Dwayne Haskins shows grit on sore ankle as his NFL education continues

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The weekly referendum on Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins will go something like this: He gutted it out on a hobbled ankle, he couldn't do enough to threaten the Green Bay Packers early and a bad first half was followed by a much better second half.

Haskins completed 16 of 27 passes for 170 yards, one interception and one touchdown in Washington's 20-15 loss to the Packers. The loss eliminated Washington (3-10) from playoff contention. Haskins injured the ankle before halftime after getting hit on a sack and appeared to be moving slowly at times. But he played better after the injury than before. In the second half he completed 11 of 16 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Early in the game he struggled in the pocket, mostly caused by Green Bay's pass rush, which sacked him four times. As he limped off the field at the end of the first half, it was worth wondering if he would continue. His first half would have been a poor one to end on, but in continuing he at least could feel better about the final two quarters.

Biggest hole in the game plan: The Redskins were terrible against the run, tying a season-worst with 175 yards allowed on the ground. Green Bay did a good job of getting the Redskins into their nickel defense and then running the ball with Aaron Jones. Some sloppy tackling didn't help, but the Packers also were able to double team the interior linemen and create gaps. Green Bay also did a nice job of throwing out of run sets, creating problems in the secondary when the safeties bit hard. The Redskins also consistently have coverage breakdowns, caused by play design and defensive backs who fail to properly read the situation.

Troubling trend: Derrius Guice and knee injuries. Guice has played in six NFL games and has hurt his knee in three of them -- one cost him an entire season and the second caused him to miss eight games this year. He left Sunday's game in the second quarter at the end of a nice 23-yard run; his torn ACL happened at the end of a good run in the 2018 preseason opener, too. Guice continues to show flashes of why the Redskins like him. But the knee injuries have made it tough for the Redskins to view him as a durable runner. The Redskins definitely missed him after he exited Sunday, having to use Wendell Smallwood when Adrian Peterson needed a breather.

Lifetime achievement: Another game, another career mark established for Peterson. He became the sixth player in NFL history to surpass 14,000 yards rushing. He entered the game needing 40 yards to hit that mark and topped it with 48 in the opening half. He also scored a touchdown for the eighth straight game at Lambeau Field and his eight touchdowns at Green Bay are now the most by a Packers opponent. Finally, Peterson's touchdown run was his 109th, leaving him one shy of tying Walter Payton for fourth on the all-time list.

Silver lining: The Redskins are not a good team and that's evident. This isn’t about moral victories by any stretch of the imagination, but they have become a tougher team and haven't quit. That's a low bar, of course, but there's not much reason they should have been in this game late given how Green Bay took a 14-0 lead early. It was a one-score game late. The Redskins continue to lose players and lack firepower on offense. But they have at least developed a mindset. Playing so many young guys on both sides of the ball also provides energy. They're undermanned, but competing.