NFL Week 4: Why the Washington Redskins' Season Is Over

Bruce ChenAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2013

Sep 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) walks on the field during a break in the action against the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter at Coliseum. The Redskins defeated the Raiders 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

With the Washington Redskins' victory in Week 4, they can finally shed the "winless" label. Even if it was against the equally troubled Oakland Raider squad that was starting a backup quarterback.

And that's precisely why the Washington Redskins aren't going anywhere in 2013. Especially after Mike Shanahan egregiously suggested that anything short of a Super Bowl is a "failure."

There are exactly two things working against them: history and their own quarterback. 

We have been here before. We remember the time Mike Shanahan basically gave up on the 2012 season in Week 9 after a loss to the Carolina Panthers. The 'Skins then went on to improve to 10-6 and make the NFC postseason. 

Is an 0-3 start harder to overcome than a 3-6 one? According to ESPN, only five other teams started 0-3 and made the playoffs in this great game's history.

It's no secret that some statistical miracles could be unearthed behind these seasonal comebacks. Among them are Herman Moore and Brett Perriman both eclipsing 100 catches for the '95 Detroit Lions and a 57-day lockout ('82 Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

While the improvement to 1-3 and the aid of the bye week in Week 5, it is entirely possible the 'Skins regroup and join the above-mentioned group. 

But there's reason for skepticism.

First off, Shanahan's preseason assertion, ridiculous as it was to begin with, can be assuredly debunked. None of those miracle teams made it past the Wild Card round. 

Second, other than the '82 Bucs team that only had to play nine more games because of the lockout, each team had to win at least 10 games to get a postseason berth. 

They reopen against a perennially talented but shaky Dallas Cowboys squad on Sunday Night Football, but it gets ugly, fast.

The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos all remain on the schedule and are far superior football teams. Anything more than four or five losses the rest of the way puts the 'Skins out of it.

Even if it is a hilariously weak NFC East—the last couple of seasons have seen 8-8 teams creep into the playoffs.

The other reason? Robert Griffin III hasn't been the same guy. The three losses have seen them get outscored 67-21 in the first half, forcing him to play catch-up. 

The atrocious starts for the offense reflect in Griffin's numbers in the first two quarters so far this season: a passer of rating of 54.8, a completion percentage of 55.6 and three interceptions. He has thrown 87 percent of his passes while his team is losing. 

That's not good for a guy who has just two game-winning drives to his name in his career. 

He averaged exactly eight rushes per game last year and averaged nearly seven yards per carry. Through four games, he's averaging four yards a carry on just 18 rushes.

It's important to note this because the 'Skins are better when Griffin runs. He knows it, too, even though he doesn't want to. Why would he? He gets hurt when that happens; Griffin got hit on 49 of the 70 plays that were designed runs for him in 2012. 

The Redskins crawled into the playoffs on the back of Griffin's electrifying playmaking ability with his legs—or rather, just simply the threat of him running for large chunks of yards. They didn't get there with him trying to be Peyton Manning.

He'll be lucky to not be the new Carson Palmer with the amount of garbage yards he's throwing this year.

Unless Griffin starts running again, or history changes its course, the Redskins aren't going anywhere this season.