The Washington Football team had their hands full against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, losing 30-15, in an entirely convincing way. While the defense had their moments on Sunday that reminded all that were watching that they would be just fine, the offense emphasized that they will not be, and possibly for some time. Their offense puts their team in a major hole with a slow start for two consecutive weeks, only accumulating 96 total yards in the first half. Unfortunately for the team, a 20-0 halftime deficit was just too much to come back from.
In a loss like this, multiple contributing factors resulted in Washington losing against Arizona, but what moment, or which drive, did Washington lose the game?
Washington's most critical drive in the game came in the second quarter, already down 17-0. At that point, Washington's offense had committed one turnover and four punts on five drives and accumulated just 67 total yards. On a drive where both offensive coordinator Scott Turner and quarterback Dwayne Haskins started to find a rhythm and effectively move the ball, Washington finally had a shot at building momentum and getting themselves back in the game. The 11-play drive that put Washington inside the Cardinals 35-yard line, but unfortunately for the team, a backbreaking mistake cost the team field position and points.
Incomplete, incomplete, and a seven-yard sack ended the game's best drive to that point for Washington. The backbreaking sack reminded us how inexperienced Haskins is today and how inept the offense truly is. Multiple units of the offense failed on third-down that should have led Haskins to throw the ball away:
- All four of Washington's receivers lost their matchups against the Cardinals defensive backs.
- The left guard was unable to sustain his block in pass-protection, which resulted in a quick pressure by Cardinals linebacker Haason Riddick.
- Offensive Coordinator, Scott Turner's play-call on third and long did not force any of the Cardinals defensive backs to switch off their man or run through traffic. So it all came down to the receivers, which we know are not good collectively, beating the man in front of them. Two of the receivers ran five-yard curls that were not close to the sticks, and were smothered by the defenders.
- Lastly, Dwayne saw nothing early on at the snap that indicated the play was still alive. Recognizing that you cannot save every play will go a long way in the NFL. Instead, Haskins tried to keep the play alive by rolling outside of the pocket and possibly scrambling on this play. But the Cardinals defense is too fast, and Washington needed the points in the worst way. The sack he took knocked the team out of field goal position and killed all semblances of momentum; it might as well have been a turnover.
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This is all a learning experience for Haskins, as he is only in his ninth start in the league. His first two games have been shaky from an overall perspective; on many occasions, his accuracy has stalled offensive drives (just like the offensive line's pass-protection). He does not take most of the blame-pie with an offense this inept, but it should be noted that he has undoubtedly earned some of it. Head Coach Ron Rivera stated Monday that Haskins needs to develop a little more patience within the play.
"It's almost as if he's so hype that he goes through his progressions really quickly or he's trying to get the ball out of his hands sooner than he needs to," Rivera said in the video above. "You want him to be a little bit more patient because he's making good reads. He's making good decisions. But, he's either going through it too quickly and not delivering a good ball early on. Then you get a little bit of a hurry-up situation with a little bit of angst going and you see him connecting. You see it all being kind of put together. That's the guy that we want to see when we start the game."
Moving forward, you hope to see Haskins take heed of Rivera's comments and incorporates that into his game.
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Jamual Forrest has been a freelance sports journalist for four years, covering the Washington Football Team and can be heard as a co-host on The Hog Sty Network's "The Hog Sty" podcast. Additionally, Jamual contributes to The Hog Sty Network and SB Nation's Hogs Haven. You can follow Jamual on Twitter at @LetMualTellit and see his Washington Football Team film breakdowns here.