(For "Part 1: The Best of Times," click here)
Wednesday March 14th, 2018
ASHBURN - Following one of the most tumultuous and circus-like regular seasons in team history, the Washington Redskins decided to take down one of their big top tents by allowing embattled quarterback, Kirk Cousins, a taste of free agency. "We feel as though Kurt is no longer in line with the direction our team is headed," said team president, Bruce Allen. While not taking any questions from reporters after his press release read, the reaction to the entire saga was swift. DC sports media soon became engulfed with opinions and takes from all angles. ESPN 980 host, Kevin Sheehan, bested the Guinness World Record set earlier in the year by 106.7 The Fan's Grant and Danny, for "longest uninterrupted radio show with only one topic," clocking in at an impressive 50 hours. The 2017 Redskins season was undoubtedly one for the ages. Unfortunately, that age competed at a toddler level. Let's take a look back at exactly how this debacle played out.
Week 2 @ Los Angeles - After a lethargic performance week one versus Philadelphia, only winning after six Dustin Hopkins field goals and a last-second Bashaud Breeland interception, Washington stumbled into La La Land to face rookie head coach and former offensive coordinator wunderkind, Sean McVay. The Rams raced out to a large lead on the legs of Todd Gurley, who eclipsed the 100 rushing yards mark by halftime. Franchise-tagged signal caller, Kirk Cousins, responded in the second half with a barrage of short passes and long gains from the likes of Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder and Brian Quick. The Redskins clawed to a one-point victory, but controversy swirled in the postgame when incumbent starting RB, "Fat" Rob Kelley quipped: "Y'all should start calling me "Little" Rob, since I've had so few touches."
Week 6 vs San Francisco - At this point of the season, the Redskins were strangely excellent. Having astonishingly begun 4-0 before their bye week, Washington seemed poised to make the leap to legitimacy in the NFC. That leap fell many yards short. The previously winless Niners pummeled the Redskins at FedEx Field, scoring their highest total since the Bill Walsh Era. The loss was merely a footnote, as QB Kirk Cousins hyper-extended his knee in the third quarter before throwing his second pick-six of the contest. Backup quarterback, Colt McCoy, did not fare much better, leading many to ponder whether second year man, Nate Sudfeld would get a shot in the following weeks. ESPN radio host, Clinton Yates, took to social media, observing "Sorry, kiddos. The R's are the worst 4-1 team in the league."
Week 9 @ Seattle - With the season on the brink at Century Link, the 4-3 Redskins were only able to win the fight after the game. Defensive rookies, Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson were bullied by Seattle's offense all afternoon and newly-minted starting quarterback, Nate Sudfeld, was sporadic. Left tackle, Trent Williams, jawed with Seahawks corner, Richard Sherman, the entire game, ending in a crescendo of F-bombs, shoves and fists. The loss was the team's fourth straight and confidence began leaking. Esteemed Redskins blog, Fifty Gut, was the first website to put a moratorium on all Redskins playoff chatter, though many soon followed suit.
Week 13 @ Dallas - With the losing streak at seven, the Redskins were miraculously still in the wild card hunt, while welcoming back a hobbled Kirk Cousins. The Cowboys were not nearly as gracious, sacking the Washington QB as many times as the number on his jersey. Tight end, Jordan Reed, suffered his third concussion of the year and was later placed on IR. Corners Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland continued accumulating interceptions from under-achieving Dallas QB, Dak Prescott, but it wasn't enough. Wide receiver, Terrelle Pryor, was distraught following the game, proclaiming he would not post another workout video on Twitter until the Redskins got a win.
Week 16 vs Denver - Christmas Eve, 2017: The Day Twitter Crashed. With Cousins sidelined again, McCoy cut after week 6 and Sudfeld completely ineffective, Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder decided to sign and force head coach, Jay Gruden, to start: Robert Griffin III. Having not taken a snap in a NFL game in a full calendar year, Griffin's results were predictable. The offense sputtered for two quarters until the erstwhile QB was removed under the concussion protocol. Gruden skipped the postgame presser, presumably to avoid questions from ESPN's (and Centreville High School alum) Lindsay Czarniak about RG3.
Week 17 @ New York - The one silver lining for the Redskins, after 11 straight losses, was that they were in prime position to secure the number one overall spot in the NFL draft and presumably, the rights to USC top quarterback prospect, Sam Darnold. Having the tiebreak advantage with the equally pathetic NY Jets, all Washington had to do was lose week 17. Alas, the Redskins fought with a vigor rarely seen during the season and upset the future division winner Giants, with Kirk Cousins turning in his best performance of the year. Freed from the chains of presumed excellence, Cousins shredded the Giants defense, aided by Josh Doctson, who caught his first fade route touchdown of the season after only 29 attempts.
POSTSEASON- Amazingly, the Redskins were able to get Pro Bowl seasons from CB Bashaud Breeland, LB Zach Brown, WR Terrelle Pryor and K Dustin Hopkins. Unfortunately, they all became unrestricted free agents simultaneously and signed elsewhere. The team was a mess that the front office could not scrub and the owner was the slum lord. Combined with the impending exit of Cousins, this could easily be considered, the worst of times.
("Best of Times" season: 12-4, Super Bowl champs)
("Worst of Times" season: 5-11, third overall pick in the draft)