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The quarterback, as he is wont to do, fell back on cliches and vague answers about the absent protection. You know, being popped 17 times is part of football. You know, the Vikings wanted to put him on the ground. You know, this happens. The same old lines players give when they have no easy answer.

That’s fitting for the Redskins.

What, exactly, occurred between the relentless choruses of “Skol Vikings” to provide a shred of hope this season will turn around as the last one did?

The truth is that this 3-6 has little to do with last year’s go-round. Throwing out the seven-game win streak that followed last season is nothing more than a desperate grab at the past to distract from the bleak present. Sure, there is talent on the 53-man roster. Potential, even. But the pieces haven’t fit together in any sort of consistent way, hamstrung by errors too frequent and numerous and fundamental to be dismissed.

“We just need it all to come together and get it all to click for us,” Griffin said. “The only way to do that is to keep pushing forward. What’s a man to do when he goes to work but puts his all in every day? Sometimes he comes up short.”

That’s the answer nine games into the season. Nine games of false hope. Nine games of disappointment that has been capped, for the moment, by face-planting against one of the NFL’s worst franchises.

After Griffin finished, the glum-faced quarterback passed two blue folding chairs and a discarded plastic bag as he returned to the locker room that resembled a morgue. The door closed behind him.