does not execute well in any phase of the game…and things may get worse (maybe much worse) before they get better.  Perhaps Pepper Rodgers is available.

Special Teams Execution?  I’m all for it— Dexter McCluster returned 7 punts for 177 yards…and his first three changed the tone of the game.  Return #1 was 57 yards and gave the Chiefs the ball at the Washington 13…five plays later KC had its first touchdown of the day.  Return #2 was a 24 yarder that put the ball on the Redskins 41…and five plays later the Chiefs reached the endzone again.  Return #3 came after a Quentin Demps fumble return for a score was overturned on replay:  instead the Skins punted and McCluster ran the ball back 74 yards–giving Kansas City a 31-0 lead with just under 10 minutes left in the second quarter.  But don’t feel bad for Demps:  he returned a kickoff 95 yards for a score later in the quarter.  Beyond abominable.

RG3ver– the face of the franchise completed 12 of 26 passes for 164 yards…one touchdown and one interception…while running 4 times for 29 yards.  The pick set up the Kansas City touchdown that made the score 17-0.  Although he did lead the Skins on two late first half drives,  RG3 went 1 for 8 in the second half and gave way to Kirk Cousins…who in a 7-16 for 59 yards performance further entrenched himself as a #2.  As in “not #1”.

Alfred the Invisible– 12 carries for 31 yards.  Granted, this is the one game during the slide when not using Mr. Morris in the second half made perfect sense.  But there is great news!  Zack passed the 1,000 yard plateau…but much like the Palm Springs Weekend where the focus was on Jessie’s accepting her father’s new wife and Slater getting together with a foreign princess (?), another week saw another Morris performance go with minimal notice.

Passive Protection– another rough day for the offensive line:  6 sacks, running the total allowance to 24 over the last 5 weeks.  It’s very tough to produce in the passing game  when you’re lying flat on your back.

Third and Why are we doing this?– the Skins went 3-15 in moving the chains…0-7 after halftime.  RG3 went 4-8 with 3 conversions…while scrambling twice to no avail and getting sacked once.  Kirk Cousins went 1-3 with Logan Paulsen fumbling his one completed pass.  The yardage breakdown:  1-3 on short (1-3 yards needed), 1-4 on midrange (4-6) and 1-8 on third and long (7+ yards necessary).  Once again the majority of third downs come with 7+ yards needed…more of an indictment on first and second down.

Defense Dismal– missed tackles when it mattered.  Turning an ordinary Alex Smith into something special (7 of his first 9 attempts for 80 yards and a TD).  No sacks.  And only three more weeks.

Cobra Kai–  Mr. Forbath connects on a 50 yard field goal (career long) and his lone extra point attempt…but was an afterthought like Billy Zabka in the TV series “The Equalizer”.  How can you bully teens on a CBS drama with a Sean Connery knockoff starring as an investigator?  No mercy, indeed.

Flying Flags– four penalties for 27 yards.  Two holds:  one on a kickoff return that pushed a 1st & 10 from the W14 to the W7…the other turning a 3rd & 2 into a 2nd and 17, effectively setting up a punt.  Ryan Kerrigan’s illegal contact helped set up a KC (missed) field goal attempt.  A neutral zone infraction during an extra point attempt against Perry Riley only affected where the ensuing kickoff was teed up.

Dissecting the Division– Philadelphia’s win plus Dallas’ loss leapfrogs the Eagles ahead of the Cowboys into first place of the NFC East…as Philly gets the #3 seed and a first round game with San Francisco (at least it’s at home).  Dallas drops to 9th in the conference…losing the tiebreaker with Chicago.  The NY Giants hold down 3rd in the East, and 11th in the NFC…but are eliminated from the playoffs because even if they were to finish in a 3-way tie with Philly and Dallas at 8-8, they wouldn’t hold the tiebreaker (the Cowboys would).  The Redskins?  Tied with Atlanta for last in the NFC– and they face the Falcons next weekend.  A Giants win or a Skins loss over the last three weeks clinches a last place finish in the NFC East for the fifth time in six years.  Where are the Cardinals when you really need them?

Divisions of Dominance…and Depression– the NFC West remains #1 at 33-19…two games better than its AFC counterpart.  The AFC South remains the gang that can’t shoot straight (19-33) with Jacksonville actually the hottest team in the division.  The NFC/SEC?  7th at 23-29…and the division’s 5-11 mark against the AFC is one reason why the NFC isn’t pulling away in the interconference contest (they still lead 31-27 with six games remaining).

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