- The Washington Times - Monday, October 19, 2009

The Washington Redskins had a season-high five sacks and held their opponent to a modest 265 yards and no touchdowns on Sunday. As usual, it wasn’t enough.

The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the NFL’s least productive offenses, and they played that way, generating only four Ryan Succop field goals (the defense added a safety late in the game). But that was still better than the Redskins’ offense, which also produced no touchdowns and only two Shaun Suisham field goals in the Chiefs’ 14-6 victory at FedEx Field, their first of the year.

It was the third time a winless team beat the Redskins this season. Most of the players say there is enough talent to be better than that.

But “talent don’t win, man,” defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin said. “It’s making plays. Playing as a team. That’s what wins. Talent is overrated. It takes guys playing together, as a unit, as a team, as a family, to win.”

Griffin was asked whether he was saying that wasn’t happening.

“You watch it, friend,” Griffin said, only half-kidding — if that. “You watch it. We got to play better. We’ve got to play better on defense. We’ve got to play better collectively to give us a chance.”

Afterward, angry shouts and what sounded like helmets being thrown emanated from the locker room.

“If you’re not angry from losing the game, you shouldn’t play this game,” defensive end Andre Carter said.

As for losing again to a winless team, “I wish there was some kind of answer I could give you,” Carter said. “The outcome was not what we expected. We had a great practice week, we’re focused, we’re dedicated, but at the end of the day a loss is a loss, and it’s hard to accept that.”

If the 2-4 Redskins are angry and stuck for answers, it’s understandable. Losing three times to winless teams since the season opener is embarrassing. Two victories over winless teams were close and hardly artistic. In most of the losses, the defense arguably played well enough to win, but the defensive players are taking great pains to avoid causing a public rift with the offense.

“I think what it boils down to is character and a level of integrity within this team because we do have it,” said Carter, who had two sacks playing against an offensive line missing its starting left tackle, Branden Albert.

“On the defensive side of the ball, we’re focused on us,” Carter said. “On offense, we know they’re struggling. We know they’re doing all they can, everything possible to move the ball effectively. We lost two great players, on and off the field, [guard] Randy Thomas and [offensive tackle] Chris Samuels.

“The guys that came in to replace them, we watched them, we critiqued them [and] we helped them out in practice. [Offensive line coach Joe Bugel] has tried to hone their skills. But what it boils down to as far as us on defense is, even though we made big stops, it comes down to we have to score. … We’re slowly and constantly getting better. We’re steadily fighting, but we just need a little bit more from us.”

The Chiefs had more than a 14-minute edge in time of possession and no turnovers. Under steady pressure, quarterback Matt Cassel was hit and hit again, but he kept his composure. And Larry Johnson, once one of the best running backs in the league but now merely ordinary, had his best game of the year. Johnson averaged a pedestrian 3.6 yards on his 23 carries, but that was better than his 2.7 average coming into the game. His 83 yards were a season high.

Still, as rookie linebacker Brian Orakpo said: “You’ve got to hold them to field goals, and we did so. The pass rush is getting better and better, sacks are going up.

“Turnovers are very hard to get, but we’ve got to keep fighting,” said Orakpo, who had a sack and now has 3.5 for the year. “They’ll come eventually. We had a lot of turnovers last week [against Carolina]. It went to a loss, as well, so I guess we’ve got to get more turnovers and more sacks and whatever we can to get off the field and give the ball back to the offense more often.”

But therein lies the problem…

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