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Why the loss to the Chargers showed that it may be harder than anticipated to meet high expectations

Rivera is doing the best he can to reshape the perception of the Washington Football Team. However, this loss is indicative of some of the same things that constantly got previous regimes under Dan Snyder in trouble

Los Angeles Chargers v Washington Football Team Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Head Coach Ron Rivera mentioned in early August that the team had piqued the fans' curiosity. “I think they’re curious. We’ve piqued their curiosity from last season, and we’ve got to get ahold of them; I’m telling you that this place can be special; it really can.” Rivera was, and still is absolutely correct; the Washington Football Team has many fans curious following waves of momentum during the off-season. Whether it's by the Team’s own doing with their skillful marketing, diverse hires, player acquisitions, or a high amount of National praise from several media pundits. However, for a team that emphasized winning their fans back and getting them in the seats of the stadium this preseason, they sure as hell let down all the fans who actually met them halfway this week. This isn’t how you bring excitement back into the fanbase.

Make no mistake; a 20-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the opener is not the end all-be all for Washington and their 2021 season. There are still 16 games left, with their next one coming up this Thursday against the New York Giants. The issue here is that, while Rivera and company are trying to turn the corner on what was 20 plus years of toxicity and terrible football, the fans are tired of lip service. I’m not entirely sure Rivera understands that last part; the fans have heard a lot of talking from the team before, only to be met with underwhelming results.

What makes the loss against the Chargers sting so much is that Washington’s defense, who was touted as one of the best defenses in the NFL, could not get off the field. The Chargers won the time of possession by 13 minutes while converting 14 of 19 third-down attempts. That’s a 73 percent conversion rate, and if you take away the last third down attempt where Herbert kneeled to end the game, Washington gave up 14 of 18 third-down attempts (77 percent).

Keep in mind that this is supposed to be the team's strength; first impressions are everything, and Washington started the season with more red flags on that side of the ball than any other area of the team. Sure, the offense was underwhelming, but what could you have expected from a unit that was 30th in the NFL a season ago? Chase Young was ineffective for most of the game, if not all of the game. The Chargers schemed up Washington’s secondary almost to perfection, and second-year quarterback Justin Herbert executed their gameplan very well.

After the game, Rivera mentioned his players have to trust their teammates on the field in his presser, which could indicate something much more concerning than we could have anticipated.

Again, this is not the end of the world, but the staff and the players need to understand that this fanbase genuinely wants the Washington Football Team to return to glory and become a winner again. That begins with minimizing simple mistakes, competing every single week, and representing the city where fans and media members alike can see positive strides in a win or a loss.

What do you all think? Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments and tell us what you think & what must happen moving forward.