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Redskins-Rams best and worst

(By Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Best and worst moments from Washington’s 24-0 loss to the Rams at FedEx Field.

Worst loss: This was the worst loss of the season, by a lot. And the Redskins are currently 3-10. In fact, this would be on the short list of worst losses in the last decade, and there have been a lot of bad losses in the last decade. To get utterly humiliated by a losing team, at home, in front of a half-empty stadium, behind a third-string quarterback, after a week of more off-field drama and media fiascos? Not sure how much worse it can really get. But I know this: it can always get worse.

Worst symbolism: The Redskins’ offense was silenced by a Rams defense led by Gregg Williams. The Redskins team was steamrolled by a Rams organization that has attempted to rebuild with all those RGIII picks. The symbolism was nauseating.

Worst optimism: Well, the head coach appears in over his head, all three quarterbacks have now failed, the franchise running back gained six yards on eight carries, the franchise left tackle was miserable, the defensive coordinator got ripped by his former captain, the challenge process remains broken, the special teams were decrepit, the pass coverage was often non-existent, and what fans remained in the fourth quarter alternated between booing and calling for the twice-benched former starting QB to retake the field. It didn’t rain, at least.

Worst quarterback play: Colt McCoy, the journeyman given a shot to save his career in Washington, threw for 199 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He was also sacked six times. This was virtually indistinguishable from some of Robert Griffin III’s worst games.

Worst fake punt: Down nine and needing a spark in the third quarter, with their offense already getting booed, the Redskins tried a fake punt, behind superstar punter Tress Way. He needed five yards. He got two. No one seemed particularly faked. The crowd booed some more.

Worst challenge: After that fake punt, the Rams hit a long pass to Stedman Bailey, who lost the ball after he was tackled near the end zone. His forearm was pretty obviously down before losing the ball, but Jay Gruden and/or Bruce Allen challenged the call anyhow. They lost, of course, and are now 1 for 8 on challenges this season. This one may have been the worst. Suggestion: Ask Bruce Allen what he thinks, then do the reverse.

Best fake extra point: I mean, it was basically just rubbing it in, but the Rams executed a pretty sweet fake extra-point in the third quarter to make their lead 17-0. The Redskins seemed faked. The crowd booed some more.

Worst stat: After his fake-punt attempt, which came midway through the third quarter, Way had two yards rushing. At that point, he had equaled the output of starting running back Alfred Morris. Morris would later gain four more yards, at least.

Worst punt-return coverage: Tavon Austin entered the game averaging 7.3 yards on punt returns this season. Sunday, he averaged 35 yards per return, including a 78-yarder for a touchdown. If that game was supposed to be a throwback to 2013, the special teams sure did its part.

Worst blocking: Trent Williams is supposed to be the best player on the offense. At least once, he did not move as his quarterback got blind-sided. Without one shred of exaggeration, a stuffed turtle could have blocked as effectively here. Redskins quarterbacks were sacked seven times on the day.

Worst truth: Of course, this could have been said for dozens of other soccer players, too.

Worst mismatch: The Redskins have now played all four teams in the strong NFC West, going 0-4. The total margin? How about 98-50.

Worst chant: The RGIII chant was just sad at this point. Everything was sad.

Worst first drive: Whether or not Colt McCoy looked good running Washington’s offense on the game’s first drive (he kinda of did, for a minute), the march ended as so many others have this season: with an unsightly interception. Whether it was a bad throw, a miscommunication or Ryan Grant’s slip-and-fall, the ball wound up in the arms of Rodney McLeod.

Worst review: Officials reviewed that play, since they review all turnovers. They decided the call on the field would stand. Then they reviewed that play again, because this was a Redskins-Rams game. This time, they decided that McLeod was down by contact, which he was. Why they didn’t figure that out the first time, I have no idea. But I loved the review of a review. Just wish they had reviewed the review of the review.

Worst flow: This was not necessarily beautiful football. One early Rams drive featured a (recovered) fumble, a personal foul penalty against Ryan Clark, an illegal use of hands penalty against the Rams, and an offensive pass interference penalty against the Rams. If you can believe this, the first quarter ended with a 0-0 score.

Best pass rusher: Ryan Kerrigan continued his dream season with two more sacks, running his season total to 11.5. His previous career high had been 8.5. One of his famous friends approved.

Worst kickoff return: After St. Louis scored its first touchdown, Andre Roberts fielded the ball at the goal line and returned it to Washington’s 12-yard line. This was the man signed to rejuvenate the return units.

Worst punt return: Andre Roberts fielded a punt at the 4-yard line. I always thought you weren’t supposed to field a punt at your own 4-yard line. After a few moves, Roberts was tackled at the 4-yard line. At least a penalty on the Rams gave Washington 15 more yards.

Worst coverage: Kenny Britt was wide open on a second-quarter drive, but Shaun Hill threw a horrendous pass and the chance was lost. On the same drive, though, Jared Cook was wide open, and Hill hit him for a 35-yard touchdown. Of course, Cook would later get far more wide open on yet another touchdown catch, when he appeared to be closer to the official than to any defenders.

Worst place-kicking: Greg Zuerlein, who might have the most nicknames of any NFL kicker, managed to miss an extra point, a 28-yard field goal and a 38-yard field goal, all in the second quarter. Instead of being down 13-0, the Redskins thus only trailed by six.

Worst celebration: The Redskins’ defense stiffened on a second-quarter drive, thanks to back-to-back sacks of Shaun Hill. Indeed, that’s worth celebrating. But if the quarterback fumbles the ball, you should probably make sure you try to recover it before you start the celebration.

Worst cheap shot: London Fletcher’s criticism of Jim Haslett’s on-field performance was scaldingly harsh, but probably something that comes with the territory. This reply to Haslett’s son on Twitter, though? Woo baby. I might have left that one in my drafts folder.

Worst offense: At halftime, Washington only trailed by six, but that was mostly because of Rams place-kicking blunders. Washington, in fact, had just 93 yards of offense at the break, less than half of the Rams’ total. The offense finished with 206 yards.

Worst quote: “Obviously we are going down instead of raising our level of play,” Coach Jay Gruden said after the game. “And that’s not good.”