Call the Redskins' new offense a work in progress.
The unit, under the direction of new associate head coach-offense Al Saunders, was inconsistent in the Redskins' 19-3 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
The Redskins received a scare on the first offensive series of the game when Clinton Portis sustained a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. Portis left the game after the injury and did not return.
The Redskins' first-team offense started strong, with Portis chugging for an eight-yard gain on the first play of the game and Mark Brunell tossing an 18-yard pass to Santana Moss and a 27-yard pass to Brandon Lloyd.
But on the eighth play of the opening drive, Brunell threw a pass in the direction of Brandon Lloyd. The pass was intercepted by Bengals' cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, who raced down the sideline for 52 yards.
It was Portis who chased down Ratliff and tackled him awkwardly, slamming him to the ground. In the process, Portis injured his shoulder.
From that point on, points and yards were hard to come by for the Redskins' offense. Overall, the unit produced 256 yards of total offense, including just 30 yards on the ground.
"I'm sure there are going to be some good things in there, but it's hard to find them when you wind up playing a game like that," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "We need to come in tomorrow and take a long, hard look at the film and try to do the best evaluation we can.
"I think it's obvious to everybody: we've got a long way to go. We've got some real serious work we're going to have to do."
In two series, Brunell was 4-of-9 for 66 yards, along with the interception. Backup Todd Collins was 6-of-13 for 68 yards and one interception.
The Redskins' defense?
Always dependable, the unit was dominant early on, forcing two consecutive three-and-outs to open the game. Coming in on a cornerback blitz, Shawn Springs logged a sack on quarterback Anthony Wright, subbing for starter Carson Palmer.
Later, Karon Riley logged two sacks, and Lemar Marshall and Joe Sykes added one each. Reed Doughty led the defense in tackles with seven, but he was part of a Redskins' secondary that struggled, yielding several long pass completions.
It was Cincinnati's defense that scored first, however.
Late in the first quarter, the Redskins' offense was backed up near its own goal line. Throwing from the end zone, Collins faced a strong rush from the Bengals' front four.
To avoid a sack, he fired a pass that was nearly intercepted by defensive end Justin Smith. Collins was called for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety and two points for the Bengals.
After the safety, the Bengals took over possession and quickly drove downfield to score a touchdown. It took just three plays, the first a flea flicker from Anthony Wright to T.J. Houshmandzadeh for 52 yards.
One play later, Wright completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Chris Henry, giving the Bengals a 9-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bengals extended their lead to 12-0 on a 37-yard field goal by Shayne Graham.
The Redskins responded with a 10-play, 46-yard drive to finally get on the scoreboard. John Hall connected on a 38-yard field goal to cut the Bengals' lead to 12-3.
On the drive, Collins threw a 19-yard, third-down pass to rookie wide receiver Mike Espy and a 22-yard pass to James Thrash.
Espy is having a strong preseason. In his first NFL action, he led the offense with four catches for 56 yards. He even endured several hard tackles, while managing to hold on to the ball.
In the second half, Jason Campbell took over the Redskins' offense.
The second-year pro flashed potential, but he also showed he has a way to go in learning Saunders' offense. Campbell completed 9-of-15 passes for 99 yards, with one interception, in two quarters of action.
Campbell showed nice touch on several deep passes, including a long throw to Jimmy Farris that was dropped and a 44-yard completion to rookie tight end Buck Orgeta.
The Bengals closed out the scoring in the third quarter. Third-string quarterback Doug Johnson connected on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Kelley Washington, who was wide open after beating the Redskins' coverage.
The score gave the Bengals a commanding 19-3 lead.
In other injury news for the Redskins, running back Kerry Carter suffered a serious knee ligament injury. It appears the third-year player could be facing a long rehabilitation.
Linebacker Chris Clemons sustained a sprained ACL injury in his left knee in the first quarter. Athletic trainers fitted him with a knee brace and he was helped off the field.