10 points that tell the story of the 2018 Redskins
1) The season-opening win in Arizona
The 24-6 road victory over the Cardinals was Jay Gruden's first-ever Week 1 win as a head coach, and it was never really in doubt.
Alex Smith looked poised in his Redskins debut. Adrian Peterson scored twice. The defense held Arizona to just six points.
All offseason, people pointed to the opener against the Cardinals as a test. Well, the 'Skins scored a perfect 100 on that test.
2) The nightmare in New Orleans
Washington went into this Monday night game versus the Saints at 2-1 and coming off a bye. They should've been fresh, prepared and ready to make a statement.
They should've been. But they weren't.
Instead, Drew Brees sliced up the Redskins defense with ease, leading to criticism of Josh Norman. By comparison, the Redskins' offense looked clunky and confused.
It ended up as just another primetime embarrassment for a team that's racked up plenty over the years.
3) The three-game winning streak
Talk about a rebound. After the debacle in the Superdome, the Redskins corrected things and ripped off three straight wins.
First, they outmatched the Panthers. Then, they won a thriller against the Cowboys. And finally, they stomped the Giants in New York.
The streak pushed them to 5-2 and their defense looked stout. The offense, on the other hand, was still a mystery. But hey, they had figured out a formula and were following that formula.
4) Norman, Swearinger call out the fans
The 'Skins split their next two games, losing to Atlanta but winning in Tampa. So, through nine games, the story should've been their 6-3 record.
Unfortunately, that record became overshadowed after Josh Norman told reporters he'd rather play every game on the road. DJ Swearinger called out fans' loyalty the next day, too.
This, of course, outraged supporters of the franchise, setting up a big second-half conflict and theme: The organization vs. the fans.
5) The Alex Smith injury
This right here was the beginning of the end for the 2018 Redskins.
Going into their matchup with the Texans, the 'Skins were a first place squad. They lost the game, however, but far more importantly, they lost their QB.
Smith's awful leg injury shocked teammates, coaches and fans. And it'd be something everyone would reference in the coming months for why the season totally dropped off.
6) The Reuben Foster signing
Most waiver claims come and go with little reaction. The Reuben Foster waiver claim was not like most waiver claims.
Washington added the troubled linebacker after an arrest, hoping to eventually use his talent on defense if the legal process clears him.
The damage they took from the hit was enormous, though. Many questioned the research they did while tons of fans were revolted. All for a guy who may never play in D.C.
7) The Colt McCoy injury
Teams largely aren't equipped to deal with one broken leg under center, and they're certainly not equipped to deal with two.
That was the harsh reality for the Burgundy and Gold when Colt McCoy went down in Philly. There was still some belief the team could win with McCoy; without him, those hopes were mostly dashed.
They were still in the playoff picture after McCoy's injury. But were they really IN it? Not exactly.
8) The Giants dismantle the Redskins
The Giants took a 40-0 lead over the Redskins in this Week 14 contest. 40-0.
Josh Johnson came in to replace Mark Sanchez and made the final score look slightly better, drawing questions as to why Johnson wasn't called in to replace McCoy in the first place.
Regardless, the fact that the Redskins could come out in a game they needed to have and look that lifeless turned up the heat on everyone, particularly Jay Gruden.
9) DJ Swearinger's sudden release
As the defense declined in the second half of 2018, DJ Swearinger grew more and more upset.
Eventually, he called out Greg Manusky following the last-minute loss in Tennessee. Two days later, the organization decided to suddenly part ways with the Pro Bowl alternate.
Why choose to hold Swearinger accountable after so many other issues with others? Why not just suspend him? Those were a few questions sparked by this crucial decision.
The biggest one, however?: Who is going to play safety for this team next year?
10) The (a)pathetic home finale
The Redskins were out of playoff contention in Week 17 and they played like it. That was troubling.
The more troubling part was the atmosphere at FedEx Field. It was full — of Eagles fans.
It was a sad but also fitting end to a wild and ultimately disappointing season. It also showed just how far this franchise has to go to earn back the trust of the fans and be a consistent contender in this league.