Each NFL team gets a turn in prime time. That makes bad matchups inevitable.
The NFL didn’t have to give us two Washington Redskins prime-time games though.
Washington embarrassed itself on prime time in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears, and everyone knew the Redskins weren’t beating the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night. The Redskins actually kept it fairly competitive, though the 19-9 loss still can’t be considered entertaining. The Vikings only scored 19 points but they also never had to punt, the first time they’ve gone without a punt in a game since 2004.
When it comes to the terrible Redskins, getting a somewhat close game is about the best-case scenario for viewers. The NFL’s decision to schedule the Redskins for multiple prime-time games this season is baffling.
Redskins on touchdown drought
Against Miami, Redskins rookie receiver Terry McLaurin scored a 33-yard touchdown with 9:42 left in the third quarter. That was Oct. 13. Over the nine-plus quarters after that, Washington has not scored a touchdown.
At least the Redskins scored this week. Last week they lost 9-0 to the San Francisco 49ers in a rainstorm. Against the Vikings, they managed three field goals. Progress.
Washington lost quarterback Case Keenum after the first half with a concussion, and that forced rookie Dwayne Haskins into the lineup. Haskins, the team’s first-round pick, is the franchise’s only real hope and the only interesting thing about the second half of their season. He hasn’t started yet, and fans want to see him play. The problem is he hasn’t been very good when he’s played.
Haskins’ first NFL action resulted in three interceptions against the New York Giants. On Thursday night he sailed a pass to McLaurin over the middle and it was picked off by the Vikings. That came at a crucial part of the game, right after Washington stopped Kirk Cousins on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak. Washington trailed 16-9 at that point and had a chance. A touchdown there and it would have been an intriguing fourth quarter.
But Haskins’ interception pretty much closed the door on Washington giving us a good show on Thursday night. Minnesota got a field goal after that, then was able to chew up most of the clock on a long fourth-quarter drive. Washington fell to 1-7. The Vikings are 6-2.
Washington has little hope
The Redskins already fired their coach, Jay Gruden. There was a report that interim coach Bill Callahan would get consideration for the permanent job, but it’s not like the Redskins are playing that well with him.
Washington needs a total reset. Cynics will say that no progress will be made as long as owner Daniel Snyder and team president Bruce Allen are still around, and they might not be wrong. The dysfunction of the Redskins will make it tougher for them to land a quality head-coaching candidate. Many good coaches have come through Washington under Snyder’s watch, and none of them left the job with a winning record.
The roster doesn’t inspire confidence either. Haskins has to hit, and that’s far from a sure thing. McLaurin is a real find, and Washington needs all the talented blue-chip players it can get. They have some promising players on the defensive line. But the roster isn’t necessarily young. It’s not a job that is promising from any realistic angle.
There’s only eight games to go in this miserable Redskins season. The only good news? They’re done on prime time for the rest of the season.
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