News & Politics

The Washington Post Is Running Out of Ways to Trash the Redskins

The only thing sadder than Washington's football team is how miserable it's made local sportswriters.

How it probably feels to be covering Washington's NFL team right now. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Another week in the NFL schedule down, another reminder that Washington’s professional football team barely qualifies to be called one. While the season’s not over yet, the team’s professional chroniclers gave up hope long ago. Every Washington defeat brings a fresh set of downer reviews from the Washington Post’s roster of sports columnists, and as you’ll see from below, the malaise has only grown.

Washington’s passers are being written off in print as quickly as they’re being carted off the field, special teams are a dismissed as a gallery of dangerous buffoons, and reactions to yet another miserable squad under the Dan Snyder era have transformed from worry and anger to desperation and hoplessness. It’s the pornography of Monday-morning quarterbacking—just how sad will it get? Read on for a timeline of how our terrible team has sapped the Post’s writers of the will to even cover this pathetic franchise:

Week 1: Texas 17, Washington 6. One game in, Sally Jenkins smells a rat:

A 17-6 loss to the Houston Texans in the NFL’s Week 1 isn’t a season-definer, of course. But if this habit of making the shiny, happy best of lousy performances doesn’t stop, it will be. Hit rewind, and listen.

Week 2: Washington 41, Jaguars 10. Down goes RGIII! Mike Wise offers to help bury the corpse of the third-year quarterback’s flailing career:

“You ever see a postgame locker room this happy after the face of the franchise and the number one free agent in the offseason went down?” I asked a longtime team employee.

“No,” he said, adding he’d rather not elaborate.

Week 3: Eagles 37, Washington 34. After a close loss, Dan Steinberg sees a dumpster fire in progress:

“Oh weird, a kickoff returned for a touchdown at a crucial moment. It’s actually not weird, you see, because Washington has regularly displayed stinking refuse fires on special teams about every other week for the past decade or so. There are so few disaster plays that Washington hasn’t explored on special teams.”

Week 4: Giants 45, Washington 14. Wise writes off the first replacement quarterback:

The vehicle carrying the new and true believers of Kirk Cousins careened into a Prince George’s County embankment Thursday night, and the wreckage was total and complete: four good-night interceptions in nine second-half pass attempts.

Week 5: Seahawks 27, Washington 17. Steinberg forsees more doom, thanks to the special teams:

This week, the fake-field-goal-for-a-first-down narrowly sneaks past the messily failed onside kick, the ineffective pooch kick and the punt downed at their own 1. Tune in next week, when the Redskins’ special teams unit torches the team bench and releases stink bombs inside the locker room.

Week 6: Cardinals 30, Washington 20. Team sinks to 1-5; Wise is bored and sad:

“Personally, it really would be nice to write about a winning NFL team again. There’s only so much bad news you can be the bearer of before people start treating your stories like the team: If the destination is always the same, at some point you stop making the journey.

Week 7: Washington 19, Titans 17. Tom Boswell isn’t swayed by a rare win:

“When losing franchises have comfort-food victories gifted to them, as the two-turnover, 11-penalty Titans helped Washington to this win, then a few days of healing for damaged confidence are in order. But this team’s knee-jerk flaw, season after season, is to use any good performance—or just a lucky win—to pound themselves on the back with self-congratulatory happy talk and please-the-owner boasts.”

Week 8: Washington beat the Cowboys, and there was much rejoicing.

Week 9: Vikings 29, Washington 26. Griffin says “God has a plan.” Wise sees no hope for salvation:

The Creator was unavailable for comment, but it’s clear in just scheduling the Vikings as a road game that the plan is either to inflict physical and psychological pain on the lads from Ashburn or to teach a severe lesson going forward: Preparing for an athletic contest is damn near impossible with this many distractions.

Week 11: Buccaneers 27, Washington 7. Jason Reid throws that ruinous question out there:

“As fans booed while exiting FedEx Field early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a question hung in the air: Are the Washington Redskins even worse than last season?”

Week 12: 49ers 17, Washington 13. Reid to Griffin: Get lost:

Before Griffin returned, Colt McCoy led the Redskins (3-8) to consecutive victories, including a road win against the NFC East-leading Cowboys. Now, the Redskins are reeling again and it’s easy to identify their biggest problem.

Week 13: Colts 49, Washington 27. Boswell joins Reid in trampling on Griffin’s career’s grave:

After McCoy’s third straight strong performance—in the other two, he was a key to victory—every Washington blunder or penalty won’t have to be seen through the distorting prism of “what did Griffin know and when did he know it?”

Week 14: Rams 24, Washington 0. Reid is out of explanations:

Even by their poor standards, the Redskins appeared inept while losing their fifth straight and being shut out for the first time since 2011. And in addition to the Redskins’ recurring on-field problems, the ongoing drama of their unstable quarterback situation continued to cast a shadow over the franchise.

Week 15: Giants 24, Washington 13. Boswell appears to have the bottom of the pit in sight:

Yet, in reality, this is the worst NFL product Washington has put on display in 50 years—losers of 19 of their past 22 games. And still in full “dive, dive” mode, heading for the depths.

Washington’s final two disasters-in-waiting are home games against the playoff-contending Eagles and Cowboys. Barring a pair of shock victories, the Post will have to break new ground in coming up with depressing superlatives.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.