1. If you leave a team like the Washington Redskins around in the 4th quarter, they will beat you. We have played a million teams like ours over the last decade. We have kept those teams in games for years with bad execution, poorly timed turnovers and questionable decision-making on the field and on the sidelines. The current version of the Redskins might not beat many teams by 20 or 30 points, but given the chance to take a shot to win it at the end, they are proving that they can rise to the occasion. Despite the first half turnovers, Rex Grossman led the offense down the field in the 4th quarter to take the lead. Led by Ryan Kerrigan (yes, led by Ryan Kerrigan), the defense stepped up and secured the win yesterday.
2. We did not win this in spite of Rex Grossman, as I have heard some suggest. He did make a couple of mistakes early, and to be fair, he probably had at least one other bad throw that should have been picked off. But Rex played big during some big moments, chief among them being the 4th down touchdown pass to Santana Moss late in the game. Granted, the missed opportunities early in this game smacked of Redskins games we all remember the outcomes from--"too little, too late" were the words that everyone was preparing to say together at the end, as we have so many times before.
3. I spent a lot of time focusing on #91 yesterday when the defense was on the field. I was in perfect position most of the game to see him work. As many of you who joined me in this endeavor know...he is unbelievably impressive. But it was right before the defense took the field to try and stop the Cardinals at the bitter end that I saw what made me the the most excited. Ryan Kerrigan was making his way from the deep sideline to the field and he was FIRED UP. At least to my own pair of eyes, it appeared he was leading his unit. Let's not get too carried away too quickly, but it is starting to appear that we may have hit the jackpot with this first rounder.
4. Games where the opposing team does not fill the stands are always so much more enjoyable. I made the comment to Kevin that the difference between a full FedEx and a three-quarters full FedEx is how many fans of the other team show up. The place was not nearly as filled as it was last week. There was plenty of room for Cardinals fans if they had wanted to make the trip. Looking at the schedule, I think we have two games left on tap where we should enjoy a similar situation: November 6 against San Francisco and December 24 against Minnesota. Both of those teams have diehard fans that show up to FedEx, but neither team packs FedEx the way Philly, New York or Pittsburgh would.
5. I will talk about it more tomorrow, but if you want a nice, short, easy, painfree "Go or No Go" on the playoffs today, then...yes, we are making the playoffs.
6. We have not been afraid to feature unproven offensive philosophies and/or unproven offensive schemes in this town under Dan Snyder. Steve Spurrier is or should be under investigation for the experiments he conducted here that almost cost Patrick Ramsey his life. Jim Zorn still believes that Hunter Smith is a player that needs the ball in his hands at least a dozen times a game in order to "really get going." Joe Gibbs' style was proven, but his personnel was not, resulting in a bit of a bipolar offense. After only two weeks, you could argue that Kyle Shanahan's offense (Mike and Kyle's offense) is ready for primetime. In fact, the last two weeks have not only been a referendum of sorts on Rex Grossman (we'll withhold judgement until the bye), but also on Kyle Shanahan. Do you recall a time when people openly suggested he had this job because of his last name and his potential to be controlled by his father, Darth Shanahan? I do. One thing I am seeing with my own eyes right now: this offense works. It will get tested by better teams with better defenses in the coming weeks, and the playcalling might need some tightening up, but so far I have to say that I am impressed by what I have seen.
**Popular phrase heard yesterday: "We would have lost this game last year." Everyone said it, including yours truly. Today's question...which ONE THING--on the field--stands out to you as the biggest difference/upgrade from last season?