Perhaps Canada is best left to ice hockey and Celine Dion.
This was a tough loss today, against a very good football team. The Redskins got beat in every statistical category that matters: total yards, turnovers, time of possession, penalty yards, first downs…you get the point.
This has been a disappointing stretch for a team that, at the bye week, was in first place in the NFC East. They have yet to win in this quarter of the season, and the November and December schedule looms large.
Yes, the Redskins are dealing with injuries, but that’s not much consolation in a shutout. This was the first time in Mike Shanahan’s head coaching career that he was shut out in a game. The last time that the Redskins were shut out in a game was Week 16 of 2009 against the Cowboys. This game was held in hostile territory against a high-flying team, but the Redskins certainly had their opportunities, and simply didn’t make the most of them.
Perhaps the greatest sense of hope can be found by looking across the field at the far sidelines, to see the meteoric rise of the Buffalo Bills. Respectfully, this is a team that has wallowed in mediocrity for much of the 2000s, until things have magically clicked this season. On offense, they have a journeyman quarterback that’s finally putting it all together. Clearly, they struck gold with Fred Jackson at running back, who has already eclipsed 1,000 yards from scrimmage on the season. At receiver, the Bills have young, fast playmakers, and they have a line up front that gives them time to execute on offense. This was a similar cast of characters that went 4-12 last year. With their fifth win today, they’ve already surpassed that in 2011.
Youth is an X-factor in the NFL, and it can only be harnessed as much as it can be trusted: irregularly. But these are the types of games, against the type of playmakers, that show Redskins coaches what the team has. These are the types of games, against the type of playmakers, that teach the young Redskins players how to better prepare next time. It’s not pretty, but it only counts for one loss. The last three games only count for three losses. The important element is how this team responds to these losses down the stretch.
There’s a lot of reason to believe in what’s happening in Washington, even after a disheartening loss.
I can’t wait to get home, and I’m kissing the ground when we land in Washington. So long from Canada: Redskins 0, Bills 23.