1. It was hard to file this yesterday from the road on the long drive back from Vermont, but the extra day has given fresh perspective on all that is happening with this team. The day after the regular season ends, some teams are happy with the cards they're holding and some teams are looking to shuffle the deck. Black Monday has ushered in "Shuffling Season" in Washington on an annual basis for quite some time. Even when we did not make coaching changes (we have done plenty of that on Dan Snyder's watch), the Redskins organization has shuffled the roster, front office, sideline philosophy and moved from one misguided slogan to another. It is rather surreal to watch the turmoil and chaos of Black Monday land in other cities while we continue to play out our hand.
2. As for the game...with over three minutes remaining, Tony Romo had the ball trailing by only a field goal. It was the exact situation I had feared all week leading up to the game. If you were to put that scenario into one of those fancy simulator models, I am betting that it would suggest the Cowboys would score the deciding touchdown more than 50% of the time--perhaps more than 75% of the times you ran that simulation. Given the way Dallas' offense had been performing in the 4th quarter over the previous month and a half, things were kind of setting up perfectly for Romo. Then again, do those simulators take into account how ridiculously consistent Romo has been in losing these kinds of games?
3. As the ball floated toward the sideline on that fateful play, I immediately thought that Romo had made the right move--that he had once again eluded a Haslett blitz with a quick decision that was about to end our season. When my gaze shifted to the flat and I saw Rob Jackson in a ridiculously favorable position, I was already prematurely celebrating. I was in midair, halfway through the least white-looking fist pump of my adult life when #50 came down with the ball. (Sidebar: I have really been working on my premature celebration problem. There is help. The trick is to think about the Spurrier and Zorn years in your head right when you are about to celebrate. Try having an explosive celebration with that image in your head. P.S--One would likely think Vinny Cerrato would be a good thought to have in your arsenal when trying to slow things down. Rookie mistake. All that does is make you angry and depressed and you don't want to be either of those things whilst celebrating.)
4. I am amazed at how obviously hurt Griffin is out there. But that amazement doesn't come close to describing how I feel about what he was able to do on little more than one leg. Quarterbacks like him are supposed to be exposed for the one-dimensional players they allegedly are when they lose their most dangerous facet. Do you hear that sucking sound coming out of every other NFL city this week? That is the sound of a thousand sighs as the NFL world awakens to the reality that is Robert Griffin III. When 100% healthy, he can beat you in the most spectacular ways imaginable. On one leg, he can beat you the way a 15-year veteran with limited mobility can--by protecting the ball, and getting 110% out of his bounded athleticism. It ain't right. It is as mystifying as it is exhilarating, and it is all ours.
5. It feels wrong to get this far into the Sixpack and just be getting to Alfred Morris. His 33-carry, 200-yard performance did the unimaginable--it made Griffin somewhat invisible at times. It is one thing to come out of nowhere and shock the league with a 1,600+ yard season on an up-and-coming team. It is yet an entirely different thing to drop 200 yards on a divisional rival in the last game on the league calendar with the whole world watching and with the highest possible stakes on the line. Adrian Peterson deserves every accolade that will soon be coming his way. He exists on a different level than pretty much every other player in the NFL. Still, the way Alf put the team on his back on Sunday night was rather Peterson-esque. I am not sure if there is higher praise than that right now. And he is all ours.
6. I have the benefit of keeping my rambling going in the Ten Yard Fight later this week, so I can live with failing to get everything in on this National Hangover Day. I wanted to make sure and mention that DeAngelo Hall came through with arguably his most important and best performance as a Redskin. Add him to the growing list of people that you once thought were as good as gone in 2013 but are now likely to be counted on heavily in the coming year. Also, was that ol' Josh LeRibeus out there on the field late in the game, getting some invaluable experience in crunch time? I was trying my best to follow the personnel changes at the bar that I am always able to easily see from my seat at FedEx. Did he get an assist on that roughing the passer penalty? God it would be huge if he was able to contribute meaningfully in 2013...Josh and a solid right tackle addition (preferably through the draft) would be a great way to continue the renovation of our offensive line.
Happy New Year to everyone. I sincerely hope you all had a safe and fun evening last night. For the first time in a long time, the party does not end for Redskins fans at midnight on New Year's Day. Get ready to keep the festivities going through the week...and hopefully longer.
To my daughter Drew, on behalf of a grateful Redskins Nation--thank you for showing so much courage and determination throughout your seven-game undefeated stretch of life. There are maybe a handful of Redskins fans on the planet that can say that they have never EVER seen a Redskins loss. None have conducted themselves with as much class as you, despite your scorched-earth policy when it comes to diapers and outfits lately.No New Year's Day hangover can dampen the spirits of Redskins Nation as we prepare to participate in the playoffs on Sunday.