It's not as if any one Redskin played particularly poorly on Week 6 at Kansas City. As a group, though, the Redskins did not match the intensity of one player who basically turned the game in the Chiefs' favor.
Although it's not often that one player decides the outcome of an NFL game, a case could be made on behalf of Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen.
The 6-6, 265-pound Allen joined the Chiefs as a fourth-round pick out of Idaho State last year. As a rookie, he produced nine sacks for Kansas City, a team long known for its offense and its lack of defense.
But Allen should not have been able to sneak up on the Redskins yesterday. After all, as a rookie he established himself as one of the NFL's up-and-coming pass rushers.
Yesterday, he had six tackles, including three sacks, totaling 25 yards. He forced two fumbles, recovering both. Overall, he went a long way toward becoming a household name across the NFL.
You look at the Redskins' schedule and think that a player such as Michael Strahan or Jevon Kearse will be your stiffest challenge among defensive linemen. Those players will be hard pressed to equal Allen's output of yesterday.
Asked about the Chiefs' player, Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs said: "We have a lot of respect for that guy. They have some outstanding players over there. [Defensive coordinator] Gunther [Cunningham] and their coaches do a great job with that defense. They made some big plays on us today."
Obviously, Santana Moss was brilliant yesterday in Kansas City. The first-year Redskins wide receiver grabbed 10 passes from Mark Brunell, good for 173 yards and two TDs. And linebacker Marcus Washington stepped up his game, leading the team with eight tackles and his all-out hustle.
What cost the Redskins was their inability to get the Chiefs' No. 69, Jared Allen, blocked. This is an intense young player, the most intense on the field Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
"You can't take anything away from that defense," Clinton Portis allowed. "Tip your hat to them, because they did a good job.
"As far as us, turnovers and penalties are killing us. They have to go. We need to get these mistakes out of the way, especially in the red zone."
Portis, who once rushed for 218 versus Kansas City in 2003, was held to just 77 yards on 21 carries Sunday. He battled a bruised leg and was replaced by Rock Cartwright.
In the third quarter, Allen's hit on Cartwright forced the fumble that Sammy Knight scooped up and raced 80 yards for the TD that put Kansas City in front 21-14. In retrospect, it was probably the key sequence of the game.
"You feel so sorry for Rock," said Gibbs. "He's such an important Redskin. He fights his heart out."
For a team that doesn't really have a sterling reputation for the way it plays defense, Kansas City sure had its moments on Sunday.
That factor leaves the Redskins at 3-2 but with a chance to get back on track Sunday at FedExField versus San Francisco, a team that has struggled in the early going and is 1-4 under new head coach Mike Nolan, the former Redskins defensive coordinator.
Here's something that may work in the 49ers' favor: They'll be coming off their bye week, just as the Chiefs were yesterday. The Redskins had better hope San Francisco doesn't show up with unheralded pass rushers who come up with career games.
Said Gibbs: "We've had two tough ones on the road in hostile environments. It'll be good to get back home."