Reporting Grant Paulsen
All losses are not created equal, and if you don’t believe me you haven’t seen a setback as humiliating as the one the Redskins suffered at the hands of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in Toronto.
Washington was shut out for the first time since Dec. 2009, yielding nine-sacks and being out-gained by 212 yards in an embarrassing 23-0 loss to a Bills team that was coming of a bye and operating on all cylinders. Unfortunately for the Redskins, they didn’t have any cylinders clicking.
Playing their first regular season game outside of the United States, Washington tallied just 10 first downs and went only four-for-14 on third down conversion attempts. The Redskins offense gained just 178 yards from scrimmage; averaging 2.2 yards-per-rush on the ground in an anemic performance that saw Washington’s offense suffer a pair of second-half turnovers.
“We couldn’t get anything going,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “The running game or the passing game, we did seem to get into a little flow [and then] we got some sacks. We just couldn’t keep it going.”
Sunday’s setback marked the first time in 267 games that a Mike Shanahan coached team had ever been shutout.
“It’s as bad [a performance] as I’ve ever been involved with from an offensive side as an assistant or a head coach. I’ve never been in that situation before. It’s a tough one to take.”
The most baffling aspect of the Redskins’ devastating loss was the team’s inability to protect quarterback John Beck. Beck wasn’t just sacked nine times — which ties the franchise mark for the most sacks issued in a single game — but he was sacked nine times by a team that hasn’t been able to pressure passers all season. The Bills came into Sunday’s game with just four sacks in six games.
“It was just breakdowns across the board,” left guard Will Montgomery said. “I think everybody kind of had their part in it really. We got down early, then they just started pinning their ears back. I think we had a few breakdowns technique wise and maybe there was a couple scheme type things. It’s never a great day when that happens.”
Beck threw for 208 yards on 20-of-33 passing. He was intercepted twice and didn’t compete a pass longer than 24 yards. Running back Ryan Torain’s line didn’t look any better. He rushed eight times and compiled just 14 yards.
But Washington’s offense wasn’t the team’s only problem.
The Redskins yielded over four yards per rushing attempt and gave up 390 total yards. The focal point of Buffalo’s offense, Fred Jackson, dashed his way through and around Washington’s defenders all day. Jackson ended up tallying 29 touches for Bills, amassing 194 all-purpose yards.
Washington’s special teams unit wasn’t a whole lot more productive. Brandon Banks dropped the game’s opening kickoff in the endzone, forcing him to take a knee and kicker Graham Gano had a field goal blocked later in the first half.
“Things went wrong in every facet imaginable today,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “Whatever it takes, whoever makes big plays, offense, defense, special teams — we’ve all got to step it up. One win can erase everything.”
After Sunday’s game that win feels like it’s a $100 cab ride away from where the Redskins are currently at.
“It’s tough to be a part of a loss like this,” right tackle Jammal Brown said. “It’s embarrassing that we didn’t score any points. It’s just pathetic if you ask me. We’ve got to get better.”