Search for positives from the Redskins' loss lands on... growing pains?

The usual search for positives from any Redskins game ended in one interesting place -- reality.

The Redskins never had a chance Sunday against the Patriots. OK, technically that's not true seeing as they were one of two teams on the field. The Las Vegas oddsmakers didn't like Washington's chances. Neither did anyone watching the opening drive when Tom Brady toyed with the defense en route to the end zone. Certainly, the locals played a factor in their own demise, especially with those seven dropped passes.

Yet even if those muffs turned into catches, even if the moribund running game showed life, even if the pass rushers laid a hand on Brady, the result would have remained the same. New England outclassed Washington. The gap between the two organizations right now is Grand Canyon-esque.

Which is why the one positive isn't any specific player or game scenario. Not sure there was any single upside stat that stood out or any development particularly noteworthy. 

So, what's the potential positive? Growing pains.

Before Week 9, who was the best team Washington faced. The Giants? Jets? Playoff teams perhaps, but not world-beaters. Switch a few plays here and there and the Redskins might be 5-3 instead of the opposite. That's the case for most NFL teams. But with some thrilling wins plus improved play from the quarterback, rookies and others, positive vibes popped up -- as they should. But it's one thing to compete against other low-to-middle tier teams. It's another to match up with the true contenders. As all could see Sunday, the Redskins aren't there yet.

The good thing is losing to the Pats only counts as one loss in the standings. Even at 3-5, the Redskins remain in the NFC East title race. Split the next two games -- which probably means beat the Saints at FedEx Field Sunday -- and they remain in the mix with an easier schedule ahead. But the real key is for all involved to have that cold water from their latest loss wash over them. The Redskins have shown improvement, but there is a long way to go. 

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+

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