Fair is fair. Last week, after the Washington Redskins dominated the New Orleans Saints, I excluded the Bad from this post and just listed six Good. This week, with a nearly opposite result, it's only fair to post a nearly opposite response. So here are Three Bad/Three Bad from the beatdown at the hands of the Carolina Panthers.
Let's get this out of the way early: That was really poor officiating. The call against Chris Culliver on the pick-six was iffy, but most agree it was the correct call based on the rule (that doesn't mean the rule is correct — much like what determines a catch, the consensus is the rule needs to be changed and/or clarified). The missed call on which Jordan Reed took a helmet-to-helmet hit was bad. The holding call against Reed that negated a Kirk Cousins run wasn't good. There are more examples, but you saw the game.
Mike Pereira called out the officiating crew after the game, saying head official Jerome Boger "doesn't seem to show a lot of confidence as a referee" and "the big calls and the critical calls went more against the Redskins than [they] did against Carolina." That the former vice president of officiating would comment on the game like that says something, and it's not good.
#2. Jason Hatcher
On a related note, Jason Hatcher made an ass of himself with his postgame comments. There were certainly some bad calls in the game (and for the record, there were one or two bad calls against Carolina, albeit far less egregious), but I find it highly improbable the refs are considering the offensive nature of the name. The officials might have had something against Washington, I don't know, but my guess is if they did, it probably had nothing to do with the team name. Maybe I'm wrong. It was still a stupid thing to say (twice), and when you lose by 28 points (30 before the Panthers gifted the Redskins a safety that they forgot to accept), you can't bitch about the officiating that much. Especially when you've been ineffective for pretty much the entire season, and missed a handful of tackles and committed a neutral zone infraction in that specific game.
#3. Trent Murphy
This could just go to the entire front seven, but I thought Murphy had the worst game of the bunch. He missed numerous tackles and was flagged for a neutral zone infraction just one play before Hatcher's, and even when he got penetration, he couldn't capitalize. He hasn't been spectacular this season, but I thought the Carolina game was the first time he looked like he had no business being on the field, as a starter or a reserve.
#4. Chris Culliver
Ignore the pick-six, which was a tremendous play whether it was legal or not. That play aside, he had an awful game. He got burned time and again by one of the most maligned group of receivers in the NFL, and he was flagged for three penalties on that pick-six drive. The middle penalty was the unnecessary roughness call in question — he was also called for illegal contact two plays earlier (declined due to a 17-yard gain) and defensive holding five players later (declined due to touchdown). Don't let all this take away from the interception that was called back, because, again, that was an incredibly athletic play that required an enormous amount of concentration. The flag certainly seemed to deflate the team, and the Redskins were basically done after that call; that's not an excuse, or a good sign, but it's the truth.
#5. Matt Jones
Jones has shown flashes throughout the season, and with more reps, he could definitely become a quality starting running back in this league. But holy shit, man, hold onto the ball. The same could be said for pretty much every Redskins player after that game, but Jones' fumbling is especially head-scratching for me. Fumbling is one thing — Jones seems to get stripped even on weak swats at the ball. I don't know if he needs to adjust his grip, improve his concentration, strengthen his hand muscles or what, but it definitely seems to be a technique problem of some kind and not just some extraordinary case of bad luck.
#6. Backup offensive linemen
Josh LeRibeus has been a consistent, and easy, target for critics for a long time, and he did nothing to help himself Sunday. He struggled in protection, shanked a few snaps and he seemed to botch more than one snap count. I could be mistaken, and maybe the fault belongs elsewhere, but I'm relatively certain he is to blame for this catastrophe of a play.
Trent Williams is the one that catches the eye in that play, but look at the other blockers. Spencer Long appears to miss the count as well, and he only blocks a guy because said guy barrels into him. Brandon Scherff also looks to be late on the count. My guess is LeRib or Cousins (probably LeRib) screwed up the snap count.
Ty Nsekhe came in for Williams after the stud left tackle got hurt in garbage time (shout out to poor player management!) and immediately gave up a sack. The middle of the line was about as stout as a damp washcloth. There was little to no blocking downfield on the few occasions Washington managed to get a runner downfield. It was overall a poor showing by the backups, who toward the end of the game were also playing against backups.
Two quick notes in a positive light: 1) Kirk Cousins played better than his stats indicate and I wanted to acknowledge that. He fumbled twice, but nobody could hold onto the ball for the Redskins in that game, and that's not a recurring problem of his, so I'll mark it up to a fluke. 2) Andre Roberts and DeSean Jackson each had their best individual plays of the season, something that shouldn't be ignored.