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SNYDER: Week 2 like Week 1 will not define season

September 17, 2018

LANDOVER So, about last week ...

Why oh why do we fall for the fake-out every single time? We’re like Charlie Brown, believing we’ll finally enjoy a chance to kick the football, only to fall flat on our back as Lucy pulls it away.

Again, and again, and again.

Those warnings and admonitions about not putting much stock into Washington’s opener against Arizona? Yeah, yeah, we heard all of them knew it was prudent advice.

But, come on. Washington didn’t have to replicate its performance in the desert. Even a faint resemblance might’ve been enough for the franchise’s first 2-0 record in seven years. Instead, they looked like a completely different team, failing to score a touchdown in a 21-9 defeat.

All of the sudden, Adrian Peterson looks his age. The defense can’t contain a top receiver. Unfortunately, Washington’s only consistent feature thus far is the alarming inability to generate production from its wideouts.

Everything we worried might be a problem with this team was on full display. Every question the team answered last week has returned to the fore entering the next contest, when Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay comes to town.

But here’s the thing: If the team’s first game didn’t mean much, neither should their second game. Right? That’s the way life is supposed to work in the NFL, a league that seemingly would be ecstatic if all 32 teams finished with 8-8 records.

Through one-eighth of the season, the franchise is on its way to .500. That might be a good goal for this squad considering what we’ve seen so far.

The offense’s highlights were few Washington had 121 yards at halftime and the scoring was far-between (a measly field goal in each quarter except the first).

They woke up a bit after intermission, but failed to capitalize on D.J. Swearinger’s second interception of the game, this one setting them up at the Colts’ 29.

They settled for another Dustin Hopkins kick and tacked on another to pull within 14-9 early in the fourth quarter. But Indianapolis drove 75 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing possession, making Washington fans even more lifeless.

Speaking of fans, many were disguised as empty seats. But give the team’s new marketing honchos credit. FedEx’s Field’s second deck previously was solid yellow. But someone had the ingenious idea to sporadically intersperse burgundy seats among that sea of yellow. As a result, the deck didn’t appear as empty; the yellow empty seats were broken up by the burgundy empty seats, the latter made less noticeable by the contrast. Brilliant!

For the fans who showed up, they booed and left early. No one can blame them. Washington wasted a prime opportunity to instill some faith in the base.

But, remember, a lack of consistency doesn’t mean anything. That’s the story and everyone is sticking to it.

“That’s most of the NFL, to be honest with you,” quarterback Alex Smith said after meaningless, late-game throws padded his final 292 passing yards. “I feel like it’s really hard every single week and that’s the challenge, a great challenge every week.”

Part of the challenge is the balancing act players must pull off. They know seasons can resemble rollercoasters at times, but they can’t let that fact create a “whatever” attitude when they lay an egg. Especially when it comes in the home opener against a beatable team.

“It’s terrible,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “It makes you feel like you want to throw up. You get a big win on the road and then come home and have a big letdown in front of your home fans. It’s tough.”

It was tough to watch, too. All the goodwill and warm feelings generated in Arizona came crashing down, like another dropped pass or runner tackled for no gain.

“Our offense is way better than what we did today,” halfback Chris Thompson said after the running backs were held to 22 yards on 16 carries. “There’s no way that we should ever finish a game not scoring a touchdown with the offense that we have.”

Good luck determining what kind of offense they have. Or defense or special teams, for that matter. Suffice it to say Washington is still very much a work in progress, still figuring out who they are and what they can do.

They proved as much in Week 1. They proved the same thing Sunday.

So, about next week ...

⦁ Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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