Washington just laid out the blueprint for how to lose a game in the NFL

Peter Hailey
·3 min read

Washington just laid out the blueprint for how to lose in the NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

If you're wondering how to lose in the NFL, just throw on Washington's effort against the Lions from Week 10. What you'll see is a team that was desperate for a victory but didn't show nearly enough discipline to notch one.

Did the Burgundy and Gold start slow? Yep! They didn't score on their opening possession — something they haven't done all year — and were behind double digits by the half — something they've done quite often this year.

Did they waste prime scoring chances in the red zone? Oh yeah. Through the first two quarters, Washington's offense made it inside of Detroit's 20 four separate times and somehow generated just three points. That is a baffling nugget.

Were there any early self-inflicted wounds? Of course they were. The normally-infallible Terry McLaurin fumbled on one of those red zone trips, while Dustin Hopkins missed a field goal to cap off another. But don't worry, those two paled in comparison to what happened at the end, which we'll get to soon.

Lastly, how was the coverage? Not too solid, even though Washington's defense entered the matchup as the league's top pass defense. Matt Stafford's first touchdown came after Kendall Fuller fell down, while his second was only slightly more difficult.

Now, here comes the frustrating part about Sunday (or yet another frustrating part): Even with ALL of those issues, Ron Rivera's club didn't give up and almost had a chance to pull off an insane comeback.

That's because, after halftime, the visitors really turned it on. Alex Smith was dealing, Jack Del Rio's unit woke up and, somehow, Washington was able to tie the score at 27-27 with just a few seconds left in the fourth quarter. Their two-minute drive to accomplish that was one of the more stressful possessions ever, yet they found a way to advance the ball and push through a kick to help them get to overtime.

Well, that's how it should've gone, at least. But there was one more unforgivable mistake to come, and it would be the most costly, too.

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On a last-ditch Hail Mary attempt, Chase Young was flagged for roughing the passer on Stafford. It wasn't the most egregious contact, but Young put the ref in a position to possibly blow the whistle, which the ref did. It was the young star's most impactful play of the afternoon, unfortunately. 

The Lions, who had been juiceless for almost the entire second half, took advantage. Stafford completed one more throw to get Matt Prater in field goal range, and then Detroit's kicker drilled a 59-yarder at the buzzer to win. 

Rivera wants to rebuild Washington into a franchise that handles the details. On Sunday, they failed to do that with almost every detail they could've.

All of those errors added up to one of the more painful losses this organization has experienced in quite some time, and also completed the blueprint for how to walk off an NFL field as losers.