Well, we’re here. No way around it.
The Washington Redskins have hit Rock Bottom.
An analogy, if I may.
The Redskins are like a drug-addicted rock star who has been taking illicit drugs in the privacy of his own home for a number of years. He’s not hurting anyone, and no one really notices, or cares. He’s miserable, but he hasn’t hit Rock Bottom.
Then one night, he decides to load up before a big night on the town. He makes a fool of himself after stumbling out of a nightclub and getting in a fight with the nearest alpha male (who tend to congregate at such places of ill repute).
It gets all over the papers, Us Weekly does a huge exposé about so-and-so’s drug addiction, and it becomes a public embarrassment. He hits Rock Bottom and finally realizes, because of the public nature of his foible, that he needs help.
From here, the story goes one of two ways: redemption or relapse.
For the last 10 years (plus three games in 2009), the Redskins have puttered along with no one beyond earshot of the Capitol caring (the same can be said about the Secretary of the Interior).
They’ve had a modest two playoff appearances and a record of 77-86 in that time. Nationally, no one really noticed, and no one really cared.
But with Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, after a stinker of a win against the St. Louis Rams, the Redskins have hit Rock Bottom.
It was a public embarrassment.
The Lions broke their 19-game losing streak, which will have the Us Weeklys of the sports world (ESPN the Magazine?) doing a typical Detroit Is Back story.
What about Washington? Where is our Washington is the new Cleveland story? Or the Washington is the Oakland of the East Coast story?
The Redskins have underachieved for so long, at this point, shouldn’t it just be called achieving? Isn’t this their level now, where the Detroit Lions provide a stern test of football might and determination?
Not only was it a stern test, the Lions thoroughly outplayed the Redskins: It wasn’t a lucky Lions win.
The Lions racked up time of possession (36:48 minutes to just 23:12 for the Redskins) and ran 72 plays as opposed to 55 for the Redskins because they were able to run the ball and stop the run.
Lions running back Kevin Smith had 16 carries for 101 yards through three quarters before leaving with an injured shoulder.
Clinton Portis, the Redskins best offensive weapon, had four first half carries for negative-two yards. The Redskins ran a lot of playaction in this game but couldn’t run the ball to even set it up in the first half.
They also failed on third down, converting only 2-of-10. On two consecutive possessions in the first half, the Redskins came up a yard short. First, it was wide receiver Santana Moss running a nine-yard route on 3rd-and-10, and then tight end Chris Cooley ran a 12-yard route on 3rd-and-13.
A hallmark of a bad football team.
The Redskins didn’t get much help from Jason Campbell, who put the ball on the ground three times.
On the Redskins' first offensive play, it was a fumbled snap.
With 9:07 left in the third quarter, he dropped the ball, only to have it bounce right back to him; he then completed a pass for 22 yards.
Then he killed another Redskins drive in the third quarter by letting the ball slip out of his hands when he cocked his arm back to pass. It resulted in an eight-yard loss, which is a problem because the Redskins don’t have a play for 3rd-and-18 (much less 3rd-and-4).
The defense was porous, which was epitomized by Chris Horton’s laughable attempt at what I would assume was coverage of Lions wide receiver Bryant Johnson. His 47-yard pass interference penalty iced the game for the Lions with a touchdown two plays later.
The Redskins also didn’t get any help from Antwaan Randle El on special teams. He called for a fair catch on four of the five punts that came his way. Poor blocking plus poor returning skills equaled no net gain in the field position battle.
The Redskins were unable to win any part of Sunday’s game: offense, defense, or special teams. They showed all the classic signs, of a bad team, and of a franchise that has hit Rock Bottom.
Rock Bottom always presents a choice: redemption or relapse.
The Redskins have a chance to do both with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs in two of the next three weeks.
Sneak out of those games with two wins, and they’re right at 3-3. Hollywood loves a comeback.
Relapse and it will be 1-5, and get real ugly, real quick.
We’ve hit Rock Bottom, and the only thing left to decide is where do we go from here?