If you’d like to hear a Redskins defensive player bemoan Washington’s performance Sunday afternoon, that wasn’t hard to find.
“We didn’t pay attention to the details as we should,” safety D.J. Swearinger said in the locker room. “I guess we got too high on ourselves — for whatever reason I don’t know why — and we started slow. They ran the ball on us. They passed the ball on us. We just weren’t ready to play. That’s how I’d sum it up: The first half, the defense wasn’t ready to play.”
“We just got our butts kicked up and down the field defensively,” outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “There’s nothing else to it. … It was just obviously not good enough.”
“One of the worst defensive performances we’ve had since I’ve been here, in the first half,” Coach Jay Gruden said.
Here’s the thing: You can rip the defense for its performance in this game without giving up all hope in the unit. Theoretically, at least. By Monday morning, that was cornerback Josh Norman’s approach.
“That’s one of those fluke games, man; it’s one of those fluke games,” Norman said on ESPN 980. “If you have one of those, shoot, just wipe ’em off and keep going. There’s nothing you can do. You’ve got mud on your foot; wipe it off and keep going. Nothing you can do about that. That game’s in the toilet, man, to be honest with you. That’s my thoughts on it.”
I would like more metaphors about this, please.
“Like I said, we’re definitely going to bounce back,” Norman said later. “This is nothing that we’re going to hang our heads on or be in the dust or like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. Nah, man. We’re not having that at all. Not this team. We’re going to come out fighting, we’ll come out strong and we’re going to come out just all hands on deck. And we’ve been like that each and every week. Just this fluke game just got us on our back, and it’s just something that you can’t have if you want to be a championship team.
“And like I said, I’ll take the fault for that and the blame and everything else that goes on top of it. I have broad shoulders, so I can carry it, and that’s okay with me. And once we get this thing going, we’re going to be all right.”
It might be tempting to dispute Norman’s “fluke” formulation, but … well, he sort of has a point. We’re now 25 games into Norman’s time with Washington. The Redskins have allowed more than 300 passing yards just four times, but three of them came in wins when the Skins were ahead. So Sunday’s loss was the first time since Norman arrived that the Redskins gave up more than 300 passing yards in a loss. It was also just the second time the defense has given up five touchdowns since Norman arrived.
“It’s uncharacteristic of our defense,” Norman said. “The DBs, man, we played the worst ball since we’ve been here. That’s not characteristic of us, and at a time like that, you can’t have that. I think for us, just seeing that, it was a big letdown. And I feel like that’s something you can’t have if you’re going to be a championship type of team, and I’ll [take the] onus on that. You know, you’ve got to take onus of your mistakes and your shortcomings. That was something that we didn’t see coming, and it came, and it bit us.”
Norman also regretted the way Minnesota’s receivers ran free in open field after so many of their catches.
“You’ve got to make people pay,” he said. “It’s like, when you come and play us as a secondary, man, it’s like the boneyard, man. You cannot come out here and think you’re going to do what you want to do. And we let that down. We let it down in a bad way, and that’s the most disappointing thing about it.”
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