The Washington Football Team wrapped up the preseason at FedExField and could not keep up with the Baltimore Ravens in a 37-3 defeat. Here are five takeaways from the night.
1. There's still some work to do on defense.
It's important to emphasize that the score is by no means indicative of the defense as a whole. The starters didn't receive any action, while the Raven had several key players on the field to start the game. With that said, it's never a good thing when the opponent allows 30-plus points.
After Baltimore's opening drive, which ended in a missed field goal from Jake Verity, the Ravens put together five straight scoring drives. Tyler Huntley, who played in all but one series, gave Washington fits by completing 24-of-33 passes for 285 yards and tossing four touchdowns.
There were times when the defense held its own, particularly whenever Baltimore was in the red zone. Bunmi Rotimi corralled a sack by bringing down Lamar Jackson for a four-yard loss to force fourth down. Two drives later, Darryl Roberts took down Nate McCrary for another four-yard loss.
There's two weeks until Washington hosts the Las Angeles Chargers, who have an offense capable of marching up and down the field as well. The good news is there's still time for the defense to work through any issues before the regular season.
2. David Bada balled out.
Despite the defense's struggles, there were some players who performed well throughout the night. Second-year pro David Bada is at the top of that list.
Two plays before Rotimi's third-down sack, Bada tracked down a scrambling Jackson for a two-yard loss. Next, after Huntley threw an eight-yard score to Eric Tomlinson, Bada batted Verity's extra point kick away. Bada finished the night with four tackles, three of which were solo.
Bada, who is part of the NFL's International Pathway Program, played for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns who are one of Europe's top teams. He appeared in 29 games for Schwabisch Hall and registered 51 total tackles (33 solo) and 15.0 sacks. Bada also played for the Ingolstadt Dukes in the German Football League.
Bada has shown growth since joining Washington in 2020. He's had flashes in training camp and got his first sack against the Patriots. He's viewed as a project for Washington's defensive line, and Ron Rivera said after the game he still has a long way to go, but he's shown a lot of strength and ability lately.
3. Darryl Roberts had a solid tackling performance.
Roberts, a seventh-round pick in 2016, has been fighting for a roster spot throughout camp. He made a solid case for that by leading the team with eight tackles.
Roberts' play against McCrary, which forced Verity to trot out and attempt a 25-yard field goal, but the five-year pro was all over the field and consistently around the ball. On the Ravens' following drive, he combined with Jared Norris to bring down Ty'Son Williams for another loss.
With roster cut coming soon, Roberts is competing with the likes of Torry McTyer and Troy Apke for a spot in Washington's talented cornerback room. He certainly has the most experience among that group with 211 tackles in his career. He'll see if that, combined with his performance against the Ravens, was enough to get himself on the 53-man roster.
4. Sparks were not enough to ignite the offense.
Whether it was through the air or on the ground, Washington's offense struggled to get any kind of momentum. Kyle Allen and Steven Montez could only muster 128 combined passing yards, and the unit's ground attack faced even more difficulty.
There were some momentary high points. The longest play of the day came from Dax Milne, who secured a 26-yard pass from Allen to move Washington to Baltimore's 38-yard line. Antonio Gandy-Golden also put together some solid catches, including an eight-yard reception on a 3rd-and-7, en route to a 39-yard performance.
But those moments, however valiant, were not enough to help Washington put points on the board. After Milne's grab, the offense's eight-play drive sputtered out with a missed 55-yard field goal. Washington was 1-of-11 on third down and had zero trips to the red zone.
Like the defense, it's important to note that most of the starters did not play at all, so the score is not indicative of what the unit can accomplish. Still, the unit still has some work to do before Week 1 of the regular season in two week.
5. Roster decisions are looming.
Saturday night was the last chance for the players at the bottom of the roster to make their case that they deserve a roster spot. From here, Rivera and his coaches will evaluate the tape and their notes from training camp and make their decisions on Tuesday. Per NFL rules, each team needs to finalize their rosters by 4 p.m.
Despite the final score, it is clear that Washington's roster is more talented in 2021 than it was last season. Rivera has said as much, which is why he feels it will be tough to decide which players should stay and which should be released.
Either way, Rivera wants to make the best decision for the team, so it's safe to say he'll look at each decision carefully.