1. Wow. For all the things that yesterday was, nothing stands out more at this moment for me than the way FedEx exploded at the end of that game. Were there a lot of Ravens supporters there? Oh yeah, I'll even go so far as to say 1-in-5...maybe 1-in-4 in some sections were for the road team. Despite the presence of plenty of purple, when things eventually went right for the home team, the outpouring of emotion was insane. I know our postseason chances were on the line. I know the game's circumstances themselves played into the manner in which the celebration unfolded. Still, I have only seen that kind of emotional climax after games against one opponent: Dallas. We beat the Cowboys down the stretch to qualify for the playoffs under Joe Gibbs Part Deux and those were huge days, but it was the blocked field goal and ensuing Sean Taylor return that set up Nick Novak's game-winner over Dallas that came the closest in my memory to what happened in the stands yesterday. Groups of fans in huge group hugs jumping up and down uncontrollably...an 80,000 seat mosh pit of love--I looked to make sure I wasn't supposed to run onto the field. There is now a sort of cumulative effect on our psyche that we are seeing as the Redskins continue to string together wins. It's positivity begetting positivity. I feel like if Boehner and Obama were at the game sitting next to one another, the nation would be waking up this morning to news of a Grand Compromise.
2. There is an undeniably recognizable component of my giddiness today--the contributions of a solid crop of our young players has me thinking rather highly of our front office and coaching staff. After Robert Griffin III, we had Kirk Cousins, Leonard Hankerson, Richard Crawford, Kai Forbath and a sixth-round pick named Alfred Morris factoring heavily in the contest. We still can afford to get younger at key spots, but games like this one give us real hope that our roster is morphing into the kind that might be slowly becoming one that is built to last.
3. The Redskins are a game behind the Giants, Bears and Seahawks. Only the Bears look to be in the kind of funk that could cause them to fall right out of the picture. All I know is that the Atlanta Falcons better wake up and get ready to play ball this week, because if they aren't careful, the Giants will hang 50 on them, too.
4. Can we please all agree not to think--even for one second--that the game against Cleveland on Sunday is one we are just going to go in there and take? No matter how honest we are with ourselves, there is little harder than beating teams like the Giants and Ravens and then trying to stay grounded heading into Cleveland. We have all seen this movie before. I promise you that nobody is telling the Browns that they are supposed to lay down for us this week. The biggest worry I have is that we might be fooled into considering "resting" Griffin against Cleveland. That is hubris in its most unadulterated form y'all. We just need to make smart decisions about our players.
5. When I saw the RG3 hit on the stadium big-screen (the one time they showed it), I was sure his season was done. It was exactly the kind of violent play that we all fear will eventually knock our quarterback out of the league. I have been told by more than a few folks who know more than I do about this stuff that Griffin is playing a style of football that is all but certain to limit the length of his career. That may be true...maybe. This will be talked about up to and until something happens to significantly change the course of events, but for my part, I have to say that I wouldn't have it any other way. One hopes this team can put a somewhat healthy young RG3 behind an upgraded offensive line in 2013, with perhaps a few new toys on defense to help the cause. Griffin's career longevity can be aided significantly by continuing to bring in players through the draft that can play right away. Even without a first round pick next year, Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have to probably net three starters in the draft. This is not as hard as you think if you look at some of the possible positions they can target in rounds two through four. In the meantime, this game is about winning and the Washington Redskins don't win unless RG3 does his thing.
6. Is anybody else thinking we should consider resting Griffin this week against Cleveland? KIDDING...I think. Damn...Cousins just looked so great. If Griffin can't go on Sunday--the only reason to consider not playing him--Shanahan and Allen will have to employ their poker faces. You just KNOW they are dying for a chance to get Cousins on the field...just for a second...just to see how it feels. Of course they don't want Griffin hurt. I am not even suggesting they will race to trade Captain Kirk away if he looks like he can start in this league, but if he plays in a way that makes our front office look smart, it paves the way for additional opportunities on a variety of fronts. While there may be a push to get a high draft pick for a player like Cousins, let's try and all remember what JUST happened: a quality quarterback came off the bench in the middle of a game-tying drive in the last minute of the game. Not for nothing, when your starting quarterback plays the kind of game that invites the prospect of injury, there may not be a more important position on our team than backup quarterback. Right now, we have a hell of a backup quarterback...I am not in any hurry to change that up.