Football Team

Three plays that define the first half of WFT's 2021 season

Football Team

The Washington Football Team's 2021 season is eight games and 480 minutes old, meaning Ron Rivera's group has huddled up and run quite a few plays on each side of the ball thus far.

And out of all of that action, these three sequences stick out the most when it comes to defining the first half of the Burgundy and Gold's campaign...

Ryan Fitzpatrick's injury

Think about how much time you spent debating Fitz's fit with Washington and how he'd be an upgrade over Alex Smith and how he was playing his best football the past two years with the Dolphins and how he'd allow Scott Turner to be more aggressive and how he'd unlock Terry McLaurin's potential and how...

Then the guy got hurt after six throws.

In Washington's opener at FedEx Field, a Chargers pass rusher beat Charles Leno Jr. and got to Fitzpatrick just as he was trying to unload a pass. His attempt would be incomplete — and so would his debut slate with the franchise. 

The injury would prove to be a hip subluxation, and Fitzpatrick still hasn't taken the field for a mere practice since suffering it. Taylor Heinicke has led the offense in his absence, and though he's provided a handful of strong moments, his limitations have made it impossible not to wonder how the 38-year-old would be performing had he never gotten hurt.

The fortunate offsides call vs. New York

The 48-yarder was missed and the NFC East matchup was over. Washington was 0-2, with both losses coming at home.

 

But thanks to a flag, they suddenly weren't.

Giants lineman Dexter Lawrence may or may not have inched offsides on Dustin Hopkins' first field goal try, and that infraction granted Hopkins a second one from five yards closer. The kicker took advantage, giving Washington its first victory of 2021.

Now, as joyous as that sequence was as it unfolded, it feels different when reviewing it.

Instead of being the ones who undoubtedly beat New York, Washington needed their opponent to make a mistake first before taking control. That's been a theme in the club's opening eight contests. Games must be handed to them — and their 2-6 record indicates that, even then, they often refuse to accept such gifts.

The Saints' Hail Mary 

The defensive secondary has seemed to somewhat steady itself in recent appearances, but that stretch of decent outings should in no way allow fans to forget its dreadful work in Weeks 1-6. 

And nothing was more dreadful than what happened to close out the first half during the Saints' visit to Landover, Md.

With eight seconds left in the second quarter and the ball on the Washington 49-yard line, Landon Collins and the rest of his teammates expected New Orleans to try to pick up a few, quick yards in order to set up a long field goal. Yet Jameis Winston, as he tends to do, had different ideas and dropped back for a Hail Mary.

Collins and Co. were slow in recognizing this development, which was frustrating. That frustration, though, was nothing compared to what it was like to watch as Jack Del Rio's defenders seemingly forgot that they were allowed to jump and, you know, give effort to knock down Winston's pass. 

Saints wideout Marquez Callaway ended up hauling in the Hail Mary for a devastating touchdown as time expired, and in doing so, he put the finishing touches on the best example of how dysfunctional Washington's corners and safeties have been together this season.