A year after looking like Washington's rebuild was on the fast track, the team is on the outside of the playoffs looking in for a fifth time in six seasons.
At 7-10 after a four-game skid followed a four-game winning streak, coach Ron Rivera's group is closer to where he thought it would be after two seasons on the job. Winning the weak NFC East in 2020 at 7-9 pushed Washington's bar too high too fast, delivered one of the NFL's most difficult schedules and brought the perception of where the team is heading back down to earth.
"I think we outdid the expectations our first year," Rivera said. "Believe me, I didn't come here thinking that it's gonna be an easy turnaround, those first two years are gonna be great - no."