Perhaps Monday Night Football isn’t the best showcase for the Redskins.  Once again, the Burgundy and Gold get blasted under the glare of the prime time lights in a 31-15 loss that wasn’t as close as things appeared (this is becoming a trend).  At 0-3 the Skins are sinking faster than you can possibly imagine.  And just when you thought things eased up after an early rough patch (and it was rough with three games against playoff teams from 2018), three of the Skins’ next six games before their November bye are against 3-0 teams (a fourth is against 2-1 Minnesota and Kirk Cousins).  Even with the NFL being a week to week league, things do not look good in Ashburn.  To add to the fun, at halftime the team honored London Fletcher by adding the former linebacker to the Ring of Honor at FedEx Field-only to spell his last name “Flecther” on the scoreboard.  And the beat goes on…

The Case Against Keenum- the Redskins quarterback threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears.  That’s the good news; he also threw three interceptions and lost a pair of fumbles.  Nobody was expecting Keenum to  be the QB of the future, but the present is far from ideal.

Running a Little Better- from 28 yards against Philadelphia to 47 against Dallas to 69 against the Bears, the Skins are making progress. In theory.  Adrian Peterson ran 12 times for 37 yards, giving him 62 on 22 tries over two games.  Keep in mind that the veteran had seven games in 2018 where he gained fewer than three yards per carry.

Catching On- Terry McLaurin grabbed six more receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown, giving the rookie 16 for 257 and three scores (prorates to 85-1370-16).  One extremely bright spot in a sad start to the season.

Toppings Update- back in the day Papa John’s would offer free toppings on Monday for touchdowns the Redskins would score, and then double the toppings for a Skins win.  Rick Snider (formerly of the Washington Post Express) and I hash out toppings picks each week, although he doesn’t believe in the doubling part of the exercise (which I think only adds to the intrigue).  We have our own quirks;  for example Rick is not a banana peppers guy.  My quirk is when the Skins get a TD garbage time, you get a garbage topping. So instead of pepperoni and mushrooms, last night’s effort generated beets and summer squash (I used broccoli in week one and cauliflower in week two).  Meaning four of the eight touchdowns tallied this year have come after the game was no longer in doubt.

Third and Long Gone- the Skins moved the chains on 3 of 9 attempts, with seven pass plays and two planned runs.  They went 0 for 2 on the ground. Case Keenum completed 3 of 5 passes (two conversions), was sacked once and scrambled for a first down.  Trey Quinn was the top target (two passes thrown to) while Chris Thompson had a carry and a catch (but no conversions).  Yardage breakdown?  They converted 2 for 5 short yardage (1-3 yards needed), 1-1 medium (4-6 yards) and 0-3 on third and seven yards or longer.  Bright spot:  five of the nine third downs were short yardage.

D earns one- the Bears converted 6 of 8 third downs in the first half, including a 3rd and 17 that put Chicago up 28-0.  While they played better after halftime (a season-low three points allowed after intermission) and generated three sacks (one more than their total through two weeks), they also had two linebackers leading the team in tackles. Baby steps.

Special Situations- Tress Way punted just once for 48 yards.  Dustin Hopkins made a 35-yard field goal but missed a 43-yarder. Steven Sims Jr. averaged 34 yards per kickoff return with a long of 45. Trey Quinn averaged 7.5 yards per punt return.  Punt and kickoff coverage wasn’t disastrous.

Flying Flags- NINE penalties for 61 yards (not including one that was offsetting).  Three on offense (plus the offsetting flag) with six on defense.  Just one hold after eight the first two weeks.  A pair of neutral zone infractions on defense was the only recurring violation.  Donald Penn’s the early leader with three accepted penalties (this week’s hold was added to a chop block and a false start) after three weeks.  The most costly flag?  Actually a sequence where the defense was whistled for a neutral zone infraction, an offsides and an illegal contact that kept alive the Bears’ longest drive of the night.  A drive that would result in a touchdown that would put the visitors ahead 14-0 in the second quarter.

Digesting the Division- Dallas (3-0) leads the NFC East and currently owns the #3 seed due to the strength of victory tiebreaker.  Philadelphia (1-2) is in second place and 13th in the NFC due to their division record (1-0) while the New York Giants (1-2 and 0-1 in the East)  are in third and 14th in the conference.  The Redskins reside in last place and are the only 0-3 team in the NFC (there are five 0-3 teams in the AFC).

North Stars and Stumbles- the NFC North is the early leader in the clubhouse with a 9-2-1 start, while the NFC West has the the second best composite record at 8-3-1.  The AFC North has the worst mark at 3-9.  The NFC East?  Middle of the pack at 5-7.

Interconference Affairs- the NFC is crushing the competition, with 11 wins in 14 games.  The NFC has dominated each of the last four odd-numbered seasons.  Since the merger, the conference with the better record has produced the Super Bowl winner 27 times in 49 years (there were eight seasons where the NFC and AFC finished even).