Only thing this team is re­peat­ing are mis­takes

The Washington Times Daily - - Weather -

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.”

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