On Monday, Washington Post writer Dan Steinberg tweeted that the Redskins had gone 1-1 in the team’s last two games. Then, that they were 2-2 in the last four. Before long, he had discovered that in the last 57 games, the Redskins have gone 28-28-1.
Though the numbers could be viewed as eye-opening, the overall trend is one that is probably noticeable to anyone who has followed the Redskins in recent seasons. Following an impressive win, the team has been unable to carry that momentum into the following week.
“You look at that and it’s embarrassing, honestly,” running back Chris Thompson said about seeing the tweet appear on his timeline.
Thompson wasn’t the only one to acknowledge the trend. Cornerback Josh Norman reiterated that word, offensive lineman Trent Williams stated that it’s “been a minute” since he’s had back to back wins and linebacker Mason Foster mentioned that the win-loss pattern has been the story of his four years as a Redskin.
The 2018 season has fallen right into the trend. 3-2 through five weeks, the team hasn't strung together multiple wins. On the bright side, there has not been back-to-back losses either. Still, Washington’s play this year, and in recent memory, has been --- for a lack of better phrasing --- consistently inconsistent.
A more in-depth look at the up and down pattern the team has been riding shows that even the offense has fallen victim to it. Most notably in the Redskins' three wins, the offense has scored 66 combined points in the first half, compared to just 12 in the second half. Wins are wins, but the players understand that type of play is not exactly a formula for success.
“I think it’s, we just got to find a way to stay consistent. That’s really the biggest thing,” Thompson said. “I don’t know what it is where we can have a hot first quarter for sure, and a good first half. And then somehow at halftime we just haven’t been able to score and we just got to find a way.”
Even with all the ups and downs, Redskins players still harp on the mindset they’ve carried all season. Whether it was a win or loss the week before, the only thing that matters now is the present. It’s a one game at a time mentality.
“Only thing that’s going to matter is what happens on Sunday,” Williams said. “Only way we want to turn it around, we got to go out and play a good game on Sunday.”
Yet, even with this mindset, there’s no denying the importance the opportunity that gaining back-to-back wins presents. Besides the chance to put an end to a pattern and a strange statistical reference, it offers a confidence boost to the team. Both Williams and Thompson noted this on Wednesday, explaining how a win streak could be the spark needed to instill a little swagger for the guys in the locker room.
In addition, the start of the win streak plays a part in where the Redskins fit within the football landscape. Now more than ever, the NFL is a league of parody.
“Now everybody’s talented, there’s talent everywhere in the NFL there’s not cream of the crop,” Williams said last week. “The Browns can look like the Patriots any given day and vice versa. So that’s just how the NFL is.”
With that, sporadic wins throughout the season become less of a statement. Every win matters, but the best teams are the ones who can put together a consistent streak throughout the season. As Williams puts it, the Redskins can’t spend some weeks looking like a playoff team and others looking like a team that will finish with a top-five draft pick.
For the Redskins, who have hopes of a division title and more, the chance at consistency begins this Sunday against the rival Dallas Cowboys. A chance to end the pattern and finally carry the momentum from a win the previous week.
“Guys are ready for it,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “We want to get on a run, man, get on a roll right now in the middle of the season, it’d be good for us.”