By Jake Russell
Embarrassing. Disheartening. Lifeless. Sad.
Those are just a few of many words that can be used to describe what an announced crowd of 77,442 witnessed at FedExField on a gray Sunday as the Redskins lost to the 1-8 Buccaneers 27-7.
As someone who has attended about 150 Redskins games in my lifetime, a 20-point loss to a one-win Buccaneers team rivals a 27-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on a rainy Sunday night in December at FedExField in 2003. Yes, the same game in which Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck put up four interceptions and a 0.0 passer rating.
The common thread between the loss 11 years ago and yesterday? Even the peak of patriotism on a Saturday couldn’t help this franchise muster a victory the next day.
Representing the nation’s capital, the Redskins failed to defeat the archrival Cowboys the day after Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces in Operation Red Dawn.
Fast forward to November 15th, 2014. The Redskins receive a pep talk during a team meeting from Rob O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Osama bin Laden. O’Neill, an admitted Redskins fan, also attended Sunday’s game in Dan Snyder’s owner’s box wearing a blazer and a military-themed Redskins hat.
Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers proved that if a speech from the man who took down the world’s most wanted terrorist can’t motivate them, nothing will.
The mood, body language and overall tenor of the team was eerily reminiscent to what a record-low crowd witnessed at FedExField in Week 14 of the 2013 season when the Redskins lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 45-10.
If recent history is any indication, not much will change any time soon.
- At least it wasn’t a shutout
That was supposed to be a line reserved for Bucs fans. Instead, that’s all Redskins fans had to hang their hat on after as they reflected upon another lost season. It’s not a surprise the Redskins lost to a 1-8 team because it’s a Redskins thing to do. It’s how badly they looked in the process.
The Redskins were supposed to be feeling refreshed after a bye week and facing a team in which they’re supposed to “get right” against. When the final whistle blew, however, all the team had to look back on was a dumpoff pass that Roy Helu, Jr. took 30 yards for a touchdown with 11 seconds left in the first half.
- Fans stayed until the third quarter… and the fourth
The FedExField crowd was announced at 77,442. There weren’t that many people there. The number, which must have represented paid attendance, was certainly off by thousands in actual attendance.
Kudos to those who stayed past the first half to watch an undesirable product on the field.
- Pretty much everything about the game
Helu’s touchdown had no impact on the game. Yes, it brought the team within six points of the Bucs but failed to develop into second half momentum.
The Redskins were just plain sloppy. Penalties. Mental mistakes. Interceptions. Fumbles. Injuries. Missed reads. Sacks galore. Dropped passes. They were flatter than 30-year-old soda.
The veteran secondary couldn’t contain a rookie, albeit a very talented rookie, wide receiver and a 35-year old journeyman quarterback. The offensive line constantly let a pedestrian defense pressure Robert Griffin III and sack him six times. Griffin had no pocket presence, held on to the ball too long in many cases and often tried to make plays that weren’t there to be made.
- Players throwing teammates under the bus
Robert Griffin III answered a question following the loss asking why he was so effective in 2012 but struggled so much Sunday. Here’s what he said.
We were playing good team ball. It takes 11 men. It doesn’t take one guy, and that’s proven. If you want to look at the good teams in this league and the great quarterbacks, the Peytons and the Aaron Rodgers, those guys don’t play well if their guys don’t play well. They don’t. We need everybody. I need every one of those guys in that locker room, and I know they’re looking at me saying the same thing. I’ma be there for them. I promise that. I’ll give it to ’em every day. I’ll never quit on ’em. I need them to do the same. And I know they will. I believe them well. What else am I supposed to believe? I believe in my teammates. We’ll get it done.
I’ve never been one to nitpick Griffin or jump on his case about little things because I’m not a fan of hyperactive overanalysis. However, despite what he said being 100 percent true and the fact that he has personally shouldered blame time and time again during his three-year career, the line about great quarterbacks needing their teammates to play well in order for them to play well did not need to be said. We all know that. Anyone who watched the game Sunday saw that the loss was a total team effort. Griffin saying that will likely lead to a disgruntled locker room and doesn’t have any positive repercussions.
Now onto his star receiver, DeSean Jackson, who sent out a tweet (not so) bright and early Monday morning.
The Instagram link leads to a quote stating “You can’t do epic s*** with basic people.”
Some say it’s a shot at Griffin. I say it’s a shot at his dissatisfaction in his new team and Griffin is certainly included.
It’s about that time of year where families prepare for the holidays and make plans to travel to see relatives. For the Redskins, it’s time for their annual implosion.
I would say this is rock bottom but there are still six games left. We’ve all seen that it can always get worse.