Remember, the Raiders were preseason media darlings and a lot of folks' favorites to challenge the Patriots for AFC supremacy. And maybe that still happens -- the Pats got steamrolled by the Chiefs in Week 1, after all -- but for now, they're a good team with plenty of flaws, most of which were exposed by a Redskins outfit that controlled the game from the first snap until the last. The final score -- 27-10 -- wasn't indicative of just how much of a blowout this was.
Cousins and the Redskins' offense were a finely tuned machine, but it was the Redskins defense which set the "Let's punch Oakland in the mouth and see what happens" tone early and maintained that tone for the ensuing 60 minutes. Derek Carr was hurried and harried all night, the league's best offensive line was manhandled, all-world receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper had more drops (three) than catches (two), and the running game never got going.
It was a wild scene, man.
Here are eight other takeaways from the game:
Redskins might want to lock up Kirk Cousins long term
For reasons that remain a mystery, team president Bruce Allen has yet to commit to Cousins, who was one of the NFL's best quarterbacks a season ago. No, really. According to Football Outsiders' metrics, Cousins' ranked third among all quarterbacks in 2016, behind only Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. And for his troubles, Cousins was franchise tagged for the second successive offseason.
(Yes, the Redskins wanted to pay Kirk Cousins $53 million in guarantees as part of a new long-term deal, but the quarterback instead opted for the franchise tag, which means he could be a free agent next spring. It's worth noting that $53 million is barely above what Cousins will make on the franchise tag in 2017 and 2018, should he get tagged again.)
And while Cousins was less than replacement-level in the first two games (61 percent completion, two touchdowns, an interception, two lost fumbles), he played like a Hall of Famer against the Raiders on Sunday night. He was dominant all night, thanks in no small part to the Raiders refusing to show up.
But this isn't to take anything away from Cousins, who was damn-near perfect, as evidenced by his touchdown pass to cap off the first drive:
Looking for a challenge beyond the short pass, which Cousins perfected midway through the first half, he started chucking the ball down the field to see what would happen. The answer: more completions, only longer. Here's touchdown pass No. 3:
To recap: Hey, Bruce, PAY KIRK (also acceptable:).
This could go a long way in explaining the Raiders' future
If any player on the Raiders roster is afraid of flying, they might want to think about asking for a trade because Oakland is going to be spending more time in the air in 2017 than any other NFL team. The Raiders will be traveling a total of 32,876 miles this season, which is more than the Steelers, Bengals, Packers and Lions will travel combined in 2017 (30,712 miles).
Although NFL teams have it pretty easy when they travel these days, it seems that flights of over 2,000 miles still seem to have a negative effect on a team. In the 15-season period from 1997-2011, teams that traveled 2,000 miles or more for a road trip had a winning percentage of just .398, according to Grantland.com. Between 2014 and 2015, that number actually got worse.
And finally, the punchline:
None of this is good news for the Raiders, who will have to deal with four one-way flights of at least 2,000 miles in 2017.
NFL coaches are adept at game-planning against schemes and players, but there is no playbook for traveling more than 32,000 miles while trying to prepare 53 guys to play a football game.
These tweets pretty much say it all:
When it was over, Cousins was 25 of 30 (83.3 percent!) for 365 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Carr was 19 of 31 for 118 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
In other mind-boggling developments, it was unclear how the Raiders concluded that letting Chris Thompson run wild was a sound defensive strategy.
Chris Thompson has 100+ scrimmage yards for the second consecutive game. He surpassed 100+ scrimmage yards only once in previous 36 games.— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) September 25, 2017
In a game filled with low points, this may have been the lowest: The Raiders' defense, facing a third-and-16 late in the third quarter, allowed Chris Thompson to catch a short pass and rumble for 74 yards to set up a Washington field goal.
Marshawn Lynch looked like a 31-year-old running back
It's unfair to say Lynch is washed up -- he has showed glimpses of his old self in the Raiders' first two games, gaining 76 yards (4.2 YPC) against the Titans in Week 1 and 45 yards (3.8 YPC) against the Jets last week. He also ranks No. 11 in total value among all backs, according to FO. But on Sunday night he looked like ... well, like a 31-year-old runner.
Of course, the entire Raiders' offense looked like a bunch of geriatrics out there, so it's hard to lay blame with one person. Still, it seems like the days of Lynch routinely trucking defenders is behind us and now, and he's instead on the receiving end of those same hits:
Oakland's defense remains a work in progress
One of the big offseason questions was whether this young, explosive, playmaking Raiders defense would improve on last year's No. 22 ranking. It was the team's Achilles' heel in '16, and a replacement-level showing this season could mean a deep playoff run. Turns out, they've been markedly worse through three weeks. The Raiders' D came into Sunday's game ranked 27th, and they'll undoubtedly be lower than that after the Football Outsiders folks do the math on their latest no-show performance.
The protests continue
The day ended just as it began 11 hours earlier, with players either kneeling or standing together, arms locked, during the national anthem, all because President Trump said this at a rally on Friday night: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired!"
The protests started during the first game on Sunday's slate, a 9:30 a.m. ET kickoff in London between the Ravens and Jaguars. And they continued throughout the day and concluded just before the Raiders-Redskins "Sunday Night Football" get-together:
The Raiders wanted to skip the anthem entirely -- just as the Seahawks, Titans, and Steelers had done earlier in the day -- but couldn't because it would have resulted in a 15-yard penalty due to a different coin toss procedure that's used for primetime games, according to NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya.
Before and after Trump's comments
The Washington Post reports that the Redskins deliberated for much of Sunday afternoon before releasing this statement just before kickoff:
"Football has always served as the great unifier, bringing people together to celebrate the values of courage, commitment and achievement. We are proud of the players, coaches and fans of the Washington Redskins for all that they have done to improve the lives of others in neighborhoods all across our region.
"We are also grateful for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our armed forces that have provided us the freedom to play football. In that great tradition, the Washington Redskins will work to address divisions and bring unity, civility and respect to our greater community."
Snyder was one of several NFL owners to donate $1 million to Donald Trump's inauguration celebration.
Meanwhile, Raiders owner Mark Davis, who had previously asked his players not to protest, changed course in light of Trump's recent remarks.
"About a year ago, before our Tennessee game, I met with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to ask their permission to have Tommie Smith light the torch for my father before the game in Mexico City," Davis told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "I explained to them that I was asking their permission because I had previously told them that I would prefer that they not protest while in the Raiders uniform. And should they have something to say, once their uniform was off, I might go up there with them.
"Over the last year, though, the streets have gotten hot and there has been a lot of static in the air and recently, fuel has been added to the fire. I can no longer ask our team to not say something while they are in a Raider uniform. The only thing I can ask them to do is do it with class. Do it with pride. Not only do we have to tell people there is something wrong, we have to come up with answers. That's the challenge in front of us as Americans and human beings."
On Sunday, the Raiders (2-1) travel to Denver to face the Broncos (2-1) in a big divisional matchup. On Monday night, the Redskins (2-1) travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs (3-0), one of only two remaining unbeaten teams along with the Falcons.