Best and worst moments from the Redskins’ 29-20 loss to the Chiefs on Monday night.
Worst oh-so-close: Josh Doctson, who made a beautiful diving reception earlier in the fourth quarter, nearly pulled in a go-ahead 22-yard touchdown catch on third down and less than a minute remaining, but he couldn’t quite hang onto a perfect pass from Kirk Cousins after hitting the turf in the back of the end zone. The Redskins settled for a Dustin Hopkins field goal to tie the game.
Worst ending to a great game: With only 50 seconds to work with, the Chiefs drove 50 yards on six plays, including a 37-yard pass on the run from Alex Smith to Albert Wilson. Chiefs rookie kicker Harrison Butker, who was signed off the Panthers’ practice squad earlier this week after Cairo Santos was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury, drilled a 43-yard field goal to give Kansas City a 23-20 lead with four seconds to play. The Redskins certainly didn’t embarrass themselves in prime time against the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team. Far from it. They didn’t cover, either…
Best ending to a great game if you had the Chiefs and the points or the over: There was enough time remaining for the Redskins to attempt one last desperation play after the Chiefs’ ensuing kickoff. After a short completion to Jamison Crowder and three laterals, Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston picked up the ball and rumbled 13 yards into the end zone for a touchdown that was meaningless to everyone except those who wagered on the game. Like that, the Chiefs covered the seven-point spread, the game went over the 48-point total and the play was guaranteed a spot on an upcoming edition of SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt’s “Bad Beats” segment.
Best bend-but-don’t-break defense: The Chiefs began to tilt the time of possession battle after the first quarter and were moving the ball at will against a beat up and gassed Redskins defense in the fourth quarter, but Washington managed to limit Kansas City to a 32-yard field goal with 4:55 remaining. That gave the Chiefs a 20-17 lead and Cousins and the offense a chance. Kansas City had a whopping 29 first downs and out-gained Washington 429-331.
Best running QB: Alex Smith had more rushing yards and a touchdown, but Cousins’s gutsy runs with the game hanging in the balance on Washington’s game-tying drive gives him the nod. On third and eight from his own 43-yard line, Cousins motored for 10 yards before absorbing a big hit from Allen Bailey. Two plays later, he darted up the middle for 15 yards. He finished as the Redskins’ leading rusher — never a good sign — with 38 yards.
Worst injuries: Given all the injuries they suffered, it’s a wonder the Redskins were in position to win game. Josh Norman (ribs), Trent Williams (knee) and Rob Kelley (ankle) all left the game in the second quarter. Greg Manusky’s defense began to resemble a M.A.S.H. unit in the second half, with safeties Deshazor Everett and Montae Nicholson, cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Quinton Dunbar and linebackers Zach Brown, Martrell Spaight and Mason Foster all getting banged up. “I think Washington’s running out of defensive players,” ESPN’s Jon Gruden said after Brown limped off the field in the fourth quarter.
Worst injury update: ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported at halftime that Jay Gruden told her Norman’s injury is “pretty significant” and the team expects him to miss “at least a couple of weeks.”
Best time for a bye week: The 2-2 Redskins will have two weeks to get healthy for the 49ers.
Worst third-down defense: After holding the Raiders without a third-down conversion on 11 attempts last week, the Redskins allowed the Chiefs to convert seven of their first 10 third downs on Monday. A 68-yard drive featuring a pair of long third-down conversions led to a Kansas City field goal that tied the game at 17 just before the fourth quarter.
Worst penalties: Kansas City took its first lead of the game on the opening drive of the second half by going 79 yards on 10 plays. Twenty-four of those yards came on Redskins penalties and, after it appeared an incomplete pass would force the Chiefs to settle for a game-tying field goal, Preston Smith’s second of three offside infractions in the game gave Kansas City a do-over on third and goal from the 1-yard line. Alex Smith scampered untouched into the end zone on the next play. If Preston Smith was offside on Alex Smith’s touchdown run, it was by a toe or a face mask. Washington committed seven penalties for 44 yards.
