1. There's something about winning that makes everything seem...better than it is. This phenomenon is not exclusive only to things in the present and future. It also affects things in the past. After the Redskins dispatched the Chargers in overtime yesterday, it was more than just the amazing fall weather that seemed so much more amazing. All of a sudden, the 2013 season was still alive. More than that, all of a sudden, our losses in the first month of the season seemed not as bad as before. I heard someone suggest that we "all but beat Denver." As Chris Rock would say: "Slow down." Those losses early in the season are actually that much more disappointing as we win going forward.
2. I am perfectly willing to allow that the Detroit game got away from us. We could be--and perhaps should be--4-4. As much as I would like to say that we could have or should have won the Philadelphia game, the fact is that they blew us out of the water from the beginning. Even the most optimistic of us likely had Green Bay and Denver down as losses. We have to own our bad start...again. We have to own our inability to get out of the gates in the first half of the season...again. The NFL scheduling gods gave us a rookie head coach in week 1, a beatable Detroit team in week 3 and the Oakland Raiders in week 4, prior to our week 5 bye. A team defending its NFC East divisional title needs to come an awful lot closer to 3-1 against those teams than we actually did. Winning yesterday gives us a lot of hope, but...
3. As we have said here before, Robert Griffin III basically played his preseason reps in the regular season. Since losing the first two games, the Washington Redskins are 3-3, a .500 team that needs to win at a faster pace down the stretch if it has any realistic hopes of catching Dallas and Philadelphia. There is a lot of good news for these hopes. Our offense is starting to resemble the kind of unit that can impose its will on opponents. Any time you march down the field in overtime like we did and score the game-ending touchdown, you can beat your chest about your offense. On defense, more good news: we continue to make the kinds of big plays that typically lead to wins. David Amerson showed up on the exact day that we suggested he would (he has already played well, but our prediction of Amerson becoming a force in November and beyond feels pretty good right now). Our kick coverage still causes me to have small heart attacks each time we put the ball in the air, and with Cordarrelle Patterson on tap this Thursday, I am already feeling worried. The best news of all is that despite our record, we are still in shooting distance of the top of the NFC East.
4. The play-calling this week was better in my humble opinion--an opinion that I am sure gets rushed to the top of the Kyle Shanahan's desk each Monday. I was convinced that we were going to need to score 40 or more points to win. The Time of Possession stats reveal why that was not necessary. When you hold a 40-25 minute advantage in that department, you find that you can keep your opponent's offense from running up the score on you. A healthy dose of Alfred Morris and of course Darrel Young put the Chargers defense on its heels and kept them there. The defensive play-calling also deserves some love I suppose. I am not the biggest Jim Haslett believer in the world, but he stuck to his guns late in the game and sent guys after Rivers on the deciding drives that they scored on. I suppose that can cut both ways, but I was secretly happy to not see a straight-up prevent defense.
5. Even though we won, there is something that happened at FedEx yesterday that I simply can NOT get past today. I have a few different groups that I sit with, and yesterday I happened to be in section 224 which is underneath the club level. They have screens hung down from the rafters showing what is on the big screen as well as screens that seem to be showing the local network broadcast. During the second quarter however, just about every fourth screen was playing the third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean epic. It was closed captioned so we could still follow along. It stayed this way for what seemed like an eternity. Let me tell you why it seemed like an eternity. In a section where fans have obstructed views because of huge concrete supports and limited viewing angles, the screens become integral to the viewing experience. You can imagine my consternation when I had to glance up at the screen in order to follow a play and instead of the game, I was looking at Captain Jack Sparrow. The Chargers scored their first touchdown--the defensive score--when this was going on (I am not sure if I am blaming this on the TV snafu or not...though it feels like I am). In the time it took them to get it fixed, there was a real sense in this section that these people were like those members on board the Titanic that were relegated to the nether regions of the boat.
6. The tailgating was outstanding yesterday. The wind was kept in check by a variety of rigged up walls and devices people had clearly thought out before the game. I did not see any tents or canopies being blown away, which is a sign in my mind of a real professional group of tailgaters. We were joined by CJ Hutch and his boy Dave at our tailgate and CJ reminded me that Kevin and I are coming up on five years at the helm of Hogs Haven. So much of what we have done at Hogs Haven is rooted in that parking lot. Under that Regal Beagle banner, we have established friendships that have survived bad weather, worse football and the kinds of shenanigans that only seem possible in our organization. To all of those people yesterday that spent so much time and energy putting out the vibe ahead of this game, that overtime win was for you.