It was a game a lot like the first meeting between Philadelphia and Washington. Philadelphia jumped out to an early lead as Washington’s defense couldn’t figure out how to stop them, and then in the second half everything changed and the defense was getting stops and the offense making plays, but it was all too little too late. There was almost a miraculous comeback this time, but if Washington could have done anything in the first half of the game then maybe they wouldn’t have even been in the position of needing a comeback.
The final throw of the afternoon for Robert Griffin ended up in the hands of Philadelphia’s secondary. That is still his biggest flaw. He believes he can do everything, that he can make all the plays, and that he can win all the games on his own. This season he is learning he cannot, and he needs a coach that will instruct him on how to play within his abilities instead of criticizing him for trying to make something special happen on every play. The Robert Griffin and Mike Shanahan relationship will soon be at an end. Shanahan isn’t going to allow himself to be a lame duck coach and after this season the last thing he deserves is an extension.
Aside from the drama leading up to the season with Griffin, Shanahan has alienated Fred Davis and Josh Morgan as the season has gone on. Neither of them are great talents but both are better than the players Washington put on the field in their place. Fred Davis as the second tight end would have been a much bigger benefit to Washington than Logan Paulson when Jordan Reed went out with a concussion, and Josh Morgan may have been able to get open as the third receiver when Aldrick Robinson and Santana Moss couldn’t.
Washington doesn’t have great talent, a team doesn’t fall to 3-7 with great talent, but Mike Shanahan hasn’t utilized the talent they do have this season. This was a done year in the NFC East and Washington didn’t need to be great, they needed to be good enough. We’ve seen the team run the ball effectively one half only to go away from it with the game on the line. We’ve seen them try and make Robert Griffin, a duel threat quarterback, play like a pocket passer. And we’ve seen sloppy and penalty ridden play week in and week out. Whether a switch is made before the next game or the next season Mike Shanahan will not be the Washington football coach for much longer.
The first half of this game was the nail in the coffin. Washington ended the first half with less than ten yards passing and down 24-0. The sixteen points they scored in the second half were once again too little too late, and even though the offensive numbers look good context matters in sports. This was just another game in the Shanahan era in Washington and aside from one 7-0 hot streak in 2012 it is not much different than any other Washington game in the Shanahan era. An era that should be at an end soon.