Skins head to London vs. Bengals after mistake-filled loss
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Matt Jones' problems holding onto the football are hardly the only mistake the Washington Redskins will want to correct before they play again.
Still, Jones' fumbling woes are going to get a lot of attention until Washington (4-3) lines up against the Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) in London next Sunday.
''You can't put the ball on the ground as a running back. That's just rule No. 1. So that's something we have to address and look at as a staff,'' Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Monday. ''He understands the magnitude of fumbling the football. If he doesn't, he does now. I mean, he should know by now.''
During Sunday's 20-17 loss at the Detroit Lions, ending Washington's four-game winning streak, Jones lost a fumble into the end zone in the first quarter. The running back and quarterback Kirk Cousins had two other exchanges that didn't work - Washington recovered one, Detroit the other.
Each of the two turnovers led to points for the Lions.
''We just shot ourselves in the foot,'' Gruden said.
He made it sound as if Jones - a second-year player who leads the Redskins with 99 carries and 460 yards rushing - could lose some of his touches to Chris Thompson and rookie Robert Kelley.
Thompson, often used as a third-down back, had 12 runs for 73 yards on Sunday, along with seven catches for 40 yards. Kelley ran four times for 15 yards and caught a 1-yard TD pass. Jones only had 10 carries for 27 yards.
Gruden called Thompson's number of plays ''a great number for him.''
The coach also made clear: ''We're not going to give up on Matt. We've just got to make sure that he protects the dang football.''
To be sure, the Redskins have other issues to clean up.
Dustin Hopkins missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt that hit the top of the left crossbar.
The offensive line was ineffective at times.
The defense was basically nonexistent in the final minute, when Matthew Stafford drove Detroit 75 yards in 49 seconds for the go-ahead score, an 18-yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds left.
''Just kind of let that one slip away,'' Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said.
Gruden acknowledged that perhaps the Redskins should have tried to apply more pressure on Stafford on the outcome-altering possession, including rushing more than three on the touchdown play.
That, and other questions, will occupy him for the coming week.
''Got to get this taste out of our mouth,'' Gruden said.
NOTES: An MRI showed LT Trent Williams' left knee is ''structurally OK,'' Gruden said. ... TE Jordan Reed was cleared to return to practice Wednesday. He missed the team's past two games. ... In other injury news: CB Josh Norman is in the concussion protocol, RG Brandon Scherff sprained his shoulder, CB Bashaud Breeland sprained his left ankle. ... The Redskins will leave for London on Thursday, landing Friday morning.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich