FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Washington Redskins returned from the bye week very aware of what they needed to do if they wanted to compete against the New England Patriots.
It was going to take a near-perfect game of football to knock off the defending Super Bowl champions, and the Redskins were far from that in Sunday’s 27-10 loss to the Patriots.
They held the Patriots to their lowest point total this season, but allowed a whopping 460 yards of offense. They dropped seven passes. They missed tackles. They turned the ball over.
New England was not at its best on Sunday and the Redskins could have had a chance, but they will never know what they could have done because they constantly beat themselves.
“I don’t believe we’re at the point yet where we can drop passes, we can miss tackles, we can lose leverage in our coverage and still be able to overcome challenges,” cornerback Will Blackmon said. “It’s important for us every week in practice to practice perfect and prepare perfect and challenge each other back in Redskins Park. That’s what it is. [The Patriots] just execute. That’s why they’ve been good for so long.”
The Redskins host the New Orleans Saints next week, then visit the undefeated Carolina Panthers before hosting the New York Giants.
“Every week is a tough game but we have the Saints, Carolina and a division game coming up,” defensive end Chris Baker said. “It’s not going to get any easier.”
It may have felt different had the Redskins played just the slightest bit better on Sunday, but the team can not seem to find the answer for the recurring struggles.
Here are three takeaways from the Redskins’ loss:
** The Redskins’ run defense continues to be a glaring weakness. For the fourth consecutive game, an opposing running back has rushed for 120 yards. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 129 on 29 carries on Sunday and the Patriots piled up 161 yards on the ground. Washington has allowed 753 rushing yards to the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots.
“We just got to play assignment football better, make the tackles we’re supposed to make,” Baker said. “Teams were beating us on the edge. Today they did a lot of good stuff coming downhill and people just got to fill in and make tackles they’re supposed to make.
“For the most part we’ve done a good job stopping the run, but it’s five or six big runs we give up that we can’t give up. But for the most part, we do a good job holding them here, holding them there, but then we give up the big play. We need to eliminate those big plays. It’s very frustrating when you watch the film. The good teams make the plays and the bad teams make the plays. We’ve got to make plays.”
** In the Redskins’ previous four losses, Kirk Cousins had thrown two interceptions in each game. On Sunday, Cousins’ play was not a major factor in the loss. It was exceptionally hard to evaluate his performance in general because the Redskins’ wide receivers dropped seven passes. Cousins finished the game 22-for-40 with 217 yards and one interception — which bounced out of Pierre Garcon’s hands.
“It’s hard to assess it, you know, with the drops and the lack of chances that we had offensively,” Gruden said. “I think we did some decent things, obviously, but coming from behind on the road against a team like this is difficult, and didn’t have a lot of — too many drops. Just not many opportunities, really.”
** The Redskins were not expected to beat the Patriots, but the fact that they played as poorly as they did makes next week’s game against the Saints (4-5) that much more important. If the Redskins do not correct the self-inflicted wounds that troubled them on Sunday, they could very well be staring at a 3-7 record before playing the Giants at home. After that Giants game, three of the final five games are on the road. The NFC East is bad, but the Redskins still have an uphill climb ahead of them.