LANDOVER, Md. – Mike Shanahan had the look of a beaten man, one who might be counting down his final days with the Washington Redskins.
The strain was showing from Sunday’s 45-10 thumping by the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as the constant swirl of questions about his status. There was even a report before the game that he was close to quitting last year because of his relationships with owner Dan Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Shanahan generally tries to quash such stories.
He didn’t bother this time.
“It’s not the right time or place to talk about my relationship with Dan Snyder, or it’s not the right time and place to talk about something that happened a year ago,” Shanahan said. “I’ll get a chance to talk to Dan at the end of the season, and I’ll give some viewpoints from me, and I’m sure he’ll give me his thoughts and what direction we’ll go.”
Shanahan is 24-37 since coming to Washington in 2010, on pace for a third last-place finish in four seasons with one year to go on his contract. He increasingly looks like the odd man out in the triangle of owner, coach and influential franchise player.
Sunday’s game will do nothing to help him. The Redskins (3-10) lost their fifth in a row and were thoroughly embarrassed.
There was no thin line separating winning and losing. It was a chasm.
“I take full responsibility for this game (Sunday),” Shanahan said. “I didn’t have the players ready to play.”
The Chiefs (10-3) broke their three-game skid by doing what they did so well during their 9-0 start – beat up on a bad team. They scored on their first four possessions, sacked Griffin five times and Kirk Cousins once and returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns.
“It’s a terrible game to be a part of,” Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
The first quarter was so lopsided that nearly all the footprints in the snow were on one side of the 50. That discrepancy was quickly corrected when the teams changed sides.
The score was 38-10 at halftime. Quintin Demps immediately answered the lone Redskins touchdown with a 95-yard kickoff return that resembled at times a winter stroll, part of a stunning tally of 321 return yards by Kansas City in the first half alone.
Fan deserted Washington’s first snowy home game in decades, and those that stayed had plenty to boo.
The Chiefs took the opening kickoff and gained eight, nine, 22 and 13 yards on their first four plays.
The Redskins were a team with nothing to play for, and they looked like it. Shanahan eventually pulled the plug on Griffin, inserting Cousins for the fourth quarter.
Griffin went 12-for-26 for 164 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Asked about his relationship with Snyder, he said: “I’m not gonna talk about that stuff, guys. It’s not even relevant to the football game. It’s not relevant to my life.”
Tamba Hali and Tyson Jackson each had a pair of sacks, and Derrick Johnson set up a touchdown with a 40-yard interception return. Dexter McCluster took a punt 74 yards for a score and set up another touchdown with a 57-yard return.
Shanahan said the Redskins’ special teams were “horrendous.”
“People can blame the coach, say it’s a coach thing,” Redskins special teamer Niles Paul said. “But it’s not a coaching thing, it’s an effort thing.”