By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Coming off a 24-3 thumping at the hands of the Giants, the 0-4 Redskins will be welcoming the 4-0 Patriots and the best defense in football to Landover on Sunday afternoon.
It won’t be an ideal situation for the home team on Sunday — no matter which quarterback takes the field to start the game.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden finally used Dwayne Haskins on Sunday, inserting the 15th overall pick after Case Keenum got off to an unproductive start. Haskins ended up throwing three interceptions, leaving the head coach without an answer on Monday when asked which QB will start vs. the Patriots.
With Keenum leaving Sunday’s game in a walking boot, Gruden may even turn to Colt McCoy, who is much more experienced but hasn’t played since breaking his leg last year.
“Right now, I’m going to continue to evaluate Keenum’s progress with his foot,” Gruden told reporters on Monday. “Obviously, Dwayne, and Colt with his leg. When we come back Wednesday morning, we’ll have a practice and we’ll see where they’re at.”
History dictates that Gruden should resist giving Haskins his first career start this week. Inexperienced quarterbacks against a Bill Belichick-coached defense have not fared well, with Josh Allen’s loss on Sunday serving as the 18th straight loss by a rookie or second-year QB against the Patriots.
Did You Know: The Patriots have now won 18 straight games against a first- or second-year quarterback, the longest streak in NFL history. The New York Giants (1988-90) and the Los Angeles Rams (1973-79) have the second longest streak at 17 straight wins.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 30, 2019
Keenum, though, doesn’t exactly have a track record of success against the Patriots. As a member of the Texans in 2013, Keenum started against the Patriots, completing 15 of his 30 passes for 272 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. His success with the Vikings in 2017 (22 TDs, 7 INTs, 98.3 passer rating) appears to very much be an aberration, as he’s thrown 25 TDs and 19 INTs for an 83.6 passer rating in his last 20 games. Keenum’s teams have gone 6-14 in those 20 starts.
Interestingly, McCoy is one of the rare rookies to have beaten the Patriots, as he was under center when the Browns upset the Patriots in Cleveland back in 2010.
Whichever quarterback ends starting, the task will be tall. The Redskins currently rank 28th in total offense and 29th in scoring offense. The Patriots’ defense currently ranks No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed, points allowed, opponents’ passer rating, and takeaways. As a team, the Redskins are tied for the NFL lead in interceptions, having thrown seven through three weeks.
The massive gap between the Patriots and everyone else in defensive categories is staggering.
1. NE, 6.8
2. CHI, 11.3
1. NE, 243
2. BUF, 280.8
Opp. Passer Rating
1. NE, 41.0
2. BUF, 64.3
1. NE, 10
2. BUF/NYG/SF, 5
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) September 30, 2019
Keenum completed 6 of 11 passes for 37 yards with no touchdowns and one interception while taking one sack on Sunday. Haskins went 9-for-17 for 107 yards with the aforementioned three picks, plus two sacks in his NFL debut in relief of Keenum, who now has seven touchdowns and four picks on the year.