Redskins Halftime Takeaways: Washington playing to lose
By Ian Cummings
In the season finale, it seems as though both the Redskins and Cowboys want to lose. Neither team is playing like they have a desire to win.
At the half, the Washington Redskins trail the Cowboys 20-10. There have been many sporadic momentum shifts, but both teams have had trouble capitalizing on opportunities thrown their way. The Redskins offense has been largely anemic, missing Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin, while the Cowboys have been very mistake-prone, with multiple lost fumbles on the stat sheet.
It would’ve been optimistic to expect much from the Redskins in Week 17; the team’s secondary is in shambles due to injuries, and the offense is missing several key contributors. The Redskins also have nothing to play for; they’d actually benefit in the long-run by losing, locking up the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. So far, they’re well on their way to that fate.
On offense, there have been few bright spots for Washington. Case Keenum is 12 for 24 for 96 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, and he hasn’t been able to get comfortable behind an inconsistent blocking unit. Several attempts to sprinkle some creativity into the game plan have failed, and although individual players have flashed, such as wide receivers Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims, and tight end Hale Hentges, the offense as a whole has been subpar. They did gain momentum at the end of the half, so perhaps things will pick up in the third quarter.
Washington’s defense has been more proactive in its quest to earn a season-ending victory, with rookie Montez Sweat leading the charge. Sweat has two sacks through two quarters, upping his season total to seven, and he could’ve had a third if a close play had been reviewed earlier. The team as a whole hasn’t been consistent around Sweat, however, and Ezekiel Elliott has scored two touchdowns in what appears to be a blossoming blowout for Dallas.
Can the Redskins fight to stay in the game in the second half? They start the second half with possession of the football, so they’ll have a chance to try and boost their chances of winning. If the first half is any indication, however, they might not want to.