Three takeaways from the WFT’s dreadful Week 8 loss to the Broncos

By Gibson Hirt

It felt like the Broncos were trying to lose.

An uninspiring offensive performance from what has been an uninspiring Broncos offense all season. A missed field goal from Brandon McManus, who hadn’t missed all season prior to Sunday. Not one, but two fumbles on the potential game-clinching possession.

Denver tried to hand a king-size Twix with a big “W” on it to Washington on Halloween. Instead, however, it was Washington who looked like they were trying to lose on Sunday evening. The visitors rejected the Twix in favor of a granola bar with a giant “L” on it. 


After a dreadful week seven performance against the Packers, Washington played an even worse game against the Broncos. Once again, Washington outmatched Denver in every category except points; they had more yards, first downs and time of possession. Yet the offense still somehow found a way to be shut out of the end zone. 

Shockingly, the only positive aspect of their performance was Landon Collins. The coaching staff made the right decision and put him in a linebacker role — even though Collins himself thought it was malarkey — and it greatly benefitted him and the team. He finished with two TFLs, as well as his first sack of the season, and got lots of pressure in Bridgewater’s face. Fans have been asking for this move since the offseason, and the coaching staff finally listened.

Here are three takeaways from Washington’s miserable Week 8 performance:

Injuries have decimated the team

Washington seems to be allergic to winning after their fourth straight loss, but it also seems like the injury bug has found a new habitat in Washington. These injuries have been especially prevalent on the o-line. At the beginning of the season, the o-line consisted of Charles Leno Jr., Ereck Flowers, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff and Sam Cosmi. At the halfway point of the season, Leno and Flowers are the only two still healthy. Scherff has missed four straight games, and rookie tackle Cosmi missed this weekend with an ankle issue. The o-line isn’t the only part of the team suffering, however; the secondary as well as the receiving core has also fallen victim to the injury bug. Curtis Samuel — Washington’s high-profile offseason signing — has only played in one full game and cannot seem to stay off the injury report. One of the main reasons for the offense’s heinous play has been Samuel’s absence. Defenses have been able to focus most their attention on Terry McLaurin, and while he is extremely talented, he cannot carry the offense himself. Samuel provides that talented secondary receiving option that Washington desperately needs. Logan Thomas hasn’t played since Week 4, and cornerback William Jackson III has missed two straight contests. Oh, don’t forget about Ryan Fitzpatrick — Washington’s supposed bridge quarterback for the year  — who has been on IR since week two and doesn’t seem anywhere near a return. With backups filling nearly half of the starting lineup, it’s understandable why Washington has struggled so drastically on both sides of the ball.

Taylor Heinicke’s time may be up

After his heroic performance in the 2020 Wild Card game, fans thought that Heinicke could be the answer for Washington’s eternal quarterback fiasco. After Fitzpatrick hit the IR with an injury, fans were excited to see what Heinicke could do with the team over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to the hype, and Washington sits at 2–6 heading into their bye week. One of the biggest issues for Heinicke has been his pocket awareness, or lack thereof. Especially against the Broncos, it felt like he was unaware of the pressure that was constantly in his face. Heinicke was sacked five times, with the struggles of the offensive line and his lack of pocket awareness to blame. Heinicke has also had accuracy issues all season, which was once again on display against Denver. Although he dropped a perfect ball into the arms of Deandre Carter late in the third quarter that tied the game, many throws didn’t give his receivers any chance to make a play on the ball. A last second hail mary attempt resulted in Heinicke throwing the ball out of bounds, not even allowing Washington a chance to make a miraculous catch. If he is unable to step up his play in the upcoming weeks, a quarterback change is necessary. Whether it be with Kyle Allen or trading for someone at the trade deadline, Washington needs to look into quarterback options if Heincike fails to improve.

Blewitt blew it

Washington has had kicking issues since what seems like the beginning of time, and it doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. Two weeks ago, Washington cut veteran kicker Dustin Hopkins, who had spent six years with the team. They signed rookie UDFA Chris Blewitt, who has unfortunately lived up to his last name that has likely been the subject of far too many jokes. After two games with the team, Blewitt is a measly 2/5 on field goal attempts. All three of his misses have been blocked, a tell-tale sign that he isn’t getting enough height on his kicks. Two of those three missed kicks came against Denver in two important situations. The first came early in the second quarter, as the kick would have given Washington a 3–0 lead to start the afternoon. Later in the game, Blewitt had another chance to give Washington a three point lead, but it was blocked again. While cutting Hopkins might have been the right move for Washington, it’s obvious that Blewitt wasn’t the best replacement option.

Washington heads into a desperately needed bye week, giving them time to heal and prepare for their next battle with the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If they want any shot at knocking off the Bucs, they need to figure out their long concerning quarterback and kicker problems, as well as getting everyone healthy.