The Redskins continued to commit costly errors on offense — struggling quarterback Robert Griffin III had two of their biggest — tackled as poorly as usual and did just enough wrong overall to lose to the Lions for the first time in 22 meetings at their house. Entering the season, the Redskins figured they would have many groundbreaking performances — just not this type.
Washington’s ineptitude on offense, defense and special teams has created a desperate situation in which Coach Mike Shanahan and his assistants are scrambling to find answers. How bad has it gotten for the Redskins? Consider: Of the 161 NFL teams that have started the season 0-3 since 1978, only five have qualified for the postseason, according to STATS LLC.
Before the Redskins can think about trying to salvage their season, they must win a game. And from the look of things Sunday at FedEx Field, they’re not even taking baby steps toward accomplishing that elusive goal.
Offense still not sharp
The group that led the NFL in rushing and finished tied for first in yards per play last season hasn’t showed up. Detroit’s defensive line — led by dominant tackle Ndamukong Suh — gives most offensive lines fits. Redskins blockers, predictably, often were overmatched.
There were, however, some encouraging signs as offensive play-caller Kyle Shanahan got back to what the team did best least season: he moved things around. Play-action passes, zone-read runs, passing plays from option formations, rollouts, bootlegs — the Redskins were on the go throughout the game.
The line did a better job protecting Griffin, who mostly just dropped back in losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. Although Griffin only had 37 yards rushing, his designed runs prompted Detroit’s defensive ends to pause before rushing in. Even one extra second could lead to big plays, and that element had been missing. Getting it back could make a difference down the road — if the Redskins protect the ball better.
In addition to having his third consecutive meaningless 300-yard passing game, Griffin committed two momentum-ending turnovers. At the Lions 19-yard line midway through the second quarter, Griffin, while being taken down by defensive end Willie Young near the sideline, threw into a crowd and was intercepted by cornerback Chris Houston.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Redskins drove from their 20 to their 43. Griffin made a great play, scrambling up the middle for 21 yards, but he dove headfirst, fumbled before being touched and the Lions recovered.