SNIDER: WFT is down, but not out


Reality returned for the Washington Football Team and it was harsh. Like coal in stockings, a breakup on Valentine's Day and a letter from the IRS in your mailbox all rolled into the first half.

The Dallas Cowboys humiliated Washington at times on Sunday. FedEx Field was basically Dallas North down to the benches the Cowboys brought with them to remain toasty on a crisp winter afternoon. But, it's now Washington's butts on the hot seat over postseason chances.

Dallas' 27-20 victory before a largely partisan crowd revealed more than Washington wanted to know. Washington’s not close to being a legit contender, despite still making the playoffs if winning three of its last four games. Then again, with two games versus fellow playoff rival Philadelphia and a rematch with Dallas over the next three weeks before finishing at the New York Giants, three wins are not assured. Two might still grab a wild card, but then it's a one-and-out scenario like last year.

Washington can rebound and find a path to the postseason. But it was exposed by Dallas – like naked and afraid exposed – and Philadelphia was watching. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke was awful. The running game was awful. The offensive line was awful. The defense was sometimes awful. So was the coaching and special teams.

On a day when Washington could have proven its four-game winning streak was more than beating several so-so teams, Dallas disproved the myth like pulling a shopping mall Santa's beard. Washington trailed 18-0 in the first quarter and the outcome was never in doubt, despite the score drawing closer in the end.

A battered team now turns its eyes to another division foe in traveling to Philadelphia before heading to Dallas, then hosting Philadelphia. Really, this is like fighting two teams at once on opposite sides. Finish with one, here comes the other for four straight weeks. It allows Washington to control its destiny, but also get steamrolled.

Faith is fleeting and Heinicke is once more under scrutiny after a solid four-week run beating counterparts Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Derek Carr and Russell Wilson. Leaving with a knee injury gives coach Ron Rivera an opportunity to play Kyle Allen if desired, but it's Heinicke's job if healthy, as it should be.

The thing is, Heinicke's scrappiness is what makes this team click. When he's off, it has no chance to win. But, there's never a comeback too much for Heinicke and that needs to be Washington's mindset.

It was only one loss as bad as it was. Nobody expected Washington to finish with nine straight wins. But, it needs to pick up another rock and hit another Goliath at Philadelphia or the task will be more Herculean than biblical.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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