“The coaches can put us in the perfect position, but if we don’t make the play, so be it,” defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said. “I’ve never seen a coach win us a game. … Coaches can do all they want to, but if the players don’t execute, it really doesn’t matter.”
The Redskins struggled to get off the field for the third straight week and allowed the Bears to convert eight of 13 third downs. Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky failed to throw a touchdown pass in the first two weeks but had three Monday and posted a 116.5 passer rating. The Bears scored touchdowns on all three second-quarter possessions, and boos poured out of the stands at halftime with the Redskins trailing 28-3.
The defense was supposed to be the strength of this Washington team, but that hasn’t happened through three weeks. Continued criticism from fans is certain, and changes could be coming.
“I felt like there was some effort there, some physicality this week,” Gruden said. “There’s still a couple things coverage-wise there in the red zone that we have to get cleaned up. … But effort-wise, tenacity, I felt a little bit better. But we have to be more productive.”
The Haskins hype isn’t going away
The questions from fans and media members over when the Redskins would turn to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins ramped up Sunday afternoon after New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones led a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Observers suddenly had visions of Haskins doing the same in Washington.
As things got ugly in the first half against Chicago, the calls for Haskins began pouring down from the stands. Case Keenum, who had been solid in two starts, had a rough outing, throwing a pick-six to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the team’s first possession, losing a fumble on the fourth and throwing an interception to cornerback Kyle Fuller on the fifth. He then had another interception on a throw into triple coverage on the opening possession of the second half.
Even though he led a nice comeback attempt, that too ended in a turnover, when Keenum fumbled while stretching the ball out in an attempt to convert a fourth-and-one play. The quarterback finished 30 for 43 for 332 yards and two touchdowns, three interceptions and three fumbles, including two lost.
“It’s all on me,” Keenum said. “I let my team down.”
The team is now 0-3, but Gruden said there wouldn’t be a change at quarterback this week, while acknowledging that Keenum had “a couple bad decisions.”
“The most important thing is we have to have some continuity,” Gruden said. “I can’t be changing people every five minutes, here. … If I didn’t think we had a chance to get better, then I would make a change. I feel like Case has the tools to become a very efficient quarterback in this offense and get us some victories here moving forward.”
McLaurin again provides lone bright spot
There was one clear bright spot for the Redskins during Monday’s loss: the play of rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin. The third-round pick out of Ohio State had the play of the game for the home team with a 15-yard touchdown in the third quarter, showing off his strong hands to keep the pass from a defender swiping down on the ball. He also had a key fourth-down conversion while the team was trying to rally in the fourth quarter.
In catching six passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, McLaurin became the first player in NFL history with at least five catches and a touchdown in each of his first three games. He has clearly become the most trusted wideout on the roster and looks to be a potential building-block player.