Jonathan Allen was blunt and to the point.
The Chicago Bears had just trashed the Redskins in yet another Monday Night Massacre at FedEx Field. Don’t let the late rally fool you. This game was 28-0 late in the second quarter. It finished 31-15. Washington is 0-3. This is about the time when NFL teams go off the rails.
Allen gave an impassioned post-game speech demanding teammates stay accountable and united despite their clear frustration, a source told NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay.
“We’re supposed to be the best athletes in the world,” Allen said. “If you don’t have the mental toughness to stay focused after three weeks in a 17-week regular season, I don’t know what to tell you. Each guy has to be held accountable and just take it from there. There ain’t no magic sauce to get this thing turned around.”
Listed as questionable before the game, playing on a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Allen gutted through the game after missing the Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Redskins were left seething because they have found different ways to lose every week. They blew a 17-0 lead to the Philadelphia Eagles. They were sloppy and out-manned at the line of scrimmage against the Dallas Cowboys. Turnovers killed them for the first time this season against the Bears in a disaster of a first half.
Allen insisted the locker room will not fracture. Those could be dismissed as just words, but the expression on his face made you uneasy. He played college football at Alabama. He is not used to losing.
Neither is wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who caught another touchdown pass and had six catches for 70 yards. It’s been a great individual start to his rookie season, which means nothing to a player who won so many games at Ohio State.
“I’m a win-loss kind of guy. I scored. We lost," McLaurin said. "I want to be productive for my team, but at the end of the day I want to win and we all want to win. The boxscore doesn’t say ‘Terry had a great game.’ It says ‘The Redskins lost.’ I feel like that. Our team feels like that.”
The Redskins next travel to New York to play the 1-2 Giants in what absolutely is a must-win game. Jobs are on the line now. Allen and McLaurin said there would be no finger-pointing. Accountability starts with each individual player and they vowed to check their own play. Running back Adrian Peterson echoed his younger teammates.
"Everyone contributes. From Week 1 to now," Peterson said. "If anything you've got to point the finger at yourself. For me, even with everything that happened in the first half, at the end of the day, we were in a position to convert a first down and I didn't execute. And if we do that we're in a position with a fresh set of downs to get seven [points] and now we're down six and it's a totally different ballgame."
But these are all words. They must be backed up on the field in New York on Sunday or they don’t mean much. The Redskins better adhere to the message or the season will slip away from them a quarter of the way into it. Will they? Allen’s manner suggested anyone who isn’t on board will face consequences.
“Nothing is ever impossible to fix. I don’t care how you lose,” Allen said. “Nothing is ever impossible. Losing sucks. Regardless of how you lose, we lost...[But] they’re going to have to be. It’s not a question of ‘if’ but you’re going to have to be and we’re going to be.”
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