Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at email@example.com.
Nothing Foreign About Redskins’ Humiliating Shutout Loss To Buffalo
TORONTO – As Scott Chandler leapt into the stands 10 yards behind him, celebrating his second touchdown catch of the afternoon, London Fletcher put his arms on his hips, turned and glared back at the rest of the Washington Redskins’ defense.
If communication on the coverage wasn’t clear, Fletcher’s message was.
The Redskins were soundly defeated by Buffalo, falling 23-0 at the Rogers Centre yesterday afternoon to extend their losing streak to three games.
It wasn’t the loss that was devastating – the Bills, at 5-2, are shaping up as one of the league’s marquee teams – but rather how it took place. Both the offense and defense struggled in nearly every aspect, and the Redskins, in control of the NFC East a quarter of the way through the season, are now struggling to even remain competitive as they near the halfway point.
“It’s a bad feeling, man,” said Redskins safety LaRon Landry. “It’s self-explanatory. We’ve just got to find ourselves. Everybody’s got to put their own individual effort in and find out who wants to play ball and who don’t want to play ball, who wants to win and who don’t want to win.”
Landry should know. It was his play on the third-quarter touchdown reception that had Fletcher upset, and the linebacker shouted at Landry on the sideline immediately after the play ended, with cornerback DeAngelo Hall and returner Brandon Banks stepping between the two.
“When you play the game long enough, you’re going to be frustrated,” Fletcher said, trying to downplay the incident. “I think everybody’s frustrated we’ve lost three consecutive games. We haven’t played well enough to win every game.”
The Redskins (3-4) were shut out for the first time since the second-to-last game of the 2009 season, when they lost 17-0 to Dallas. Perhaps even more striking is that the shutout was Mike Shanahan’s first as a head coach – a career that spans 267 games.
“It’s as bad as I’ve ever been involved on the offensive side, as an assistant or a head coach,” Shanahan said. “I’ve never been in that situation before where we were shut out. It’s a tough one to take.”
Quarterback John Beck, making his second start, struggled mightily behind an overmatched offensive line. Though the Bills entered the game with only four sacks, by far the least in the league, they pulled Beck down nine times, including four times in the first half. The last time the Redskins allowed nine sacks was in 1978 against the then-St. Louis Cardinals.
“I kind of took it personally myself because I don’t think as a front we’ve been doing a good job getting to the quarterback,” said Marcell Dareus, the Bills’ rookie defensive lineman who was responsible for 2.5 sacks. “The D-line and the front seven have been really kind of emphasizing that – get after the quarterback no matter what, just do all you can.”
When Beck did have time to throw the ball, he had nobody to throw to. The Redskins were down early for the third consecutive week, forcing them to abandon the run and pushing Beck to make do with an offense that is now down five starters from the start of the season.
He finished 20-for-33 with 208 yards and two interceptions, though 83 of those yards came on the Redskins’ final two drives.
“You never want to have a game where you don’t score any points,” Beck said. “We didn’t get things going. We would start to get something going, but we couldn’t continue it.”
Chandler caught only two passes from Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick – a 20-yarder that went for a touchdown with 5:11 to play in the first quarter for the first points of the game and a 15-yarder with 10:56 remaining in the third quarter. The Bills also scored on three field goals by Rian Lindell and held a 13-0 lead at halftime.
Fitzpatrick, one of the league’s most accurate passers, finished 21-for-27 with 262 yards and one interception – a grab by Fletcher midway through the second quarter that was intended for Stevie Johnson.
But the Redskins could do nothing with the turnover for the second time in the night. Earlier, they gained possession following a Fitzgerald fumble at the Buffalo 31-yard line, but they gained no yards and Graham Gano’s 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Buffalo running back Fred Jackson rushed for 120 yards, one shy of his season high, and already surpassed 1,000 on the season. The Redskins, in comparison, finished with 26 yards on 12 carries as a team.
Their 178 yards of total offense, incorporating the nine sacks for a loss of 56 yards, was over a hundred yards fewer than their previous low. And even on defense, the Redskins allowed seven plays for 15 yards or greater.
“We got beat down,” Hall said. “I stopped really looking at the scoreboard. I didn’t know it was 23-0. It was just frustrating. It was frustrating to not be able to get some things going defensively. I felt like we knew what was coming and still couldn’t stop it.”