3 instant over-reactions as slow start, missed FG again dooms Washington


It's near impossible to watch this Washington Football Team. The first 30 minutes is agony, while the final 30 minutes are usually riveting. 

That same formula unfolded Sunday in Detroit as Washington got done 17-3 at halftime and 24-3 early in the third quarter. At that point, however, Ron Rivera's team got its act together and started to move the ball at an impressive pace. 

In the end, it wasn't enough and Washington fell to the Lions 30-27. Seemingly week after week, the problem starts from the jump. 

  1. Not going anywhere - Alex Smith did not look very good in the first half but he sure did in the second. Smith finished the game with 390 pass yards but in the third and fourth quarters he was on fire, running the Washington offense to three straight 11-play touchdown drives. There were some reasonable questions if Dwayne Haskins should take over for Smith going forward, but the way the 36-year-old veteran played against the Lions, he cannot get sent to the bench right now. 
  2. Big play, big problem - As exciting as the comeback was the Washington defense has a real problem giving up big plays. All three of Detroit's touchdowns came on pass plays of at least 15 yards, and Lions QB Matt Stafford connected on a 55-yard TD pass to open the game's scoring. Rivera's team has struggled giving up big plays all year and it continues to be a problem. 
  3. Gotta make those - All week long there was some mystery if Washington placekicker Dustin Hopkins would play as he was fighting a groin issue. He was limited in practice all week, but word came out Hopkins would be good to go for Sunday's game. Well, Hopkins played, but he missed a crucial first-half field goal. Sometimes that's not that big of a deal, but when Washington loses by three, it becomes a big deal. It's also a pattern for Hopkins. He's having the worst season statistically of his career and as the Burgundy and Gold continue to lose close games, his misses become of much greater consequence.

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