washington football team

Stock Report: Washington Skidding Through October Despite Nice Start Vs. Chiefs

Stock Report: WFT skidding through October following Chiefs' loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The best team won on Sunday but for 30 minutes it seemed like an upset could be in the cards. It wasn't. 

Washington's defense forced three first-half turnovers to keep the game close going into halftime, but eventually Patrick Mahomes was just too good. He made magician plays and despite solid pressure from the defensive line throughout the game, Mahomes most avoided sacks and hits. 

There's no moral victories in pro sports, and even if there were, this wouldn't qualify. Kansas City's offense is a sluggish shell of the team that made the last two Super Bowls. 

Now Washington is 2-4 and heading to Green Bay. This could get ugly. 

Stock Up:

  • Hol-can - Much has been written about the lackluster play from Washington's linebackers this season but in Sunday's game against Kansas City third-year pro Cole Holcomb put together one of his best games. He finished with 10 tackles but had a particularly impressive two play stretch where he forced an offensive pass interfence penalty against Chiefs all-world tight end Travis Kelce. Holcomb followed that up with an impressive chase-down tackle of speedster WR Mecole Hardman and forced a fumble on the hit. 
  • 30 minutes on - Washington's defense played their best half of football against Kansas City. In the first half. At halftime Washington had successfully deployed a bend-don't-break mindset that held Kansas City to 10 points and forced two interceptions from Patrick Mahomes. The defensive front generated pressure without blitzing and the group limited the Chiefs explosive plays. It was a strong effort for 30 minutes. 
  • What matters most - Despite a bungled announcement process, on Sunday Washington retired the late Sean Taylor's jersey with his family present. It was an emotional moment for all in the stadium and a deserved honor for the late, great safety. A nice moment for an incredibly sad story. 

Stock Down:

  • Pay attention - Montez Sweat was flagged for a brutal offsides call that negated a third-down stop deep in Washington territory. The worst part? Sweat lined up past the line of scrimmage. He didn't jump in an act of aggression. He lined up offsides. That flag gave Kansas City another chance on third down, and a few plays later, the Chiefs scored a touchdown. 
  • 30 minutes off - Washington's defense played much worse in the second half of the game, giving up 21 points and repeatedly missing important tackles. Washington was able to force turnovers in the first half, that didn't happen in the second half. At one point in the second half Kansas City converted eight straight third downs. Eight. 
  • Need more from the backfield - Taylor Heinicke wasn't very good Sunday, late on reads and hesitant to use his legs while the game was competitive. Antonio Gibson had a killer fumble and missed parts of the game with a shin injury that continues to plague his season. 
  • What the? - Few teams have a punter that's a local hero, but that's the case in Washington with Tress Way. He got leveled on a second half punt return and somehow got called for a penalty. What's he supposed to do? He was attempting to get to the return man by going low on a blocker with the ball carrier just behind him. Way did nothing wrong and the call was absurd. 
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