Sunday afternoon's game in Arizona is one Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins will likely want to forget soon.
While his final stat line (19-33, 233 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) doesn't look bad by any means, the second-year passer struggled to get Washington's offense into much of a rhythm before the team went down double-digits. Additionally, Washington was held scoreless for the first two and a half quarters, and Haskins squandered the team's lone red zone opportunity in the first half by fumbling.
Of course, the numbers don't tell the whole story. Haskins wasn't great by any means, but as NBC Sports Washington's Brian Mitchell said on Washington Football Postgame Live, blaming the struggles solely on the quarterback is simply not fair or accurate.
"This team is not very good right now," Mitchell said.
"I know it's very [cliché] to say [it's] Dwayne Haskins' [fault], he's the quarterback in D.C.," Mitchell continued. "But when your offense is not picking up the blitz, picking up stunts, they can't block people consistently, the quarterback will miss high, he will miss low, he'll do some things he wouldn't ordinarily do. Quarterbacks that have been in the league for 5-10 years, they do the same thing. We're expecting a young quarterback to do everything right."
For starters, Mitchell immediately pointed out the Burgundy and Gold's offensive line struggles, calling out Brandon Scherff. The right guard is a captain for Washington, a three-time Pro Bowler who is hoping for a lucrative contract in the offseason. Scherff was forced to leave early on Sunday, but his play before he departed the game is not one he will look back on fondly.
"The offensive line is horrible. Let's be real," Mitchell said. "Scherff, we talk a lot about him, we praise him. But Scherff was getting beat like a drum before he got hurt."
Mitchell also questioned whether Haskins has enough talent on the outside to help him out. Outside of second-year wide receiver Terry McLaurin -- who shined with seven catches for 125 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown where he outran the entire Arizona secondary -- the Burgundy and Gold have no one who Haskins can fully trust and count on.
"Ron Rivera says it over and over again: when a play goes wrong, we can't automatically look at the quarterback," Mitchell said. "He talks about the receivers being in the wrong spot. We saw earlier in the game, Terry McLaurin was sitting there, and guess what? Steven Sims ran across and the ball bounced up into the air. Is that Dwayne Haskins' fault it's incomplete?"
That play was just one example Mitchell gave. Then, he continued.
"We saw many times [Haskins] was going to step [up in the pocket] and he's pressured," Mitchell said. "I will tell you upfront that Dwayne did not play a great game. But when you come out immediately and start talking about the quarterback, it makes everyone think the quarterback is awful, or the quarterback is the reason for something going on, and I think that's the farthest thing from the truth. That offensive line, they're not having much success."
After a Week 1 victory over the Eagles, expectations for Washington skyrocketed. Sure, no one was pegging them as Super Bowl contenders, but many wondered just how far their defense -- which had eight sacks in the Week 1 win -- could take them.
Sunday's game against Arizona, an up-and-coming team with their own young star quarterback, served as a bit of a reality check. Washington still has a ways to go before they're a legit contender.
"I think what we're doing is as media and as fans is, were judging a football team on what we expect them to be today," Mitchell said. "They are not what they'll be in three, four, five years. They're gonna get there. But right now, I judge things for what they are in the moment, not what I want them to be."