Power Rankings: No. 24 Washington Redskins

A weekly examination of the Redskins' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 10 | Last Week: 23 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Washington Redskins weren't penalized a whole lot for a fourth-quarter collapse Sunday against the Denver Broncos. The ESPN.com voters dropped Washington only one spot to No. 24.

The good news, if there is such a thing for a 2-5 team that just lost by 24 points: They're the second-highest-rated team in the NFC East. However, that says more about the division than it does anything else. Philadelphia is ranked 26th; the New York Giants are 29th. Meanwhile, Dallas is the highest rated at 13.

This is still the Redskins' third-highest ranking of the season, which tells you all you need to know about this season.

Washington certainly would have dropped more had it not played well for the first three quarters of its 45-21 loss to Denver, holding a seven-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Is it encouraging that the Redskins played well for three quarters? Only if you're looking at the defense, because they executed their game plan well and created turnovers against a potent offense. Heck, even the special teams did their job with the exception of one (ugly) punt.

Yes, the running game worked against Denver, but it resulted in only two touchdowns and did little to open the passing game. Denver seemed intent on forcing Washington to prove it could win a potential shootout with just its running game. The Redskins could not. The Broncos covered well deep; Robert Griffin III often held the ball a long time -- whether by his own doing, play design or inability of the receivers to get free. That led to a series of disasters in the second half.

It won't be easy to turn it around Sunday, even at home against No. 11 San Diego. Quarterback Philip Rivers already has three 400-yard passing games this season.