LANDOVER, Md. — Andy Reid referenced Nelson Mandela, Sporting Kansas City and mangled a metaphor about the Chiefs’ recent losing streak.
Mike Shanahan looked like a beaten man, one who might be counting down his final days with the Washington Redskins.
That was no thin line separating winning and losing when the Chiefs beat the Redskins 45-10 Sunday. It was a chasm.
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 Robert Griffin III five times and Kirk Cousins once, and returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in Sunday’s 45-10 rout.
All of which prompted Reid to go off-topic, even in his usual monotone.
“Sporting KC, I’m telling you it’s hard to be a champion right? And they did it. I’m proud of those guys,” said Reid, referring to the team back home that won the MLS Cup on Saturday. “I didn’t mention Nelson Mandela’s death the other day, but what a tribute to mankind he is.”
OK, but what about getting back on track after two losses to the Denver Broncos sandwiched around a defeat to the San Diego Chargers?
“It’s tough to lose three games in the National Football League, three consecutive games. It seems like a year, those are dog years as you would say — each week that you have a loss in the NFL,” Reid said. “For the guys to come back and rebound after that, I was proud of that.”
Across the way, the Redskins were their usual drama machine. They lost their fifth straight, and the stadium was virtually empty in the second half. It’s already far from certain as to whether Shanahan will return for a fifth season, and now there’s a report that he was close to quitting last year because of his relationships with owner Dan Snyder and Griffin.
“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 did concede that Sunday’s loss — the Redskins’ fifth by double digits this season — was his fault.
“I didn’t have the players ready to play,” Shanahan 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.
Alex Smith completed 14 of 20 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Jamaal Charles ran 19 times for 151 yards and a score, and his 35-yard, right-then-left scamper was a highlight of the second half.
“You gotta go out there and play no matter what kind of conditions outside,” Charles said. “Sleet, snow — you gotta go.”
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 TD with a 57-yard return.
Fans mostly 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 8, 9, 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 final quarter.
“It’s a terrible game to be a part of,” Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
NOTES: The runbacks by Demps and McCluster gave the Chiefs 10 return touchdowns this season. … Griffin went 12 for 26 for 164 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Alfred Morris ran for 31 yards on 12 carries, putting him over 1,000 yards for the season. … The Chiefs went 4-0 this season vs. the NFC East, Reid’s old division from his years with the Philadelphia Eagles. … Redskins RB Evan Royster was carted off the field in the first half with a severely sprained left ankle. … Chiefs CB Marcus Cooper left with a bruised back.