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The Washington Redskins are 2-2, completing a .500 first quarter behind the play of a shockingly effective offense.
1. Just after Billy Cundiff sent the game-winning kick through the uprights last night and I made enough noise to wake the dead, I immediately experienced an unexplainable moment of what I can only describe as...dread. For that moment, all I could think about was Matt Ryan and the Atlanta passing attack. Thankfully, a friend gave me the slap in the face (via a text message) that I needed to appreciate what I had just invested my Sunday afternoon in (thanks CJ). I knew I was happy to get a win and I knew I was ecstatic to see our starting quarterback lead our team on a game-winning drive with less than two minutes left, but something weird happened: when Tampa Bay made that kick to go up by one, something inside me just assumed the game was over. It just looked like so many other games I have watched. Did Robert Griffin's work look easy to the rest of you on that last drive? Maybe the answer is as easy as this game was going to come down to whichever secondary was on the field last. Either way, HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!
2. Hey, we only gave up 22 points! It would appear that our offense can cover that. Let's pour credit all over where it is due: our offense can score points and move the ball. Kyle and Mike Shanahan's offense looks like it has arrived, enhanced and specialized by the transcendent athleticism of its trigger man. Griffin never looks rattled, and so far he has gotten up off the mat after every bone-rattling hit he has absorbed. Our offensive line is doing what it is being asked to do and it is being aided by the precision of the various styles being employed by the offense--defenses are having to play a bit more honestly against us than they have in the past. The best part is that we have a LOT of growth and improvement that is out there for us to go and get. No...we aren't there yet.
3. Don't look now but Alfred Morris is ROLLING. Tampa Bay might be inept at a number of things, but so far this season, stopping the run has not been one of those things. It seemed like every yard he gained was after contact. Watching him work on Sundays has been an absolute joy. It's hard to forget that he came out of the sixth round because everyone constantly reminds us, but it is important to remember that we hit on that pick given our lack of top picks the next two seasons.
4. This team is 2-2, and while the second half of our schedule has some real doozies on it, there is no reason to adopt hopelessness. Winning is its very own cure-all. A win can worm its way inside a mediocre team's brain and change the circuitry just enough to reset the table. It remains to be seen if that can be the case with this team...but there is reason to hope.
5. It is so hard to boil my Monday down to a mere six thoughts, but I have to share this one negative one with you: our kicker situation continues to contribute to my early demise. Billy Cundiff is a veteran kicker and veteran coaches like veteran kickers. He is not awful, but he is not blowing up anyone skirts. Look around the league...the kicker position has gotten a lot deeper and there seems to be a real influx of young talent. We tried to force our own influx with Gano and now we are in the midst of a rebound relationship with Mr. Right Now: Cundiff. I suppose Mr. Right Now is better than Mr. Wide Right Now, but this whole thing just continues to drive me insane.
6. Forgive me for just a moment as I take a little stock after the first quarter of the season is closed out. We KNOW how much the NFL landscape can change throughout the season. If our offense stays on track and our defense can figure out who they are, we could very well be in position to capitalize on a bouncing ball in December. What's more is that you can already see how a few very well-placed additions in the offseason could send our potential into orbit. (Today, I am in an "it-doesn't-matter-that-we-don't-have-a-first-round-draft-pick-or-any-salary-cap-space" mood.)