Both tight end Vernon Davis and cornerback Bashaud Breeland each recorded a memorable milestone in the Redskins' 30-13 loss to the Chargers on Sunday.
Not many positives could be drawn from the Redskins 30-13 loss to the Chargers on Sunday at the StubHub Center. The defense emerged flat and the offense couldn't find its rhythm. They left Los Angeles disappointed with their preparation and effort and vowed to compete stronger in the final three games of the season.
The points the Redskins did score, however, were attached to some career milestones for players – tight end Vernon Davis and cornerback Bashaud Breeland -- that had trouble reconciling their individual achievements with the team's loss and feelings after the game.
Washington's closest margin -- they cut the Chargers' lead to seven points -- came in the second quarter when the team drove 77 yards on nine plays that culminated in a 23-yard Davis touchdown pass. Quarterback Kirk Cousins eluded trouble and began to run up through the pocket, throwing a dart to his tight end on the right side of the end zone for the score.
With the catch, Davis passed Kellen Winslow Sr. (541) for the 10th-most career receptions by a tight end in NFL history, accomplishing the feat against the team for whom Winslow played his entire nine-year career. It was Davis's first touchdown catch since Week 3 against the Oakland Raiders and his 59th all-time.
"That's cool, but right now, with the loss, I'm not really worried about that at the moment," Davis said. "I'm sure later on in life, after the season's over, I'll ponder on it and be like 'Wow, that's a great accomplishment.' As far as right now, there's nothing for me to really be excited about. Today was a tough one for us, and tomorrow will be better. I'll get excited about practice all over again, but right now I'm just going to take this time to reflect and get my mind right."
That mimicked the general feelings of Breeland, whose own touchdown came with greater context.
After the first series on defense, Breeland was relieved of playing with his fellow starters for cornerback Quinton Dunbar, his removal coming down to a coach's decision, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Breeland worked his way back into a few sub packages and played during kickoffs.
"I'm all for the team, man," Breeland said after the game. "They want me to be on the bench for a little bit, I'll be on the bench a little bit. Like, we go back in, I'm going to go in and make plays."
He eventually did with just less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Kellen Clemens threw a slant pass to wide receiver Mike Williams. The ball bounced off the rookie's hands and into Breeland's lap. With a wide open right side of the field, Breeland sprinted and then jogged his way into the end zone for a 96-yard interception return touchdown, the first of his career.
The pick-six was the second longest in team history and the first interception return of at least 90 yards by the Redskins since then-cornerback DeAngelo Hall scored on a 92-yard interception return at Chicago on Oct. 24, 2010.
"It was an easy play for me to make," Breeland said, noting Williams's Clemson connection. "It really should have been caught by him, though. He kind of got me on my technique, so good play by him."
As they reflected on moving beyond the loss – a feeling this team has begun to get used to – both Breeland and Davis had competing, if not equally important, ways of approaching the end of the team's season.
"You've got to grind. You've got to grind," Breeland said. "You've got to get back to the basics."
"We just have to have fun," Davis said. "We just have to enjoy the moment, because if you think about just life in general, this is a great opportunity for us to be able to play professional football. When you think that way, you're very, very positive and you're thankful for the opportunity that you have, then mentally that allows you to go out there and just play football.