Only thing this team is repeating are mistakes
SPHILADELPHIA o much felt familiar. The same mistakes. The same excuses. The same cliches. The same result. Any delusion the Redskins’ season of disappointment can be salvaged disappeared during Sunday afternoon’s 24-16 loss to the Eagles.
Six games remain on the schedule, but, in actuality, the season is finished.
Forget about the fourth-quarter rally that kept flickering hopes alive until Robert Griffin III’s ill-advised pass was intercepted in the end zone with 32 seconds remaining. That’s just one more tease in a season crammed with them.
The reality in the thick air of the visitor’s locker room at Lincoln Financial Field is a 3-7 football team with no answers. No longer could they hide behind hollow boasts about repeating the seven-game winning streak that saved last season or similar hot air that labeled each win this season a turning point.
Metal lockers slammed. A tray of oranges sat uneaten.
“I just don’t understand,” DeAngelo Hall said, “where it’s falling apart.” That bafflement, too, is familiar. Instead of answers, they talked about the team’s tight-knit atmosphere. How they kept fighting. How they didn’t give up. How they’re
in the season opener Sept. 9, were more refined. The Eagles, who were missing several key players because of injuries, were more ready.
“It took us until the fourth quarter to make a couple plays,” Shanahan said. “We had our opportunity there at the end. We just couldn’t take advantage of it.”
Much like in the opener, Griffin, who completed 17 of 35 passes for 264 yards, did most his damage in the second half. He delivered a pair of long touchdown strikes, first to fullback Darrel Young and then to little-used wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, and followed each play with successful two-point conversions.
What sent him into a daze was his late-game interception, a pass thrown off-balance and directly into the hands of Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin in the back of the end zone. Griffin had led the Redskins’ offense from its own 4-yard line to the Eagles’ 18 before the mistake.
The Eagles had not won at home this season. Foles, taking a knee with 24 seconds left, ensured not only that it would happen, but that the Redskins would find themselves further back in the standings.
“I think in this situation, we have to look at ourselves critically and say, ‘What can we do better moving forward?’” tight end Logan Paulsen said. “Thank God we’re in an awful division. You never know. We’ve got to control what we can control, and see where it takes us.”
Since 1990, when the NFL reconfigured the postseason, only 18 teams with a losing record after nine games have made the playoffs. The Redskins did so last year, though players have often cautioned the situations aren’t the same.
Now, and increasingly, doing that again seems like a dream. The Redskins can’t emerge from the haze.
“They always say fatigue makes cowards of men, and for me, and for this team, we have to come out here every week prepared,” Griffin said. “We can’t get down on ourselves. We can’t look at our record and say, ‘There’s no chance.’ All we have is the next week. ... It’s seasons like this, or a streak like this — we’re sitting here at 3-7 — that can make guys give up. But I don’t believe that guys will give up. I believe, and that’s all we need. We need guys to believe to have success.”