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WFT Reaches The “Fighting On Sidelines” Stage Of Their Tailspin

Allen and Payne just before they got into it.
Screenshot: Mark Bullock/Twitter

The Washington Football Team is back in the pain cave. Three weeks after improbably clawing their way back to .500, they’ve lost three games in a row to sew up their fifth consecutive losing season. All three losses have come against division rivals and in increasingly humiliating ways. They’ve been outscored 110-51 during this rotten stretch, and this past Sunday’s 56-14 ass-kicking in Dallas was a remarkable new low, the contours of which were most cleanly captured during the second quarter when Jonathan Allen tried to punch his teammate, Daron Payne.

Dallas had just marched on an eight-play, 74-yard drive—their second of five straight touchdown drives—when the two former Alabama teammates got into it on the sideline. Payne continued to seethe on the sideline after he and Allen were separated, at one point yelling something that seemed awfully close to, “Bitch, I’ll fuck you up.”

Both players downplayed the fight after the game. Allen wouldn’t say what specifically led to the fight, though it was pretty obvious that the cause was the defense’s inability to slow Dak Prescott down. “I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist,” he said. “If you look at how that game went, emotions are high, things are high, things happen.”

Payne also shrugged his shoulders at the incident: “Just a little brotherly disagreement; maybe the wrong place, wrong time, but it happened.” Ron Rivera also didn’t seem too fazed by the scuffle, which, in fairness, seems like the right response. These things tend to happen to teams getting blown out, and while you never want to see your recently extended defensive anchor fighting on the sidelines, the team has bigger issues.

Washington doesn’t really have a functional quarterback—Taylor Heinicke threw a pick on his first pass of the game—which means they have no real margin for error. The team’s also been hammered by COVID-19, at one point needing to put 23 players on the reserve list, and safety Deshazor Everett was the driver in a fatal car accident on Christmas Eve. Everyone is going through a lot of, as Rivera said, “real-life shit,” so it makes some sense that players would get fired up in the midst of getting clowned on by a division rival.