WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- For the Redskins to beat the Denver Broncos on the road, it would've taken a perfect firestorm of events to happen.
And that's what's troubling about Washington's 45-21 loss in Mike Shanahan's return: the firestorm wasn't just brewing. It actually appeared out of thin air.
The two consistent people the Redskins have depended on in 2013 once again gave their undermanned football team a chance. Ryan Kerrigan made a game altering play, forcing a fumble. DeAngelo Hall followed that up with his third touchdown of the season -- that's more than Pierre Garcon has.
Washington couldn't have been in a better position up 21-7 in the third quarter against the NFL's darling team, in front of a national audience.
None of that ended up mattering.
A lesson was learned in Denver about Robert Griffin III's tenure as the Redskins quarterback: Washington doesn't have a chance to win games when RGIII plays below average. If you get RGIII on the ropes spiraling out of control, you can take the Redskins behind the woodshed like a pinata.
After seeing what Griffin's legs did to the Bears, the Broncos resourcefully eliminated RGIII's mobility, forcing him to dance uncomfortably in the pocket. Expect this game plan to be repeated throughout the season. Griffin looked like he was doing the Macarena every time he dropped back, badly misfiring on throws and holding on to the ball for far too long. We thought his play was unacceptable against the Eagles and Packers. Griffin was beyond lousy.
Oh, I know what you'll say. This loss falls squarely on Kyle Shanahan. Why would he abandon Alfred Morris with the lead? Why were there only two receivers going out for routes on several occasions? To an extent, you are right. His play calling did not combat Denver's defense this time. But there's more of an issue than just fundamental play calls.
To the 92 percent of you blaming Kyle Shanahan for ruining his father's homecoming in Denver: Don't you think it's a serious problem you wanted the football out of your franchise quarterback's hands late in an important game? Should Kyle Shanahan start trusting Griffin's arm and decision making less and less?
Maybe that is reality for the 2-5 Washington Redskins. In year two, the guy anointed the savior of the franchise, can't be trusted to deliver the same big plays on a consistent basis -- so much so people react angrily when he passes too much. Maybe the Redskins need to take all the pressure off of Griffin. Maybe it's time to get Alfred Morris 30 carries a game. Because Washington isn't fooling anyone right now about their aerial attack, including themselves.
Pierre Garcon said the passing game "sucks," and that just the muted version he told the media. When asked about the number of passing play calls, Griffin responded, "I can't comment on that really...just whatever is called, that's what we run."
Bad games happen. I won't dare count out Griffin yet either, not in the NFC East. But the growing pains RGIII has endured this season have lowered the confidence levels of an entire city. Redskins fans can't depend on which Griffin will show up on weekly basis. And if it's the version of Griffin who played against the Eagles, Packers and Broncos, the final score will result in an opponent dismantling the Redskins. It's that simple of an equation.
Leaving Denver, we all thought it would be the defense who suffered a damaging blow to their already bruised ego. Nope.
Instead Washington now has a passing game in shambles, a wide receiver acting like a borderline diva and an inconsistent franchise quarterback who can't be counted on unless he's outside of the pocket.