The Post’s new D.C. Sports Bog (DCSB) newsletter, written by me (hi!), will be emailed to subscribers before 8 a.m. the morning after every Redskins game. (The newsletter also brings you the best of our D.C. sports coverage every other weekday, plus it lets you feel like you’re email buddies with me.) (Hi!) The idea is that the newsletter will link to all of our Redskins best coverage the morning after, and will also be fun to read. This week’s might not be particularly fun to read, owing to circumstances. But you should definitely sign up for the DCSB newsletter here.
After two weeks last season, the NFL’s best point differentials belonged to the undefeated Ravens and the undefeated Raiders. The Broncos were 2-0. The Saints were 0-2. The Eagles and Patriots were both 1-1, both having lost to the Chiefs, who seemed the class of the NFL. The Jaguars were 21st in The Post’s power rankings, just behind the Giants and Cardinals. The Rams were 22nd. The Vikings were 23rd.
We know nothing, in other words, nothing about who’s good and who’s bad, nothing about health in October or November, nothing about what matters and what’s a blip, nothing at all about playoff teams or average teams or ridiculously awful teams. (Except the Cardinals and Bills. They’re ridiculously awful.)
And yet! And yet we still kind of, sort of, mostly know that the Redskins’ loss to the Colts in their home opener was bad, bad for a million reasons, bad in ways that could color the franchise’s future. (Could. Could. You’re not gonna get me to go out on any limbs here. Sorry.)
Why was it so bad?
* Because up next is Aaron Rodgers, and after that is Drew Brees, and after that is Cam Newton, and this was a chance to get out ahead of that storm. (Read Boz, on the miserable blown opportunity.)
* Because the Eagles lost, and the Giants lost, and if Washington handled its business at home the Skins would be 2-0, and yeah, in first place, and yeah, maybe some people might have gotten a tiny tinge of excitement in their loins.
* Because this fan base badly needs a tiny tinge of excitement, Sunday’s shockingly low attendance being the latest evidence. (Read Liz Clarke on the day’s biggest stunner: those miles of empty seats.) That crowd was a vote of no-confidence in the past 20 years, in the FedEx Field experience, in a team that finally developed a quarterback and then let him go, in the entertainment value of eight hours on a lovely fall Sunday in Raljon. Bruce Allen predicted strong attendance Friday, and then attendance was nearly 20,000 fans lower than for any home opener in FedEx Field’s history. You don’t want to gloat over the decaying of what was once a source of so much local pride and happiness — you can’t gloat — but you also sort of want to believe that behavior has consequences, and those empty seats were a consequence, a consequence of neglect. They were a message to one guy. Wonder whether he heard.
* Because the loudest cheers were given to Alex Ovechkin, and I’m sorry, it’s not a silly little aside anymore, not when some of the local pro franchises — even with all their playoff heartbreak — have captured something young and happy and fresh in this market, while one franchise in particular seems, by comparison . . . I dunno. Wilted? At least a bit? My toddler, by the way, wore a Caps Stanley Cup champions T-shirt to day care this morning.
* Because of this:
* And this:
* And this:
* Because in the Redskins’ past 22 seasons coached by anyone other than Joe Gibbs, they’ve started 2-0 twice. Twice. The playoff runs have arrived late in the season, and they’ve been fun for four or five or six weeks, but how often have you been able to really, truly invest in this team in the middle of September?
* Because Kirk Cousins threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns Sunday, and sure he got overtime and didn’t even get a win, but he can kind of sling it, no? If Cousins stars (and Patrick Mahomes stars) and Alex Smith does not, well, it won’t burn up every Redskins fan, but it will burn up some, and that’s what matters, because every year a few more fans feel burned — embarrassed, fed up — and then they drift away.
* Because the offensive line was supposed to be the bulwark for this team, the homegrown engine, the anonymous strength, and the line wasn’t good Sunday, Smith constantly under siege, the running game missing, two starters banged up. (Read Roman Stubbs on the line’s bad, bad day.)
* Because Washington’s leading rusher was a wide receiver (for the first time in 50 years!), and its leading receiver was a running back, and as time ticked off and the only hope was to at least try to go downfield, because what do you have to lose at that point? . . . Nah. Didn’t happen. (Read Scott Allen, on the top takeaways. And read Jerry Brewer: “There’s a fine line between a multifaceted offense and a confused one. Washington appeared to be the latter Sunday.”)
* Because the Cardinals, whom Washington beat down last week, got demolished by the Rams in L.A., and no, that doesn’t really matter, but this whole thing is about perception, isn’t it? Last week, many of us had the perception that the Redskins would be competitive in a win-now season that will determine so much about the franchise’s future. Maybe they will be. We don’t know anything. We really don’t. But we know when people are excited, and when they’re frustrated, and when they’re optimistic, and when they’re not, and when they’re getting a bit of Monday morning joy, and when they’re instead sending angry messages to local writers. Let me tell you: They’re sending angry messages to local writers. They’re not getting a bit of Monday morning joy.
* Because over the past 10-plus years, the Redskins are now 8-7 straight up when favored by at least 6 points at home. That’s the worst winning percentage in the NFL. Those are the ones you’re supposed to win, the afternoons that are supposed to be breezy and fun, leading into the Mondays that are about possibilities and hopefulness and what comes next. To lose yet another one of them is just achingly familiar, and annoying, and disappointing, and yeah, it’s really kind of bad.
But! But maybe they will now win five out of their next seven, because I’m telling you, we really know nothing. In which case you should definitely forward this text back to me, in full.
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