Two weeks ago the Redskins were just over a minute away from beating the reigning Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants. Despite giving up the late lead to a blown coverage a high school team would be embarrassed about and their record falling to 3-4, there was much to be optimistic about and many power rankings had the Redskins in or around the top ten.
This week, after two disappointing, verging on embarrassing defeats, a 15 point loss to the improving Steelers, and a lethargic loss to the previously one-win Panthers, the Redskins offense appears to be playing as poorly as the defense. Dropped catches, penalties, sacks and dubious playcalling have resulted in a league low 25 points in the last two games.
Despite the best efforts of RG3 and Alfred Morris, our offense only seems to score on 10 play or more drives. These drives of course are great, but you’re not going to drive the length of the pitch, eat up eight minutes off the clock, convert on all third (or fourth) downs, every time you get the ball. With our defense seemingly allowing opponents to do just that, we’re only getting four or five drives a half.
What has happened to our quick strike potential? Where are our receivers? Why can’t we find our own Victor Cruz from nowhere to pick up the slack when our #1 receiver goes down injured?
If dropping ten balls in one game wasn’t bad enough, our receivers seem to have lost the ability to gain separation from their defenders. This results in check downs, QB scrambles or sacks. RG3 appears to have little confidence in his receivers’ abilities to catch a deep ball, to “go and get it”, a la Steve Smith, the aforementioned Cruz, Julio Jones and AJ Green, to mention just four that we have come up against thus far.
Is the losing streak and lack of points just the fault of the receivers? Of course not, but during the three game losing streak, our leading receiver is last year’s third string tight end, Logan Paulsen with 13 catches for 178 yards. Josh Morgan also has 13 grabs but for only 108 yards, an average of just 8.3 yards per reception. Hardly a deep threat.
But back to the original question. Who are the 2012 Redskins? A 3-6 team that will struggle for wins down the stretch mainly against their division, against the teams they know best and know them best and struggle to beat? Or the team from the first six games, a team that will compete with everyone and is maybe just a play or two away?
We need this bye week. We need to regroup, take a good look at ourselves and come out fighting. It’s not all over yet. With seven games to go, the second wild card team currently holds a 5-4 record. The NFC East teams are not playing great football this year and can be beaten. But we need to play like the team that beat the Vikings and nearly beat the Giants, not the lackluster group that surrendered to the Panthers. So which team will show up on November 18th?