It wasn't really any uglier than the disastrous games against winless teams that preceded it, but Sunday's 14-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs felt worse to the baffled Washington Redskins.
In managing to help a third downtrodden opponent in five weeks get off the schneid, the Redskins made a case that they're the NFL's worst team.
What else can you call a squad that loses to the Chiefs (who came in 6-31 dating to 2007) and the Detroit Lions (1-21 in their past 22 games) and edges the St. Louis Rams (now losers of 16 in a row) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (now losers of 10 straight) at home?
"When teams that come in that haven't won a game come in and beat us, it makes it tough," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "Everyone is looking at us as a win right now. Until we change things around, they'll continue to look at us as a win."
Albert Haynesworth didn't anticipate this when he left the Tennessee Titans for $41 million guaranteed of Dan Snyder largesse in February. The moody All-Pro defensive tackle's frustrations boiled over in the postgame locker room as he screamed and cursed in what could have been an attempt to buck up his downcast teammates.
Haynesworth and the guys on his side did their part Sunday, keeping the Chiefs out of the end zone while stopping 13 of 17 third downs, allowing just 3.7 yards a play and recording five sacks - their most since Nov. 3, 2008.
And yet the Redskins lost because the offense managed just six points and seven first downs and turned the ball over twice against a Chiefs defense that came in ranked last in the league. The special teams chipped in by having a punt blocked and committing a critical face-mask penalty late.
Daniels is more frustrated than he has ever been in his six Redskins seasons.
"We went out there on defense and kept them out of the end zone, [but] we've got to come together as a complete team," the 14-year veteran said. "I don't think everyone is putting their best effort into getting this thing done. Everybody has to work harder, study more film, take film home, do what you have to do to make this thing better."
Fullback Mike Sellers thought the halftime change at quarterback from Jason Campbell to Todd Collins would provide a spark, but it was ephemeral. Collins was 5-for-13 for 33 yards after hooking up with Santana Moss for 42 yards on his first pass.
Sellers is the only current member of the Redskins who played on the 1998 team that started 0-7, including four defeats by at least 20 points.
"This really feels worse even though we've got two wins," Sellers said. "Even when we did get a win, it felt like we lose because we left so much out there."
Teams are supposed to improve in their second year of a scheme, but Jim Zorn's offense is running as smoothly as a Studebaker, putting the coach's job very much in question as the Redskins limp into the grueling part of their schedule beginning next Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, the Redskins announced Sunday night that Zorn was giving up his playcalling duties.
The Redskins' offense scored just 10 touchdowns in the final eight games of 2008 and has just eight in six games this year.
"I don't see any change from where we were at the end of last year," center Casey Rabach said. "We got a big play from Santana and a big play from Clinton [Portis], and we got just three points each time. That's the story of the season. It's on us as an offense. How can you put up six points and expect to win? We got the talent. The plays are great on paper. Is it execution? Is it the plays? I don't know."
It's also a far cry from the offense that averaged 25.2 points while ripping off consecutive victories over contenders New Orleans, Arizona, Dallas and Philadelphia early last season.
"Last year, defenses didn't know what to expect because it was Zorn's first year," Sellers said. "It's not Zorn. It's not Jason. It's everybody."
But will Dan Snyder make Zorn pay the price eventually? Only Sellers and injured left tackle Chris Samuels were with the Redskins back in 2000 when the owner made his only in-season coaching change, replacing Norv Turner with Terry Robiskie with three games left.
"Mr. Snyder has chilled out since he took over the team," Sellers said. "He's become more patient, but I don't know how much more patience he's going to have."