Only the most die hard Washington fans thought that their football team would have much of a chance against Peyton Manning and the high powered Denver offense, but they did more than have a chance. Washington entered the fourth quarter with a seven point lead, but that quickly evaporated as John Fox went for it on fourth down and Peyton Manning found Joel Dreessen on a one yard touchdown pass. Washington would then quickly go three and out on three straight passes, two that hit receiver’s hands. Sav Rocca would shank the punt and Peyton Manning and Knowshon Mereno would run a perfectly executed screen that gave Denver a seven point lead.
It was a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish as on the next possession Robert Griffin would fumble the football, Denver would recover, and Peyton Manning would march them down the field for yet another score. Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks of all time and while there was some hope when Washington went up by fourteen points there was still a quarter and a half for Manning to play and he has come back from larger deficits in less time than that.
The biggest issue with the Washington offense was that Robert Griffin looked completely ineffective. He was holding onto the ball too long, not going through his progressions, and forcing pass after pass to well covered receivers. It was like from last week to this he had forgotten what football was and how to be a quarterback. This could be due to his entire off-season being about rehab and not playing a preseason, but despite all this Washington had a fourteen point lead and decided not to give the ball to Alfred Morris who averaged over six yards a carry.
Last season Robert Griffin was the best player on the field whenever he was on it, but that isn’t the case this season and his game management has left much to be desired and the coaching staff’s inability to adjust to the game that is happening on the field is inexcusable. Even though it was the third quarter the game plan should have been to run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball some more. To ride the legs of Alfred Morris to not just burn clock but to move the ball as well. Morris was the most effective offensive player for Washington and when they needed him the most his number wasn’t called.
Washington would get one more chance after Jordan Pugh intercepted a Peyton Manning pass with eight minutes left. Washington would finally give the ball to Alfred Morris for a four yard run and then Robert Griffin would throw his first interception of the day and Peyton Manning would connect with Demaryius Thomas to ice the game for Denver. Washington had their chance but couldn’t figure out what to do with the lead or play like a team that had a lead with one of the best running backs in football and time on their side. It was like they didn’t believe they could win and therefor didn’t.