After Washington’s offense had surrendered one final turnover on downs in the last seconds of Sunday’s ugly 21-9 loss to Indianapolis, left tackle Trent Williams hobbled off the field, removed his helmet and threw it onto the grass. He was the only player who remained on the bench after the game was finally over, staring at the ground as he unwrapped the tape from his wrists. He could hear a spatter of boos.
This was not an ordinary home opener; the Redskins looked disinterested from the onset and watched their home fans turn on them by the second half. At the forefront of the day’s issues was an offensive line that was dominated by the Colts defensive front all afternoon. To make matters worse, Washington’s line was banged up by the late stages of the fourth quarter.
Guard Brandon Scherff left the game in the first half after banging his knee against a teammate, but later returned. And Williams left the field in the fourth quarter after he appeared to injure his right knee, the same knee that he had surgery on in the offseason. He returned for the final drive and later called the ailment “a complication from the surgery. But I’ll be all right.” The more pressing concern for Williams was his team’s lackluster showing offensively.
“We want to be the team that we know that we can be; we have to complement every unit,” Williams said.
That Williams and Scherff returned to the game after staggering off the field was encouraging, as was the fact that right tackle Morgan Moses played the duration after being listed as questionable with his own knee injury.
But the front looked out of sorts a week after it had paved the way for a promising performance by running back Adrian Peterson in last week’s season-opening win at Arizona. Washington finished with just 65 yards rushing Sunday — Peterson posted just 20 yards on 11 carries — and the Colts used shifting fronts and stunts to harass quarterback Alex Smith for most of the afternoon.
“We see that front all the time,” Williams said. “We just have to be better.”
The offense looked one-dimensional and relied heavily on check-downs from Smith. The quarterback was hurried at every turn, sacked three times and rarely took shots down the field on an afternoon when he completed 33 of 46 passes for 292 yards. Washington specifically struggled to gain traction on first and second downs, Williams said, which led to difficult situations on third down. The Redskins converted just 5 of 15 third down attempts.
“Got in some tough situations, but we didn’t handle the movement, again in the running game more than the passing game. We couldn’t get any runs going,” Washington Coach Jay Gruden said.
Gruden did not address the nicks his offensive linemen took throughout the day — “As far as injuries are concerned, they all came back to play,” he said — and Scherff kept his postgame comments limited to his team’s lack of energy. The final drive — which included an ugly holding call against Moses — underscored just how much the offensive line struggled on Sunday. Moses lost his helmet on that play, and a few moments later, Williams and Scherff limped off the field in frustration.
“I felt the energy level was low. We just have to improve,” Scherff said. “They prepared better than us. I have no idea how to explain it. Just going to improve.”
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