What looked like a great start for the Redskins has devolved into the same apathetic failure fans and experts have seen year in and year out over the last decade.
After two losses to one-win teams, the Redskins laid an egg against the Buffalo Bills and fell to 3-4 on the season.
Though the Redskins have fallen on hard times since the bye week, they're hardly out of playoff contention. For right now, they need to focus on reaching .500 and against a team on a roll like the San Francisco 49ers, they'll need some big performances.
Here are a few bold predictions for the Redskins game against the 49ers.
Kyle Shanahan's play-calling has been nothing short of abysmal for the Redskins this season, and injuries to key players is not an applicable argument. He has shown no grasp of true variety, and seems oblivious as to how to properly utilize the talent currently available to him on offense.
Against the 49ers, Shanahan will drop his pretense of dedication to the rushing attack and call 40 passing plays.
Though the Redskins have been playing from behind in each of their last three games, there is no reasonable explanation for calling just 40 plays in the span. The change may not be a welcome one, but it may not be a bad idea to supplement the run game with a short passing or screen game.
The Redskins defense started the season putting the pressure on opposing offenses and wreaking havoc in the backfield. Since then, their coverage has softened and pressure been nullified as teams begin to figure out Jim Haslett's pressure.
Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are due for big games, and the Redskins will set them loose against the Niners.
Orakpo and Kerrigan have a combined 6.5 sacks this season, which is far below what was expected of them.
In recent weeks, both have been limited by increased roles in short coverage and sent on predictable outside rushes. Alex Smith has been sacked 17 times on the season and the Redskins are top five in the NFL with 23 sacks.
Expect a ton of pressure from all angles with Kerrigan and Orakpo, and expect it to be effective.
When the punter stands out as the special teams MVP, there is something wrong with the special teams. Nothing against Sav Rocca, but you expect a dynamic returner like Brandon Banks to make plays, and routine field goals to not get blocked.
Banks has been questionable in both yardage gained and ball security on punt returns, and will see his duties scaled back.
Niles Paul was a highly rated punt returner coming out of college, and would provide a necessary boost in the return game. He doesn't have the explosive speed of Banks, but uses superior vision to gain yards. It helps that he isn't a habitual fumbler as well.
The Redskins defense has been the highlight of their season thus far, which doesn't say much if you really think about it. Jim Haslett's defense has been great in creating pressure, but awful in creating turnovers.
DeAngelo Hall has been all too quiet on defense this season, and that will change against San Francisco.
Hall has not been allowed to play his game this season, and it has removed the threat of turnovers from the Redskins defense.
Since his four interception game against the Bears last season, Hall has intercepted just two passes in 15 games. He made a career out of jumping routes, but has sacrificed his habits for supposed discipline which has made him an average corner with no nose for the ball.
Against the Niners, Hall will have a game-changing interception with a big return
Tight end Fred Davis has been the most successful receiver for the Redskins this year, and will continue that way until someone else steps up. Given the talent at receiver, it isn't likely to change and Davis will be the focus on offense against San Francisco.
The Redskins don't have a lot of firepower, but Davis has had at least five catches and 80 yards in five of Washington's seven games this season.
Expect Davis to be split out to create mismatches down the field as the only true threat on the Redskins offense. The 49ers will likely try to take Davis out of the game by rolling coverage his way, but it will create gaps in coverage for other players. He will get a lot of looks, and will build on his eight catch, 94-yard performance against Buffalo.
With Santana Moss out for the next several weeks with a hand injury, the rest of the Redskins receivers will have to step up in a big way. Jabar Gaffney has been solid as the go-to possession receiver, but the rest of the corps has yet to provide the necessary
The next week of work with John Beck under center will give an extra boost to the chemistry in the passing game.
The likes of Terrence Austin, Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson haven't seen much time on the field for whatever reason.
Beck's familiarity with Austin will be an invaluable advantage moving forward, especially if the offense decides to shorten the field early on. Hankerson has been eased into the offense this season, but has the size and skills necessary to provide a target over the middle and in the red zone.
Against former Redskin corner Carlos Rogers, double moves should be a staple of the Redskins offense against the 49ers.
John Beck has two starts, three touchdowns and three turnovers for the Redskins this season. He has been solid in replacing Rex Grossman, but hasn't been the error-free passer the offense needs him to be.
Against the 49ers, with his back against the wall, Beck will have his defining performance for the Redskins this season.
The Redskins have lost five offensive starters, three for the season, and Beck has seen those losses affect his performance. Three weeks of work with the starting unit will provide Beck with the necessary chemistry to run the offense the way it should be. He won't explode for 400 yards and four touchdowns, but expect a solid 250-300 yard day with a couple of touchdowns.
The key to Beck's success will be backside protection and ball security from his skill players.
Tim Hightower is out for the season, Ryan Torain hasn't been productive in his stead, and Evan Royster hasn't been called up from the practice squad. Roy Helu has been a part of the Redskins active roster since the beginning, but has inexplicably received minimal touches on offense.
Helu's versatility will earn him the bulk of the snaps at running back against San Francisco.
Towards the end of their loss against the Bills, the Redskins utilized Helu in the passing game, which will likely be their plan of attack against San Francisco. Helu isn't the best pass blocker the Redskins have at running back, but is the most dynamic option at running back.
Helu has averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 27 carries, and caught nine passes for 72 yards. He elusiveness and speed make him the ideal candidate to boost the lethargic offense
Desperation is a great motivator, and following three straight losses the Redskins are as desperate as any team in the NFL. Their defense has kept them in every game and will take over against the 49ers after outright offensive failures.
Though it may be the boldest of bold predictions given the recent showings the Redskins have had, but a victory is necessary and very much a possibility.
The Redskins need the perfect storm of positives on both sides of the ball to derail the 49ers momentum, but it will be the defense that wins them the game. The 49ers have found a lot of success under new coach Jim Harbaugh, but are just as subject to the any given Sunday rule as any other team in the NFL.
After the embarrassment suffered against the Bills, the Redskins cannot afford to rest on their early season success or dwell on their recent failures.