Best answer: It didn’t take long for Washington to answer, as Cousins found Vernon Davis for a nice 69-yard catch and run on the Redskins’ next play from scrimmage. Davis’s longest reception since 2009 set up Cousins’s three-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grant and the extra point gave the visitors a 17-14 advantage midway through the third quarter. The Chiefs’ lead lasted 98 seconds.
Worst hands: When it comes to ball security, Redskins rookie Samaje Perine is looking more and more like Matt Jones 2.0, which is not a compliment in the way that, say, referring to Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff and their fellow offensive linemen as Hogs 2.0 is. Perine, who received the bulk of the carries after starter Rob Kelley left the game with an ankle injury, couldn’t handle a toss on Washington’s first drive of the fourth quarter. The ball bounced harmlessly out of bounds, but resulted in a seven-yard loss and a Redskins punt two plays later. Perine also fumbled in his preseason debut and last week. Chris Thompson, who had his quietest game of the season, handled the rushing duties for the remainder of the game and finished with six carries for 23 yards.
Best start offensively: Welcome to the Redskins, Terrelle Pryor Sr. Washington scored on its opening drive for the second consecutive week when Cousins and Pryor hooked up for a 44-yard touchdown strike on the sixth play of the game. Pryor had four catches for 50 yards in the Redskins’ previous two games combined and had yet to find the end zone. The completion, which was all the more impressive because it came against all-pro cornerback Marcus Peters, was set up by play-action after Washington ran the ball on three of its first four plays and Rob Kelley gained 19 yards. Remember when slow starts were this team’s MO? Yeah, me neither.
Best start defensively: The Redskins’ defense, which sparked last week’s rout of the Raiders by intercepting Derek Carr’s first pass of the game, forced a three-and-out on Kansas City’s first possession. Ryan Kerrigan, making his 100th start for Washington, sacked Alex Smith for a nine-yard loss on first down to set the tone.
Worst drop: Perhaps sensing that he was about to take a hit, Pryor failed to haul in a Cousins pass on a slant route on third and short late in the second quarter. The drop resulted in a three-and-out and a Tress Way punt after a drive that took all of 54 seconds. Pryor finished with three catches for 70 yards.
Worst inevitability: After being limited to 77 yards on their first three possessions, the Chiefs’ offense finally got in gear before halftime. Taking advantage of a tired — and to that point dominant — Redskins defense after Pryor’s drop, Kansas City marched 73 yards on seven plays to pull within 10-7. One play after Redskins cornerback Josh Norman left the game with a rib injury, Alex Smith capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce.
Best gamble: Facing fourth and one at the Chiefs’ 29-yard line on Washington’s second drive, Coach Jay Gruden kept the offense on the field and dialed up a bootleg keeper for Cousins. With Trent Williams paving the way, the new dad easily picked up the first down on a brilliant call.
Best break: Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen dislodged the ball from Jordan Reed following a 15-yard completion on third down later in the drive and Kansas City recovered what was initially ruled a fumble. The call was overturned upon replay review, as Reed’s knee was down before the ball came loose, giving the Redskins a first and goal from the 7-yard line.
Worst cashing in: Washington settled for a 19-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal and a 10-0 lead with 2:47 remaining in the first quarter after Kelley and Cousins combined for six yards on three carries to end the drive. Still, it was a second consecutive long drive that culminated in points and it kept the Chiefs’ potent offense off the field. Washington outgained the Chiefs 120-36 in the first quarter and possessed the ball for nearly 11 minutes.
Best pressure: The Chiefs moved the ball on their second possession, which included a 32-yard completion to Kelce on third-and-long, but Matt Ioannidis’s second sack of the season on a subsequent third down resulted in an eight-yard loss that took Kansas City out of field goal range.
Best hits: D.J. Swearinger has taken to calling the Redskins’ secondary “The Flight Marshals” because they control the air. “We’re going to get on this flight, it’s going to be a long flight, we’re going to keep everybody in their seat belts and we’re going to keep the red light on,” he said after Washington shut down the Raiders’ passing game last week. The Flight Marshals will also level foes like Terry Tate, as Swearinger demonstrated with his hit on Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch and Josh Norman showed Monday when he broke up a pass intended for Kelce. Bashaud Breeland stuffed Albert Wilson one play later. The Chiefs should really obey that seat belt sign, though Kelce still managed to finish with seven catches for a game-high 111 yards.
