ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Washington football team traveled north to Buffalo for a “measuring stick game” and found the stick in the eye.
Washington’s offensive was bad. Washington’s defense was worse.
The Bills did what they wanted when they wanted. Always. It was a strangulation.
For Washington head coach Ron Rivera, if he gives an honest assessment of his football team after this measuring stick match, the distance between Burgundy and Gold to play championship football should not be measured in yards but rather in miles.
Stock traders always suggest “buy the downside”. It basically means loading a stock of value after a bad time, assuming the value will return over time. After what happened in Buffalo, it’s hard to assume that value will return in Washington stocks.
- Home run hitter – There wasn’t much to celebrate, but Antonio Gibson reminded the NFL world of his ability to play big. On a well-timed screen call, Gibson grabbed a fairly straightforward pass about 3 yards to the right of the line of scrimmage. He missed a few defenders, hit a lane, cut and displayed explosive speed en route to a diving touchdown. It was easily the best game Washington has made in Buffalo.
- Simple but better – The tide was turning at Highmark Stadium, but Washington’s special team units were able to fight in the conditions. The team even fired an odd kick “inside” the field which rebounded before landing in the arms of Dustin Hopkins. There’s not much to celebrate today and at least the special teams haven’t messed up.
- The opposite of good – It’s time to stop discussing Washington’s defense with any positivity. The squad was awful on Sunday, allowing a 17-game, 93-yard touchdown to open the second half and finish the game effectively. Washington entered Sunday’s game 30th out of 32 teams in the third stops, and that will likely come last after that game. At one point, before the game was out of reach, the Bills were converting 70 percent of their third downs and controlling possession with a ratio of more than 2 to 1. At halftime, Washington had allowed 27 points and over 300 yards in total. At halftime.
- Secondary problems are primary – Washington did a decent job controlling Bills WR star Stefon Diggs, but Buffalo’s second and third options in the passing game cut Jack Del Rio’s squad apart. Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley have 192 receiving yards, two touchdowns and 16 catches. Whether it’s a ploy, confusion, miscommunication, or any other buzzword, high school has major issues.
- Together – Maybe Washington’s high school is struggling because the pass rush doesn’t generate sacks. Bills QB Josh Allen had complete control of this game from the first road snap to 358 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a TD. Chase Young and Montez Sweat didn’t go their distance, and Allen was often able to dodge under their up rush and find open spaces to look for broads downstream. The pass rush was not good enough. Period. And Allen has made it more evident than ever that Washington’s alleged strength on his defensive front is anything but at this point in the season.
- Evil is worse than good – Washington QB Taylor Heinicke never gives up, plays hard and has a nose for the end zone. His strengths in this game will be remembered by his supporters, but his two interceptions both came from terrible decisions on throws in traffic. If Heinicke is going to be a QB that Washington can count on, he can’t make plays like this. He’s a smart instinctive player, but the choices were silly. He’s not good enough to make stupid mistakes.