- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2019

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rookie Kyler Murray threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns in an Arizona win a few weeks ago. Daniel Jones led a rousing come-from-behind win the day the Giants benched Eli Manning. Even sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew II has cultivated a cult following in Jacksonville while starting in place of an injured Nick Foles.

Their fellow draft classmate, Dwayne Haskins, is still waiting for his first highlight moment in the NFL.

The Washington Redskins started their No. 15 overall draft pick for the first time Sunday, but only out of necessity, with Case Keenum sidelined with a concussion. They continued to keep Haskins on a short leash, and he made a few nice plays but was unable to change the Redskins‘ fortunes on offense in a 24-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Heading into their bye week, the Redskins are 1-8 and have failed to score a touchdown for 13 quarters — dating back to Week 6 in Miami, their lone win this season.

Haskins finished 15-for-22 with 144 passing yards and no turnovers. Adrian Peterson powered the offense, rushing for 108 yards — 101 in the first half alone — on 18 touches.

Washington only entered the red zone twice and reached the Bills‘ 21-yard line on another drive. The result: three field goals, no touchdowns.

“What do I see? Missed opportunities,” Peterson said. “Run game, pass game. Play is called, you have to execute. We just haven’t done it.”

Meanwhile, the Bills reached the red zone on their first three drives and came away with points each time, giving them enough cushion for the rest of the afternoon. Josh Allen threw for 160 yards and a touchdown and added a rushing touchdown, and Devin Singletary ran for 95 yards and a score.

“Second half opportunities weren’t taken advantage of, and unfortunately, when you have an opportunity to get back into a game and you don’t close it off, it stings,” Callahan said. “It stings really bad.”

Callahan said he liked how “efficient” Haskins was and thought his reads were clean. Haskins helt he had a “good start” taking command of the offense.

“As the game went on, I got more and more confident,” Haskins said. “I was seeing the field better and better as the game went on, and things I saw before it happened and that’s just a part of playing quarterback and getting reps.”

After the Redskins went three-and-out on their opening drive — lineman Tony Bergstrom was dinged for illegal formation on the first play from scrimmage — Buffalo drove eight plays for 54 yards in just 3:54. Cole Beasley shook Quinton Dunbar’s coverage on a quick out to the front-left pylon and caught a 6-yard touchdown.

On the next Bills drive, Devin Singletary broke off a 49-yard gain on a screen pass, and they soon reached the Redskins‘ 2-yard line. But Washington’s defense forced Buffalo into three straight broken plays — leading to sacks by Montez Sweat and Matt Ioannidis sandwiching an eight-yard tackle for loss from Ryan Anderson. The effort held Buffalo to a field goal and a 10-0 advantage.

Peterson came alive in the second quarter. He ripped off three straight runs of 18, 17 and 28 yards, the last gain created when the veteran bounced his way out of a pileup at the line and broke outside left. The drive stalled in the red zone when Haskins scrambled on third down and lost a yard, so Washington settled for a field goal.

Former Redskin Andre Roberts returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards; he appeared to step on the sideline before crossing midfield, but Washington decided not to challenge the spot on the field. Interim coach Bill Callahan later said nobody on his staff got a good look at the play because Roberts was on the Bills‘ sideline.

So the Bills made quick work of their next scoring drive. They reached the 1-yard line and the Redskins stonewalled Frank Gore three straight downs. But Allen pushed through on a fourth-down QB sneak to go ahead by 14.

Peterson helped the Redskins drive down the field again. Haskins looked for Paul Richardson in the back of the end zone, and to his credit he put the pass in front of the striding receiver, where only he could catch it. But it was just off-target enough that Richardson only got one hand on it. Washington had to kick another field goal, bringing it to 17-6 heading into halftime.

The Redskins forced a turnover on downs in the third quarter, stopping Gore again on fourth and short. In fact, one of the few positive takeaways for Washington was how the defense consistently won short-yardage situations.

“It’s all about wanting it, you know?” defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said. “There’s really nothing that’s going to help you on short yardage. It’s who wants it more, and we finally did a good job of stepping up when the time came.”

On the Bills‘ next drive, Corey Bojorquez shanked a punt 15 yards to give Washington excellent field position. But Haskins took another sack on that drive, and the offense only managed to set up another field goal.

The sides traded punts in the fourth. With the Redskins facing third and long from deep in their own territory, cornerback Tre’Davious White blitzed and wrapped up Haskins to force a punt out of their end zone.

That afforded Buffalo advantageous field position, and Josh Allen completed passes of 17 and 23 yards to John Brown to set up a Singletary touchdown run to seal the result.

Callahan declined to say whether Haskins will remain the starter when Keenum fully recovers. The Redskins host the New York Jets — who are 1-7 after becoming the first team to fall to the lowly Dolphins — Nov. 17 in Week 11.

In the meantime, the Redskins have kept games close for a few weeks running, but close isn’t cutting it for the men in the locker room.

“We’re not executing at a high enough level to win obviously,” Richardson said. “Like I said, the message can’t be, ‘Keep being close. We’re close.’ The message can’t be, ‘I’m proud of you guys’ effort, I’m happy and, you know, get ready for next week.’ We have to put points on the board. Put touchdowns on the board. That’s what’s gonna win at this level.”

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