Worst first impression: Butker pushed his first field goal attempt wide left from 46 yards just before the half to preserve Washington’s 10-7 lead.
Worst tackle: The Chiefs wouldn’t have been in position for Butker to miss his first NFL kick if Smith hadn’t run for 32 yards on third and seven from the Kansas City 20-yard line. At least 15 of those yards came after Redskins linebacker Martrell Spaight appeared to slow up near the sideline, perhaps thinking that the quarterback was headed out of bounds.
Best genes: “I’m an emotional wreck,” ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said during the first quarter while discussing his family ties to the Redskins’ coaching staff. In addition to his brother, Jay, Jon Gruden’s son, Deuce, is an assistant strength and conditioning coach for Washington. Deuce is also a world champion powerlifter.
Best trip: The Redskins should’ve been happy to be on the road, and not only because Kansas City is home to some finger-licking-good barbecue. Washington is an unfathomable 2-16 on Monday night games played at FedEx Field since the stadium opened in 1997, but dropped to a respectable 4-4 in Monday night road games during the same period. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have won four straight Monday night home games and are now 6-3 on “Monday Night Football” games at Arrowhead Stadium over the last 20 years.
Worst record: Cousins, who was 14 for 24 for 220 yards and two touchdowns, is now 0-5 on “Monday Night Football.” The Redskins have lost four straight games on Monday night since Colt McCoy won at Dallas in 2014.
Worst streak: The Redskins haven’t defeated the Chiefs since Sept. 18, 1983, which was before anyone on Washington’s current roster was born. (Yes, that includes the ageless wonder Davis.) Since that Joe Theismann-led, 27-12 triumph at RFK Stadium, the Redskins had lost six straight to Kansas City by a combined score of 191-69. Washington is now 0-5 all-time at Arrowhead Stadium.
Best strength vs. strength: The Redskins entered the game allowing 62.3 yards rushing per game, second fewest in the league. The Chiefs were averaging a league-best 162 yards per game on the ground. Something had to give, and Kansas City’s dynamic rookie running back Kareem Hunt finished with 101 yards on 21 carries.
Worst “Well, when you put it that way”: You don’t need an accountant to tell you that $23.9 million — franchise-tagged Kirk Cousins’s base salary for 2017 — goes a long way, but to see the list of Chiefs standouts, including quarterback Alex Smith, who will make less than that combined this year is pretty jarring.
Best reaction to a dumb stadium tradition: Instead of singing “home of the brave,” many fans at Arrowhead Stadium co-opt the final word of the national anthem by shouting “Chiefs” in unison, much like Orioles fans shouting “O.” Cousins wasn’t ready for it.
Best injury report: Rob Kelley, Jordan Reed and Mason Foster, all of whom missed last week’s game against the Raiders, are all active. Safety D.J. Swearinger, who was also questionable with a hamstring injury, is also cleared to play.
Best pregame message: “It’s us against everybody!” fiery safety D.J. Swearinger screamed in the defensive huddle. “Ain’t nobody counting on us, but us. But us!” Swearinger, who was voted a captain after singing with Washington during the offseason, has played up the lack of respect pundits have shown the Redskins for the last few weeks. Washington was a seven-point underdog in Kansas City and all five analysts on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” picked the Chiefs to win.
Best sartorial decision: After wearing gold pants for their first three games, the Redskins are wearing burgundy bottoms with white jerseys for the first time since Week 16 of last year. This remains the Redskins’ best look.
Worst suspense: The Skintangibles edge always goes to Washington.
Best praise: ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough said before kickoff that Chiefs Coach Andy Reid told him the Redskins are the best opponent the Chiefs have played this season. Reid might say that about all of Kansas City’s opponents, as the Chiefs have already played — and defeated — the Patriots and Eagles. Philadelphia beat Washington in Week 1. Reid is now 19-11 all-time against the Redskins.
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