The Washington Post

Offensive struggles reach low point

The Washington Redskins went into their game against Buffalo yesterday down a boatload of starters on offense, but not even in their worst moments could players have imagined the futility of that unit’s performance in the team’s 23-0 loss.

The offensive line permitted nine sacks of quarterback John Beck who, when not running for self-preservation, held the ball too long in some instances. The running game posted 26 yards against a Bills defense that came in ranked 30th in that category. Beck, meantime, finished as the Redskins’ second leading rusher with 10 yards and a passer rating of 53.6, including two interceptions.

Starting wide receiver Anthony Armstrong had zero catches, and speedy wide receiver Donte Stallworth had more rushing attempts (one) than receptions (zero).

“We believe in this offense,” said running back Ryan Torain, who finished with a grand total of 14 yards on eight carries. “We believe in Kyle. We love Kyle out here working with us. We’re in this together, so we’ve just got to keep fighting and keep pressing.”

“Kyle” is offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, whose unit is ranked 19th in yards per game. To put that in perspective, the Redskins are averaging fewer than two yards per game more than Miami, which hasn’t won a game this season.

Injuries along the offensive line and to running back Tim Hightower, tight end Chris Cooley and wide receiver Santana Moss, all starters, are partly to blame, but no one in the locker room was ready to roll out that excuse. Midway through the season, every NFL team is dealing with ailing personnel.

The Bills, for instance, were without wide receivers Donald Brown and burner Roscoe Parrish, yet they still managed to compile 252 passing yards against Washington's 12th-ranked passing defense.

“I just think it was execution just across the board,” Armstrong said of the Redskins’ offensive struggles. “Quarterback, line, receivers, whatnot. We didn’t make any plays. Very, very lackluster effort.”

Beck finished 20 of 33 for 208 yards, marginally acceptable numbers considering he rarely had tiime to throw. Washington yielded nine sacks with a patchwork offensive line that was missing left tackle Trent Williams and left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, both starters.

That meant regular center Will Montgomery was at left guard, Erik Cookwas starting his second game in a row and reserve Sean Locker starting at left tackle.

“He’s been put in a tough position obviously with the injuries on the offensive line,” Stallworth said of Beck. “You have a set number of guys, the five guys who are set, that get a feel for each other, and then a couple of injuries, the offensive line has been kind of out of sync now because of the injuries and stuff. And I think that’s very important that most people don’t understand, but those guys are working hard like we all are.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.



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