KANSAS CITY—Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins 29-20 loss to the Chiefs
Too many mistakes—The Redskins just made too many mistakes to beat an undefeated team on the road. A series of penalties on the defense gave the Chiefs offense some life in the third and fourth quarters at critical times. Some dropped passes killed drives. And it may be unfair to call the incompletion at the end of the game a Josh Doctson drop but he could have had it.
Defense could not get off the field—To be clear, the Chiefs were not successful solely due to Redskins mistakes. Alex Smith found Travis Kelce for a number of key plays. After running for just 24 yards in the first half he started to gash the defense as the second half wore on. The mistakes compounded the problem but the defense didn't communicate well with some inexperienced players on the field.
Kirk Cousins executed clutch drives but some had missed passes Kirk Cousins put up some numbers and he made some huge plays running the ball, especially near the end. You would like to see your franchise quarterback be able to pull out a win on the road like this. And maybe if Doctson holds on to that pass or if the defense commits one or two fewer ill-timed penalties, he does. But he had two big-time clutch drives, the one in the third quarter featuring the long pass to Vernon Davis right after the Chiefs took the lead for the first time and the one that tied the game late. The result is what it is but it’s fair to say that Cousins had them in a position to win.
Injuries lead to mistakes—The Redskins defense had to put some inexperienced players on the field and that is part of what cost them on defense. Nobody is going to send the Redskins a sympathy card for being banged up. Also, none of the injuries appear to be long term issue. Josh Norman's broken rib was the worst and he could be back for the Eagles game in three weeks.
An improving team—A loss is a loss and this game still goes on the bad side of Washington's ugly Monday ledger. But the way they played in a hostile environment shows that the Redskins are getting better. The offensive line kept Cousins from being sacked, they didn’t have a holding penalty and in the loudest stadium in the NFL they did not get called for a single false start. As noted, the defense made its share of mistakes but they played physical football and held the Chiefs, who ranked third in the NFL in scoring coming into the game, to 23 points. Fans should be encouraged as the team goes into the bye at 2-2.