Cheering for the Washington football team is like strolling through a homicidal playground: there are dangerous slides and many violent swings. Just one short week removed from the giddiness and hope of a potentially memorable 2018 campaign, where they beat what appears to be the worst team in the NFL in Arizona, the Skins developed a severe allergy to the end zone and decided to stay out of it. Sunday’s 21-9 loss came against the caveman from the Geico commercials at quarterback-led Indianapolis Colts and was as painful and tedious to get through as Floyd Mayweather reading War and Peace. Billionaire/GOAT MC/Queen Beyonce-Wifer, Jay-Z, spoke no lies on the 1996 classic, “Dead Presidents:” it was all good just a week ago...
Welcome to the second of sixteen #SundaySlices recaps, where we cut up the game to assign fame and blame, based on the outcome, into delicious pie chart form. Try not to make a mess.
(These are the players/coaches/etc. who are not in the pie, because they did not contribute to the loss).
Barely 57,000 fans showed up for the Redskins' home opener today, the lowest in the 21-year history of FedEx Field. Amazing how far this franchise has fallen.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) September 17, 2018
-The fans. All 27 of them. The team may have felt like they were at an Ella Mai concert the way they were getting “Boo’d Up,” but it was certainly deserved. Ownership is now reaping the disgruntled and verbally abusive crops of fans they have sown over the past two decades in Raljon.
-Chris Thompson. In an alternate universe where CT doesn’t exist, the Skins would have been shutout Sunday. Thompson caught an absurd 13 of his 14 targets, but also was held to one more yard rushing than me.
-D.J. Swearinger Sr. For a defense that couldn’t get off the field on third downs, whiffed on tackles and was mostly timid, the Captain did work with a pair of impressive interceptions.
Dan Snyder: 1%
Just because. Screw him.
Jordan Reed: 4%
The game had the feeling of an imminent L anyway, but his fumble in the fourth quarter all but made it a certainty. I can’t say for sure if his run-blocking reverted back to non-existence, but no one seemed to excel in that area.
Josh Dropson...I mean, Doctson: 5%
BRUH. As Captain of the Doctson Fan Club ship, I can tell you that the vessel is currently taking on water and we’re hoping that the doors can be used as flotation devices...for two.
Josh Norman: 5%
The last time Norman had an interception, our current tangerine-hued president hadn’t even been sworn in yet. T.Y. Hilton had Josh’s Head on an Island most of the afternoon, as the highest-paid player on the defense couldn’t deliver any game-changing effects.
SpeciaLOL Teams: 10%
The return game? Nonexistent. Punting? More like Less Way. Field goal kicking? I mean, Hopkins did boom through two 49-yarders, but he also missed one and for the purposes of this exercise, we have to be judgemental. The forgotten phase of the game has continued its trend from last year of playing forgettable.
Alex Smith: 10%
“Check. Check. Check.” Teddy KGB, in the cult classic, Rounders, uttered those words to describe the playing style of the protagonist, Mike McDermott. On Sunday, Alex Smith did an impression of Mike with a seemingly endless series of check downs and short throws.
Now, I know the Colts were playing a drop-back zone scheme that took away a lot of outside routes. I'm aware that the same strategy was extremely effective the week before and I’m sure the conventional thinking was “if it ain’t broke...” But, after six straight quarters without cracking the end zone, it may be time to go all-in with a different strategy.
The previous QB Who Shall Not Be Named made a living off this strategy, to the chagrin of his head coach and fans alike. The Alex Smith Era would do well to not emulate that.
The Defensive Line: 10%
Like a bad skateboarder who hates Lupe Fiasco, there was simply no kick and no push from the front line of the defense. The Colts ran for over 100 yards, but even worse, converted 9 of 16 third down attempts, because Andrew Luck was entirely too comfortable. Having invested back-to-back first round picks, not to mention free agents, such as Ziggy Hood, this unit simply has to do better.
I think Skins fans need to come to terms w/the fact that our OL is overrated. Especially in the running game. Stunts being something that just flabbergasts your OL, is a sure sign they’re not as good as people keep saying. I think they’re a pass blocking unit(& Lauvao).— Strick 9 (@Spider_Skinz) September 17, 2018
The Offensive Line: 15%
Did the clock strike midnight on Adrian Peterson’s carriage, turning it into an 11 carries for 20 yards pumpkin? Maybe, but his horses pulling the carriage morphing into mice was worse.
Plainly put: the offensive line was offensive on Sunday. There was no room to run, no time to pass and no answers for a Colts defense that had given up over 30 points the week before.
Morgan Moses parted no seas. Scherff was gimped by injury. Trent was Trent, but even he got bull-rushed into Smith’s lap once or twice.
What ostensibly is supposed to be the strength of the team, was more like a liability and the results matched. We can call Alex Smith the checkdown champ all day, but if he can’t even perform a three-step drop or simple play action call without a defensive lineman in his mug, it’s going to be a very long season.
Jay Gruden: 40%
Welp. Not exactly a banner day for the leader of the Skins.
Gruden is my guy. I think he has shown to be an elite offensive mind. Players seem to enjoy playing for him. He’s had moderate success in D.C. BUT, DAMMIT WE CAN’T HAVE THIS IN YEAR 5.
Jay’s my guy. We have the better Gruden IMO. BUT, giving away 30 seconds by not calling a TO before 3rd down is basic Madden level strategy. 🤦🏾♂️— Chris Williams (@slimceeVA) September 16, 2018
This is the NFL, the guys on the other side get paid, too. I get all that. I can handle losing. As a Skins fan, it’s damn near our first language. What I cannot handle is a seeming lack of adjustment and sense of urgency.
I try to live right, I really do. When I leave this Earth, I hope my eternal destination is pleasant. However, if things go awry at the pearly gates and I’m sent “south,” I fully believe watching the Skins tripping over themselves in the two-minute drill on a permanent loop would be too cruel even for Hell.
So how do we go from singing the praises of Jay one week to filleting him the next? Easy: we’re irrational fanatics. Every one of the final four teams last season (Eagles/Vikings/Pats/Jaguars) were 1-1 after week 2. As a bearded rapper from Philadelphia might say: it’s EARLY.
By no means is the season in jeopardy after week 2, but if Jay does not begin to provide answers, it’s difficult to see him still on the sidelines for week 2 in 2019.
#SundaySlices will return following Sunday's contest against the Green Bay Packers. If you have any slice suggestions, send them to @slimceeVA on Twitter.