Rapid Reaction: Washington Redskins
December, 22, 2013
By John Keim | ESPN.com
LANDOVER, Md. -- A few thoughts on the Washington Redskins' 24-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys:
What it means: The Redskins have lost seven consecutive games, tying the franchise record for the longest streak since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. They're now a well-earned 3-11. They also lost seven in a row in 1998 and ’94. Sunday was yet another example of a team that just can’t make plays when needed. The defense allowed Dallas to drive 87 yards for the winning touchdown drive. The special teams allowed yet another long return to open the game in bad fashion, and the offense did not help itself in the red zone and with another turnover. Though the Redskins can claim they played better and were, once again, close, the reality is that they’re just not good enough to win. They consistently played bad football all season, and this game was no different. The defense, minus Brian Orakpo, didn’t apply enough pressure, giving quarterback Tony Romo way too much time. It led directly to two touchdown passes.
Red zone woes: The Redskins had excellent field position much of the day, but their first two trips in the red zone did not end well. After an 18-yard punt return by Santana Moss, the Redskins had a first down at the Dallas 37. They ended up kicking a 36-yard field goal. Their next drive was excellent, moving from their 21 to a third-and-goal from the Cowboys’ 2-yard line. But consecutive penalties left them at third-and-12, and another field goal followed. When you play close games, series like these lead to losses.
Saying goodbye: This was the final home game for linebacker London Fletcher as well as a number of other Redskins. The coaching staff also might have coached their final home game. It’s still hard to imagine owner Dan Snyder allowing this regime to continue, though strange things can still happen. But for Fletcher, it was no doubt his last home game and he was the last Redskin to leave the field, surrounded by numerous photographers -- and getting a nice hand from the fans. Fletcher did not leave with a great game, finishing with one solo tackle. He was out for much of the winning drive as the Redskins used six defensive backs.
Quarterback watch: Kirk Cousins was OK in his second start of the season, completing 21 of 36 passes for 197 yards, one touchdown and one interception. It’s his third pick in two starts and each came off a bad throw and not a forced one or bad decision. Cousins had some nice throws, including one with right tackle Tyler Polumbus right in his way. But overall there was nothing special to his day, and he failed to get a first down on the final series.
What’s next: The season finale at the New York Giants. The Redskins already have clinched last place, so they’re left once more playing for pride. But it’s not as if the Giants have anything at stake, either.