|2020 Washington Football Team season|
|Head coach||Ron Rivera|
|General manager||Ron Rivera (de facto)|
|Offensive coordinator||Scott Turner|
|Defensive coordinator||Jack Del Rio|
|Division place||1st NFC East|
|Playoff finish||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (vs. Buccaneers) 23-31|
|AP All-Pros||G Brandon Scherff (1st team)|
The 2020 season was the Washington Football Team's 89th in the National Football League and their first under head coach Ron Rivera. The season also marked the first time since their inaugural season as the Braves in 1932 that the team was not known as the Redskins, as they retired the name and logo during the offseason in the wake of the George Floyd protests, resolving a long-time controversy. They played the season as the Washington Football Team, with a permanent name expected to be announced in 2022.
The team improved upon its 3-13 record in 2019 by going 7-9 and winning the NFC East for the first time since 2015. In doing so they became only the third team in NFL history to win a division with a losing record after the 2010 Seattle Seahawks and 2014 Carolina Panthers, the latter of which Rivera also coached. They also became the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after a 2-7 start. Their season would end with a 23-31 loss to the eventual Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round. The season also marked the return of quarterback Alex Smith, who suffered a life-threatening leg injury late in the 2018 season and missed the entire 2019 season. Smith was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year, while defensive end Chase Young, the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
For the fourth time in five seasons Washington played on Thanksgiving, playing the Dallas Cowboys for the third time in that span. Also notable was their scheduled absence from Monday Night Football, their first time off the regular season schedule since 1999, although the Week 13 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was later moved to a Monday due to COVID-19-related schedule changes affecting the Steelers' previous week but not broadcast on Monday Night Football. Washington ended up winning that game to hand the 11-0 Steelers their first loss of the season.
|1||2||Chase Young||DE||Ohio State||Defensive Rookie of the Year|
|142||Antonio Gandy-Golden||WR||Liberty||compensatory pick|
|5||156||Keith Ismael||C||San Diego State||from San Francisco|
|162||Khaleke Hudson||LB||Michigan||from Seattle|
|229||James Smith-Williams||DL||NC State||from Denver|
|1||Tennessee Titans||FedExField||Canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic|
|2||at Indianapolis Colts||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|3||at Jacksonville Jaguars||TIAA Bank Field|
|1||September 13||Philadelphia Eagles||W 27-17||1-0||FedExField||Recap|
|2||September 20||at Arizona Cardinals||L 15-30||1-1||State Farm Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 27||at Cleveland Browns||L 20-34||1-2||FirstEnergy Stadium||Recap|
|4||October 4||Baltimore Ravens||L 17-31||1-3||FedExField||Recap|
|5||October 11||Los Angeles Rams||L 10-30||1-4||FedExField||Recap|
|6||October 18||at New York Giants||L 19-20||1-5||MetLife Stadium||Recap|
|7||October 25||Dallas Cowboys||W 25-3||2-5||FedExField||Recap|
|9||November 8||New York Giants||L 20-23||2-6||FedExField||Recap|
|10||November 15||at Detroit Lions||L 27-30||2-7||Ford Field||Recap|
|11||November 22||Cincinnati Bengals||W 20-9||3-7||FedExField||Recap|
|12||November 26||at Dallas Cowboys||W 41-16||4-7||AT&T Stadium||Recap|
|13||[A]||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 23-17||5-7||Heinz Field||Recap|
|14||December 13||at San Francisco 49ers||W 23-15||6-7||State Farm Stadium[B]||Recap|
|15||December 20||Seattle Seahawks||L 15-20||6-8||FedExField||Recap|
|16||December 27||Carolina Panthers||L 13-20||6-9||FedExField||Recap|
|17||January 3||at Philadelphia Eagles||W 20-14||7-9||Lincoln Financial Field||Recap|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
Despite the Eagles going up 17-0, Washington shut out the Eagles in the second half by accumulating 8 sacks on defense and scoring 27 unanswered points for a 27-17 victory. This was Washington's first victory over the Eagles since Week 14 of the 2016 season, snapping a six-game losing streak against Philadelphia. The win was also the largest comeback against the Eagles in franchise history. With the win, Washington improved to 1-0 for the first time since 2018 (the first time winning a home opener since 2014). Washington also snapped a ten-game division losing streak dating back to 2018.
Washington was overmatched by Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray, who had two rushing touchdowns, and could not overcome a 20-0 halftime deficit.
Haskins threw for a career-high three interceptions and lost one fumble. With the loss, the all-time regular season record for the franchise fell to 604-605-28, making it the first time since 1975 that the record fell below a .500 winning percentage.
In the second quarter Kyle Allen left the game with what was ruled as an arm injury, leaving Alex Smith to play the remainder of the game. This marked Smith's first NFL game appearance since suffering a severe leg fracture in 2018. Washington's offense was again hampered by quarterback play as they lost 30-10. Their 108 total yards of offense was the fewest by any team in any game all season.
Giants linebacker Tae Crowder recovered a Kyle Allen fumble for the go-ahead score and Washington responded with a touchdown of their own with 36 seconds remaining. Coach Rivera opted to go for the game-winning two point conversion which fell incomplete. As a result, Washington lost their fifth straight game overall and their fourth consecutive against the Giants.
