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“You’ve still got to find ways to win,” the coach said. “And I’m disappointed that we’re not closing those games that we’ve been ahead in the fourth quarter. If we did, we’d be 5-3.”

But the Redskins are not 5-3; they’re in last place in the NFC East and not that close to playoff contention.

Still, Shanahan did not mince words about what Sunday’s game against the 1-6 Carolina Panthers meant for his team.

“I think everybody knows that it’s a must-win game when you’re 3-5 at the bye week,” he said. “If you have any chance for the playoffs, everybody understands at the midway point that you’ve got to start playing your best football or else you’re eliminated awful quick.”

And while Alexander’s frustration and disappointment is justified given the Redskins‘ predicament, Shanahan told the team not to lose focus.

“Coach’s message, I’m paraphrasing and putting it in my own words, is basically what’s a man to do when he feels like he’s doing everything right and things aren’t going his way,” Griffin said. “You’ve got to keep pushing forward. None of those guys are going to show up tomorrow if they feel defeated or if they feel like they want to throw the towel in. I would tell them, don’t show up if you feel that way. I don’t think anybody in that locker room feels that way.”