Snider on Fans: "They knew a stinker when seeing one"

RickSnider

The Washington Redskins were out-coached, outplayed and even outdrawn in their 34-17 loss to the New York Jets at FedEx Field.

The 34-17 Jets victory was a butt-whooping to the smallest detail. That the Redskins scored two touchdowns – ending a 16-quarter drought that was the NFL’s longest since 2001 and the team’s most since 1936 when playing in Boston – made it only seem like a bad loss rather than a humiliating one.

But it was beyond awful. The then 2-7 Jets led 34-3, scored at will and even had the majority of a the smallish 30,000-crowd on their side. The loudest cheers of the day were “J-E-T-S” celebrations. The Redskins managed to score a field goal early only to be met with silence when the stadium speakers blared “Hail to the Redskins.” Fans may be cheap, some paying just $6 for tickets, but they’re not dumb. They knew a stinker when seeing one.

“We were not on top of our game in any way, shape or form,” said interim head coach Bill Callahan.

It would be easy to blame quarterback Dwayne Haskins for the fiasco. And indeed, the rookie looked as lost as Little Red in the forest. His 19 of 35 for 214 and first two career touchdowns was slanted by two late scores, including a 45-yard reception by Derrius Guice, who played for the first time since injured on opening day. Haskins missed several open receivers and turned into the pass rush for six sacks too many times.

But it was the defense that truly caused this loss. They couldn’t stop the Jets. Not on the first drive that went for a touchdown in seven plays or final possession of the first half when covering 82 yards on three plays for a 20-3 lead that unofficially ended Washington’s chances.

A defense that some believed would be in the NFL’s top half once again looked unprepared despite coming off a bye week. The line couldn’t force any pressure and the secondary members often pointed to each other after surrendering touchdowns.

Indeed, the defense allowed more than 30 points for the fifth time in the 1-9 start, second only to Washington’s 0-9-1 in 1961 as the team’s worst opening stretch. Callahan said he wasn’t planning any staff changes despite long-time rumors of defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s ouster.

Perhaps the only positive was the return of Guice after missing eight games with an opening-day knee injury after sidelined all of his 2018 rookie year with a knee injury. Guice ended the touchdown-less streak by taking a short pass down the right sideline for a 45-year score. Guice gained 24 yards on seven carries while splitting time with Adrian Peterson. At least now the offense has perhaps its top backfield play maker on the field once more.

Meanwhile, Callahan doesn’t expect many changes over the final six weeks. Most likely, Callahan won’t be retained as the head coach and might not see the value in playing more young players given Callahan won’t be here to reap the benefit. Then again, there aren’t a lot of options or they’d already be playing more. Either way, Callahan soldiers on with a cast whose spirit seems withering by the week.

“I think we continue to emphasize what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’ve been consistent with our approach with our players. . . . We’ve made some subtle changes along the way and we have pieces a little bit differently this game than we have in the past.”

Rick Snider is an award-winning sports writer who has covered Washington sports since 1978. He first wrote about the Redskins in 1983 before becoming a beat writer in 1993. Snider currently writes for several national and international publications and is a Washington tour guide.

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