CINCINNATI - It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Washington Redskins are in a mess of trouble.
They lost for the fifth time in six games yesterday, unable to keep up with one of the NFL's lowliest teams. Ryan Fitzpatrick ran for a touchdown and threw for another, leading the Cincinnati Bengals to a 20-13 victory that ended the Redskins' week of grousing.
And, pretty much, their playoff chances, too.
All of which will make the Skins a dangerous team on Sunday when they host the Eagles at 1 p.m. at FedEx Field.
The main intrigue yesterday was how the Redskins (7-7) would react to injuries that decimated their offensive line and grumbling by running back Clinton Portis that rippled through the locker room.
They held a players-only meeting at midweek after Portis derisively called coach Jim Zorn a "genius" for benching him the previous week.
Portis got plenty of work - 25 carries for 77 yards - but also dropped a pass on Washington's final drive. He knew where to put the blame for this one.
"It's pretty tough," Portis said. "We had an opportunity to come in here and keep our season alive, and we let it slip away. We didn't execute. You can't put that on the coaches. It was on us on the field."
The Bengals (2-11-1) put the finishing touch on Washington's week of acrimony and attrition.
An offensive line missing both tackles with injuries couldn't open holes for Portis at the outset and Washington fell behind, 17-0.
"There's so much frustration going on right now, I don't know if I'm fit to even talk," Redskins receiver Santana Moss said.
Fitzpatrick shocked the Redskins' hardscrabble defense by reviving an offense that hadn't reached the end zone in 12 quarters. His 79-yard screen pass to Cedric Benson gave the Bengals their longest play of the season and set up one of the scores. He also scored from the 1-yard line on a bootleg, going in untouched.
"That's a play that's in the playbook that never gets called," said Fitzpatrick, who was 16 of 29 for 209 yards. "You fake the handoff and turn around and hope you don't get smacked in the jaw. I saw a lot of green grass in front of me. That was great to see."
The Redskins had a chance to overcome their horrific start. Jason Campbell got the offense going by throwing the ball instead of handing it to Portis. Campbell threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Moss - the receiver was penalized for shining his shoes in celebration - and set up a field goal that cut it to 17-10 at halftime.
A shirttail tug and a timely swipe prevented the Redskins from pulling even in the third quarter.