Dazed and Confused: Here's Why the Redskins Lost Their Season Opener

Even with Matthew McConaughey's presence, it wasn't alright, alright, alright for the Redskins in their 38-16 loss to the Steelers.

LANDOVER -- In honor of Matthew McConaughey's presence at FedEx Field, here's a look at why the Washington Redskins lost 38-16 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in their home and regular season opener. It doesn't take a True Detective for this.

Reign of Fire -- Steelers receiver Antonio Brown is the best at what does in the NFL and the Redskins learned why. Everyone's favorite fantasy footballer caught touchdown passes of 29 and 24 yards, finishing with eight receptions for 126 yards. Brown frustrated cornerback Bashaud Breeland throughout, including a 21-yard grab on second-and-19 in the final quarter that set up DeAngelo Williams' back-breaking touchdown on the next play. That Brown rocked isn't stunning, but it's frustrating considering Pittsburgh played without several other receivers. Why Breeland, who did have an interception, was on Brown plenty with $75 million corner Josh Norman on the team will be a postgame question.

* Frailty -- Let's go back to Richmond, site of Redskins training camp. It might have been Hades, but it sure didn't seem like the players were put through hell compared to historic norms. Then the starters were held out of the second and fourth preseason games and didn't play much more than a quarter in the first. Could all that inactivity be the reason why the defense wore down and the offense wasn't crisp? If not a flat-out yes in both cases, it was definitely a factor.

* Failure to Launch -- Washington controlled the game offensively in the opening quarter. Each of its first three drives crossed midfield and two reached the 13- and the 23-yard line, respectively. Yet all the Redskins came away with was two Dustin Hopkins field goals. In the second quarter, Brown's first touchdown started a 24-0 run by Pittsburgh. 

* Ghosts of Girlfriends Past -- The Redskins' run defense ranked 26th last season in yards allowed and 31st in yards per carry. More of the same to start 2016. Williams finished with 143 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 26 carries. That's 5.5 yards per attempt.

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* Judgement -- Don't worry, I've never heard of this film either, but I suspect we'll hear plenty about the play of both teams on fourth down. The Steelers converted each of their two attempts, leading to two scores. The Redskins went 0 for 2, but it's the one they punted on in the first quarter that stood out.

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* Larger Than Life -- Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is a big man. Actually sacking him is a problem.The Redskins never did even on those rare times they got a hand on him. Given time, Big Ben threw for 300 yards and three touchdown passes.

* Fool's Gold -- Look, I've planted my flag in Camp Cousins going back to way before he was named the starter. This wasn't one of his better nights, though he threw for 329 yards on 43 passes. Cousins missed some opportunities early and didn't put consistent fear into a Steelers secondary that, on paper, was beatable. The first of his two interceptions was brutal to the naked eye. While I expect better days ahead, there's simply more scrutiny now that he's playing under the $20 million franchise tag and wanting more.

* Dazed and Confused - This is less about the game and more about seeing the same issues from last season resurfacing. The Redskins may have passed on going for a fourth-and-1 from the Steelers' 40 on the opening drive out of fear that the run game wouldn't get the job done. Center Kory Lichtensteiger got pushed back in the middle and the refs threw flags in his direction. Washington's defensive line struggled against the run and with providing pass rush pressure. Monday followed a similar script. The running game labored last season and never found a rhythm in the opener. 

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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