Perhaps it was apropos in a stadium known for its own national football team in a sport we call soccer that the latest American football game at Wembley Stadium ended in a 27-27 tie between Cincinnati and Washington.
It was the second stalemate within a week in the NFL and the first time the league has had two deadlocks in one season since 1997.
Much like last week’s 6-6 knot between Arizona and Seattle in the desert, this one also featured some egregious placekicking as Dustin Hopkins’ hooked a potential 34-yard game winner late in overtime after Bengals coach Marvin Lewis iced the Florida State product moments before.
After Hopkins buried his first chance a second after the officials waved it off, his second swing was thrown off by a slightly-high snap. The hold was fine but the mechanics of the play were just a tad off, causing Hopkins to pull off the football during his follow through.
Ties are always strange in the NFL because players and coaches really don’t know how to react. It’s not a loss so you can’t prepare for the jump off the ledge and pecking your sister on the cheek isn’t exactly the same as Margot Robbie entering the room in an amorous mood.
In this case, however, “Breakfast with the Bengals” had more of a desolate feeling for the Redskins, who already came into the game looking up at Dallas and Philadelphia in the NFC East and came out of it feeling like it snatched an empty feeling from the jaws of victory.
As for Cincinnati, the 2016 Bengals just look a step slower than usual, especially defensively, and are as undisciplined as ever. The biggest problem, though, might be the impact of losing highly-regarded assistant coaches finally catching up to the organizations.
Jay Gruden was on the sideline opposite Lewis, while Mike Zimmer is killing it in Minnesota and Hue Jackson is trying to turn things around in Cleveland. That’s three really good coaches and Paul Guenther’s Zimmer act is a pale imitation, while Ken Zampese trying to mix in Jackson’s penchant for innovative formations seems forced.
Despite all of that, though, the knee injury to Ben Roethlisberger has favored Pittsburgh trending backward in the AFC North while Joe Flacco is clearly is still struggling to regain his pre-ACL injury form in Baltimore. When you add in the irrelevancy of Jackson’s Browns at this point, what was supposed to be one of the tougher divisions in football is turning out to be anything but.
There are always plenty of positives on the field. Offensively the return of Tyler Eifert is going to pay big dividends in the second half while the thunder-and-lightning running back tandem of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard looks like it’s getting back up to speed. Meanwhile, A.J. Green continues to be one of the two or three best receivers in football and made life miserable for an All-Pro level corner in Josh Norman.
Defensively, things are a little sketchy but you can hang your hat on the fact no one is blocking Geno Atkins just about each and every week.
And for those reasons the sibling the Bengals kissed after five quarters of football across the pond seemed like the far more fetching one.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America