PHILADELPHIA -- This is the problem with the Washington Redskins: It's not the same mistakes every week. It's just the same results. They saw it again Sunday in a game that unofficially ended their season. A team that believed it was a Super Bowl contender won't even make it to Thanksgiving with a legitimate shot at the playoffs.
It's shocking when you look back to August. It's not shocking when you look back at their play in recent weeks, when they've suffered too many breakdowns. A frustrating 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles? Add it to the list of frustrating games for the Redskins, who are 3-7 after a second straight loss.
They couldn't generate any offense Sunday for the first three quarters, at least not when it came to the passing game. By late in the third quarter reporters were scrambling to see when the last time the Redskins were in single digits for net passing (1977).
That changed in the fourth quarter and the defense did a better job over the final five series. It matters that the Redskins played better in the fourth quarter; it doesn't change the fact they're 3-7 and have yet to play well in consecutive games.
“The feeling is just frustrating, disappointment, sadness,” Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall said. “Hell, I was about to cry on the sidelines. I don't understand where we're falling apart. Everyone in this locker room wants it so bad. We just haven't been able to get it going. It's frustrating. It's something no one in this locker room wants to see happen. But week in and week out it keeps happening.”
Yes, it does. Last week it was turning Christian Ponder into a Pro Bowl quarterback. This week it was turning a Philadelphia Eagles defense into the 1985 Chicago Bears, for three quarters at least. Washington's last three drives totaled 225 net yards. Their first nine drives totaled 217 net yards.
“It's difficult, especially a game like this,” Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “We are what our record is. We're 3-7, I'll go to war with these guys. I don't care what our record is; we fight and everyone knows it.”
Fighting's not enough. The Redskins haven't figured out how to play a complete game. They continue to endure growing pains with a young quarterback.
They say the attitude is good and that practices are strong.
“You make a mistake and guys are pissed at each other like, ‘Come on, we've got to do better, repeat the play,'" Redskins fullback Darrel Young said. “You don't see that from a team that's 3-6, now 3-7. It's something special. I don't know why we're not winning.”
There's probably a simple reason: They're not good enough. It's a brutal reality for a franchise that entered the playoffs last season with a boatload of hope for the future. One Robert Griffin III knee injury later things changed. Now the future is uncertain, not just for him but everyone.
“Just ran out of time,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said of the game.
They've also run out of ways to explain these losses. And this season.