After coming out of the gates strong with a 24-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, the Washington Redskins couldn't replicate that success on Sunday. In a 21-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the offense started slowly, and never found its groove.
Though the Redskins hung around for most of the contest, keeping it close until wide receiver T.Y. Hilton found the end zone in the fourth quarter, the team didn't have much success moving the ball up and down the field.
Compared to the nearly 200 rushing yards the offense put up against the Cardinals, Sunday's rushing attack mustered 65 yards against Indianapolis. Quarterback Alex Smith threw for a season-high 292 yards, but struggled to stretch the field against the secondary.
Part of the credit goes to the Colts defense. Stunts on the defensive line and strong play by the linebackers caught the Redskins with little room to operate: they couldn't run the ball, but they couldn't get the big plays in the passing game either.
"I ain't going to say it's that we just couldn't handle it, we just didn't have that many opportunities," offensive lineman Trent Williams said about the Colts defense. "We weren't able to actually run the ball like want to to get our offense going how we know it can get going. Running the ball is a huge, first down runs we didn't get enough, coach has to pass on second and third so, maybe we could of handled it if we had more opportunities and we could have established the run game, but we didn't."
However, there were other components that led to the team's struggles. A lack of energy played a part as well.
"They just played harder than we did, that's it," running back Chris Thompson said.
Execution also had a role in the loss. The Colts defense played well, but the Redskins didn't do themselves any favors. In particular, an inability to convert turnovers into touchdowns ultimately blocked a chance at picking up a victory.
Safety D.J. Swearinger Sr. had two interceptions on the day, yet the offense was unable to turn either one of them into seven points, lessening the momentum that the defense had just provided.
"Yeah of course, on each possession you always want to end with seven. Especially on turnovers," running back Adrian Peterson said. "Swear did a great job of presenting us with two opportunities and just as an offense we weren't able to execute."
Sunday's loss may not have offered too many positive takeaways for the Redskins, but the struggles that were caused by a lack of energy and execution provide the team with a blueprint on how to improve moving forward.
"Ultimately, I feel like there's a lot that we're going to learn from this film and this game as a team that's going to make us better," Peterson said. "At the end of the day I truly feel that way."
There won't be much time for the Redskins to dwell on Sunday's performance. With Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers coming to town, a strong performance will be needed in order to compete and earn a win.
"It's super important. I mean, it's Aaron Rodgers coming in here," Thompson said. "So if we don't have it together then we get embarrassed again, so."
Losses come with no reward but great perspective, and the Redskins' performance on Sunday offers an awakening for what the team needs to work on in order to have success throughout the rest of the season. With a new week beginning, they're ready to move forward.
"I promise you this, it will change next week," Peterson said.