NEW ORLEANS — Early on, the Redskins made stupid penalties.
Later on, the Redskins got completely outplayed.
Add it all up, and the result is a 43-19 loss to the New Orleans Saints that brings far more questions than it does answers.
“That was an absolute embarrassment,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said following the game.
He was right.
The entire organization needs to be embarrassed by the Monday night debacle. Washington was coming off a bye week and had two weeks to prepare for the Saints matchup.
But the team didn’t look at all prepared.
Their veteran quarterback looked rattled right out of the gate. Alex Smith either seemed unwilling or unable to deal with the Saints' defensive pressure.
Adrian Peterson never got going, and some of that was because he nearly had his leg taken off on the first possession.
Smith threw a late check down to Peterson in the flat that a New Orleans defender saw coming and delivered a massive hit to the running back’s left knee.
Peterson survived that hit, but later in the game suffered a dislocated shoulder on a hard tackle. An MRI on Tuesday will reveal the extent of the damage.
Smith played bad, by far his worst performance of the season, and the whole Redskins team followed suit.
Defensively, Washington seemed competitive early in the contest yet determined to undermine their own effort.
A wildly dumb personal foul call on Montae Nicholson negated a Ryan Kerrigan sack of Drew Brees that would have forced a punt. Instead New Orleans kept the ball, and a few plays later, the Saints scored.
There were other dumb penalties, and certainly more Saints scores.
The secondary squabbled for the second time in two weeks, and confusion reigned in multiple spots.
Josh Norman got benched to start the second half. Yep. Benched.
It was a disgrace of a football game for a team that cannot find anything close to consistency.
Now all the questions will mount, and they will range from strategic errors to personal preparation.
A number of Redskins players pointed the blame at their fellow players after the loss.
Jonathan Allen asked why guys weren’t ready to play, and DJ Swearinger said that Redskins players need to cut out the laughter and hijinks during practices.
Whatever the answers are, the Redskins better find them quick.
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