Sometimes losses are hard to explain, but Sunday's fall to the Bengals is not one of those times. No, the reasons we lost are simple: 1) Washington was missing a Pro Bowl outside linebacker, starting defensive lineman, starting safety, top receiver, and starting left tackle (for most of the game). 2) The remaining defensive players were less talented than the opposing offensive players.
Especially on defense, the absences made a glaring difference. Without Carriker's and Orakpo's abilities to penetrate the pocket and pressure the passer, Andy Dalton had the time to plant his feet and launch bombs down field to a waiting A.J. Green. Sure, the secondary looked like hell, but they've always looked like hell. To have a fighting chance, the Skins need to be capable of disrupting the quarterback and forcing him into bad decisions.
In the words of our young (and battered) quarterback, "You can't replace a Trent Williams, just like you can't replace Brian Orakpo. Or Carriker. You have to move on." With that in mind, let's get to injury news.
LT Trent Williams—After injuring his knee on the second play of the home opener, Williams attempted an unsuccessful return. Jordan Black, who last played in the 2010 season, was tasked with protecting RGIII's blind side, and you know the rest. Very, very fortunately given Williams' history of knee issues, MRIs showed no structural damage to the joint, just a bone bruise. His recovery timeline is uncertain, as is his status for week four.
RB Evan Royster—A tackle in the fourth quarter of play left Royster with a sprained patellar tendon in his right knee. He's listed as day-to-day.
RB Roy Helu—The tailback was seen wearing an immobilizing brace on his left foot and having considerable difficulty walking after the game. Mike Shanahan explained that he'd aggravated an existing injury, "a little bit of turf toe."
WR Pierre Garcon—Nothing new on the bruised-foot-bone front. When asked about Garcon's availability, Shanahan responded, "I really don't know. He's getting treatment everyday and I'm hoping he gets on the practice field on Wednesday [and] he's feeling a lot better and will be ready to play. But I can't tell you at this point."
CB Cedric Griffin—The lesser-known Griffin left the field late in the first quarter of last Sunday's game. He suffered a hamstring strain and his status is day-to-day.
S Brandon Meriweather—Last week I told you that Meriweather aimed to play in the home opener, but the sprained ligaments in his knee held him out. This week I'm going to tell you that Meriweather aims to play on Sunday. That's all I got.
Last, but not least, fans were injured during an escalator accident at FedEx on Sunday. A yet-unknown malfunction caused it to accelerate, then stop suddenly, flinging riders to the bottom. From the pileup at the foot of the escalator, 15 people were examined for injuries on the scene and six were transferred to local hospitals. Their status for the next home game remains questionable, unless of course anyone has an extra parking pass.