In what was the strangest exhibition of football I have ever seen, Washington fell to the New York Giants (of all teams) 40-16 in a truly spectacular display of incompetence and disappointment.
Arriving at FedEx field two hours before kickoff, I was met by a largely empty parking lot with several small clusters of die-hard tailgaters. The air smelled of cheap beer and stale peanuts. The scene was far from electric as the only music playing was from a single Washington fan doing Motown karaoke just a few parking spots away.
The most exciting thing in the parking lot was watching two cops on horseback trot through drunk tailgaters. Why are there horse cops in Landover, Maryland at FedEx field? We may never know.
To no surprise, FedEx field was its usual bleak, dull and stale atmosphere upon entering the stadium. The seats were half-empty and Giants fans practically matched ‘Skins fans 1:1.
With kickoff approaching, I felt genuine enthusiasm and excitement for what would hopefully be a big win to build some confidence for a Washington team on-edge.
However, when the announcer started calling out players’ names as they ran out onto the field, things took a turn for the worst. As the first player ran out with such prideful emphasis by the announcer, the crowd was on their feet and the music was pumping. That first player was the ever-so irrelevant Jehu Chesson.
Who is Chesson? The 4th round Michigan product who the ‘Skins had already cut earlier this year in September after he came in for one play and immediately dropped a wide-open pass. A strange choice to start the ceremonial football run-out, to say the least.
As the names Danny Johnson and Greg Stroman followed, I began to zone out and take my seat. My attention was momentarily shifted back to the field as Tress Way ran out accompanied with an ensemble of fireworks and Washington cheers. Evidently, our punter is our most exciting player.
It’s no news that the Giants have been awful this year. Their only consistent producer, ROY candidate Saquon Barkley has been left to his own devices to completely power an awful offense. This offense is led by the equivalent of a two-wheeled tricycle with the painstakingly stiff and clumsy Eli Manning. To top it off, stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins were inactive due to injuries, or simply because this game wasn’t worth their time. Likely the latter.
After a series or two of the Sanchez-led Washington offense, it was as if the Skins’ O was just a sad bunch of extras in a low-budget football film. The ‘Skins offense was lead by “weapons” such as 33-year-old Adrian Peterson and 34-year-old Vernon Davis. For every play that Peterson jump-cuts and fights for hard-fought two yards, it grows harder and harder for me to remember what a good offense looks like.
Chief Zee was even resurrected to call and let us know: Marky Mark Sanchez ain’t it. It was made abundantly clear that the 32-year-old QB has no ability to play professional football as he was atrociously bad, going six-for-14 with two interceptions. He made it seem genuinely hard to throw a NFL pass without a defensive lineman swatting at it. The whole Washington passing offense was disturbingly ineffective: mimicking a peewee football team where the players had just grown old and strong enough to try pass plays.
Even our punt returning was terrible. Greg “Slowman” Stroman was once again fielding punts for Washington as if he was a dazed toddler in the outfield of a rec baseball game. In three consecutive punt returns, he managed to have a drop, two penalties (both on the same play), and get blown-up before making the catch, allowing the Giants to down the ball on the two.
As a team, the ‘Skins showed little promise in any regard. Washington players such as Jamison Crowder — who had a 79-yard touchdown catch following three disappointing drops — had a tough time convincing us that they were NFL players, much less former stars. However, fatal inconsistency and mind-boggling incompetence make me wonder if they are just average system-players or much less valuable starters.
Undrafted free agents such as Kapri Bibbs (inactive) and Maurice Harris demonstrate admirable grit and drive. Nonetheless, these players are solid backups at best, and certainly, are not fit to be key components of a playoff-caliber team.
Down an embarrassing 40-0, ex-Sacramento Mountain Lions’ QB Josh Double J Johnson was tossed in to play QB for Washington after not throwing an NFL regular season pass since 2011 — a time before LeBron James even won his first championship.
“It grows harder and harder for me to remember what a good offense looks like.”
To my surprise, Johnson activated the Washington backup QB gene as he lit it up with 195 yards passing, 45 yards rushing, both a passing and rushing touchdown, and just one turnover. Johnson — who apparently played Madden earlier this week to learn his teammates’ names — was genuinely enjoyable to watch. However, there is likely a reason he never held a steady NFL gig and has yet to win a regular season game – so I wouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves.
The ‘Skins defense was able to end on a relatively nice quarter as they limited backup QB Kyle Lauletta to a measly zero-for-five and one interception.
What now? I have no idea. While we would love to see Josh Johnson resurrect Washington’s playoff hopes, the probability of that happening are extremely low; the chances of us winning a playoff game are even lower than that.
With Dan Snyder’s decision-making reliant on a magic-eight-ball, it is impossible to say what will happen to Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen. It appears that Allen and Snyder are buddy-buddy (does anyone know why they are actually friends?) and Gruden is as clueless as a Fred Davis drug test.
However, if we see similar games such as this one down the road, it would be hard to not see Gruden and the boys shipped back over to Arena football league still in the shadow of his 3-10 brother.
But there is good news! Josh Johnson was announced the starter for next Sunday against the Jaguars. Fingers crossed we score in the first three quarters.