Washington's defense had six sacks and only allowed 142 yards of offense. Heading into the bye, the team improved to 2-5, moved to 2-1 in the NFC East, and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Cowboys.
Starting quarterback Kyle Allen suffered a gruesome injury early in the game and was subsequently replaced by Alex Smith. Washington failed to complete a 20-3 comeback and lost 23-20 when Smith threw two interceptions on the final two possessions. Washington was swept by the Giants for the second consecutive season and the seventh time dating back to the 2008 season.
Alex Smith started his first game since Week 11 of the 2018 season. After falling behind 24-3, Smith and the offense rallied with three straight touchdowns by running backs Antonio Gibson and J. D. McKissic in the second half to tie the game at 24. The Lions responded with a field goal and Washington responded with one of their own to tie the game at 27 with 16 seconds to play. However, on the ensuing Detroit drive, kicker Matt Prater drilled a 59-yard field goal as the clock expired. Washington fell to 2-7 after the crushing loss.
The Bengals were playing a close game against Washington until the third quarter when Bengals rookie quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Bengals were unable to move the ball with backup Ryan Finley and Washington took control of the game. With the win on Homecoming Weekend, the team improved to 3-7, matching their win total from the previous season. This was Washington's first victory over Cincinnati since their 1991 Super Bowl-winning season and their first at home since 1985.
Washington and Dallas played on Thanksgiving afternoon for the 10th time in the rivalry's history. After a close first half, Washington went on a run of 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, including a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown by Montez Sweat, the first of his career. Antonio Gibson became the first rookie with three touchdowns on Thanksgiving since Randy Moss in 1998. With the win, Washington improved to 4-7 and swept Dallas for the first time since 2012 and only the second time since 2005. Washington also won in Dallas on Thanksgiving for the second time ever, the first since 2012, and won for the fourth time on the holiday all-time, their first since 2017.
The game was originally scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed to Monday due to scheduling changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While down 14-0 in the second quarter, Washington got a quick field goal before halftime and opened the second half with a Peyton Barber touchdown run to cut the deficit to 14-10 before the Steelers offense regained possession. Their defense clamped down, only allowing 120 total yards in the second half. Logan Thomas tied the game mid-way through the fourth quarter while Jon Bostic intercepted a pass tipped by Montez Sweat with 1:59 to play. Kicker Dustin Hopkins made two field goals to put the game at 23-17, which the Steelers were not able to recover from. With the win, Washington improved to 5-7, having won three straight games for the first time since Weeks 6-8 of the 2018 season. This was also Washington's first win over Pittsburgh since their 1991 Super Bowl-winning season.
With scores from rookie defenders Chase Young and Kamren Curl, Washington scored two defensive touchdowns in a game for the first time since Week 17 of the 1997 season, when Darryl Pounds and Hall of Famer Darrell Green accomplished this feat. With the win, Washington improved their record to 6-7 and, with the Giants' loss to the Arizona Cardinals earlier that day, took over sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Washington also won four games in a row for the first time since 2016.
With the loss, Washington fell to 6-8 and failed to clinch their first winning season since 2016.
With a Giants loss to the Baltimore Ravens earlier that afternoon, Washington had an opportunity to clinch the division title against Carolina. The team instead put together a performance of errors, including a mishandled punt by Steven Sims that was recovered for a Panthers touchdown, a 10-play scoring drive of all run plays allowed by the defense and an additional three turnovers from Dwayne Haskins, who was eventually benched in the fourth quarter for Taylor Heinicke. With their second consecutive loss, the team dropped to 6-9 and clinched their fourth straight losing season. Haskins was released by the team the following day.
In a matchup that was flexed to NBC Sunday Night Football, Washington defeated the Eagles 20-14 to clinch the NFC East for the first time since the 2015 season. This was Washington's first sweep of Philadelphia since the 2016 season. With a final record of 7-9, Washington became just the third team in league history to win their division with a losing record after the 2010 Seattle Seahawks and 2014 Carolina Panthers, the latter of whom were also coached by Rivera. They also became the first team in NFL history to clinch a playoff berth after starting the season 2-7.
|(4) Washington Football Team||7||9||0||.438||4-2||5-7||335||329||W1|
|New York Giants||6||10||0||.375||4-2||5-7||280||357||W1|
|1||Green Bay Packers||North||13||3||0||.813||5-1||10-2||.428||.387||W6|
|2[a]||New Orleans Saints||South||12||4||0||.750||6-0||10-2||.459||.406||W2|
|4||Washington Football Team||East||7||9||0||.438||4-2||5-7||.459||.388||W1|
|5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||South||11||5||0||.688||4-2||8-4||.488||.392||W4|
|6||Los Angeles Rams||West||10||6||0||.625||3-3||9-3||.494||.484||W1|
|Did not qualify for the postseason|
|10[c]||San Francisco 49ers||West||6||10||0||.375||3-3||4-8||.549||.448||L1|
|11[c][d]||New York Giants||East||6||10||0||.375||4-2||5-7||.502||.427||W1|
Despite a late comeback and a strong performance from quarterback Taylor Heinicke, Washington's season ended at the hands of Tom Brady and the eventual Super Bowl LV champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 31-23 home loss. It was Washington's fifth straight playoff loss dating back to 2005 and their third consecutive home playoff loss dating back to 1999.