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The Redskins had momentum for a grand total of 11 seconds against the Chargers

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USA Today Sports

The Redskins had momentum for a grand total of 11 seconds against the Chargers

CARSON CITY, CA—A bottle of water sat on the podium where Jay Gruden stood to deliver the postmortem on the Redskins’ second straight ugly loss. It’s up there for every press conference in view of the cameras to promote the brand. About halfway through the press conference, the bottle fell off of the podium onto the floor.

Apparently, the bottle decided that the brand was not being helped by being associated with this debacle.

For a short while, it looked like the Redskins might be able to keep the game from turning ugly. They might be had a chance to overcome a rocky start that included Chargers scoring drives of 60 and 92 yards during which the Washington defense offered little resistance and an ugly interception thrown by Kirk Cousins that set up a field goal.

RELATED: Five takeaways from the Redskins' humiliating loss to the Chargers

The Redskins responded, driving 77 yards in nine plays for a touchdown. Cousins hit on some key passes and Samaje Perine tore off a few nice runs. The TD came on third down when Cousins bought time, rolled to his right, and hit Vernon Davis at the goal line. Even though the extra point was missed, it was 13-6 and if the defense could just get a stop after the kickoff . . .

But the glimmer of hope was short-lived. On the first play after the kickoff, Philip Rivers dropped back and found Tyrell Williams on a deep post with a few steps on Josh Norman. The pass was perfect and all of a sudden it was 20-6.

“That’s been the story right now,” said Gruden. “As soon as we make a big play, they answer with a bigger play and we can’t get momentum back. This game is about momentum and we had it for about four seconds. Then we miss the extra point and they throw a bomb on the next play. Unfortunately, this game is about momentum swings and we had it for 30 seconds.”

Gruden said his team had momentum for four seconds and 30 seconds so let’s see here. Davis scored with 10:13 left in the second quarter and Williams crossed the goal line with 10:02 left. So, the Redskins were within one score for 11 seconds.

Washington did have a chance to respond but they gave the ball up on downs on their next possession. The next seven times they had the ball they punted without moving the ball into Chargers territory even once. They didn’t score again until Bashaud Breeland picked off a Kellen Clemons pass and went 96 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 left in the game.

Momentum is supposedly fickle and changing jerseys often during the course of an NFL game. But except for those 11 seconds, Big Mo wore the blue shirts of the Chargers. Unless the Redskins can figure out how to change that starting next Sunday against the Cardinals, the last three weeks of the season will be very, very long.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' humiliating loss to the Chargers

Five takeaways from the Redskins' humiliating loss to the Chargers

CARSON, CA—Here are five observations from the Redskins' disappointing loss to the Chargers.

If you can’t overcome adversity, this is what happens: The last two weeks the Redskins have faced some tough times. And instead of responding by fighting back against the Cowboys last week and the Chargers today, they have folded. Teams in the NFL are pretty even in terms of talent. Most will go through bad stretches at some point during a given game. It’s how you respond to the challenges when they arise that often makes the difference between winning and losing. The Redskins’ inability to respond left them way in the dust the last two games.

Kirk Cousins isn’t there yet: This was another game where you couldn’t really blame the quarterback for the loss but at the same time he didn’t do enough to pull the team to a win. He made some good throws but two in particular—the one that was tipped and intercepted to set up a Chargers field goal and the overthrow of Vernon Davis on fourth down when the Redskins had a chance to make it a game—were costly. Again, I don’t expect Cousins to put 30 points on the board by himself. But along with the rest of the team, he didn’t do enough in response to adversity.

The defense has fallen apart: This is no longer a fluke, it’s an epidemic. They have allowed 30 points or more in six of their last eight games. Sure, they have been hit with injuries but today they lined up nine Week 1 starters. I’ll bet that compares favorably to many other teams around the NFL. I’m not sure if it needs to be totally rebuilt but it certainly needs another solid draft and a free agent or two.

The Redskins tried to balance the offense: At one point in the third quarter, the Redskins had nearly the same number of running plays as passing plays. That was a good plan but the Redskins just couldn’t sustain anything on offense. They ran just 50 plays and went two for 12 on third down. You just aren’t going to win doing that.

Breeland gets first defensive TD of the year: They could have used it much earlier but Bashaud Breeland got a hold of a pass in the fourth quarter and bolted 96 yards for the Redskins’ first defensive TD of the season. Jay Gruden talked about the need to get big plays, game-changing plays, especially if you can’t convert on third down. If that had come earlier, it would have qualified. As it was, it just made the final score less embarrassing.

RELATED: Redskins fail to be competitive on offense or defense vs. the Chargers

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Redskins-Chargers Live Blog: Scores, Stats, Highlights, Updates, Analysis

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Redskins-Chargers Live Blog: Scores, Stats, Highlights, Updates, Analysis

The NFL sent two teams to LA this offseason, and the Redskins wasted no time visiting both. 

For the second time this season, the Redskins are in Los Angeles; this time, it's to take on the surging Chargers. Having won four of their last six, the Chargers find themselves right in the thick of the AFC title race. 

The stakes are somewhat lower for the Redskins, who find themselves playing the role of spoiler today. 

So far, the Redskins have released their Inactive List for this afternoon's game. 

Second Quarter

5:30 PM: The Redskins avoid disaster to end the half, as a Chargers draw play brings them down to the 4 before the clock runs out. At half, it remains Chargers 23, Redskins 6. 

5:13 PM: Stop me if you've heard this before. The Chargers kicked another field goal. Chargers 23, Redskins 6. 

5:00 PM: Phillip Rivers beats Josh Norman on a long TD, and everything is TheWorst™ again. Chargers 20, Redskins 6

4:53 PM: Hey, a Redskins touchdown! Cousins connects with Vernon Davis and the Redskins are showing signs of life. PAT is no good. Chargers 13, Redskins 6

4:47 PM: Let's take a moment to get a feel for how Redskins media/fans felt that quarter went:


First Quarter

4:43 PM - The Chargers tack on another FG as the 1st quarter expires. The Redskins are probably going to want to forget that quarter happened. Chargers 13, Redskins 0 

4:36 PM - On the insuing kickoff, Byron Marshall hurt himself on the return. Then Cousins comes out and immediately throws an interception. *inserts This Is Fine meme*

4:30 PM - Make it 10-0. Chargers march down the field and Rivers throws his first TD of the day. Chargers 10, Redskins 0. 

4:22 PM - People are thrilled with the Redskins' offense:

4:12 PM - Well, that was fast. Chargers get a FG and grab an early lead. Chargers 3, Redskins 0