Caveat: Against the Houston Texans.
Know what? Eff it. A win is a win and I'm happy to be on the better side of a 31-15 vanquishment. Although the Texans are horrible, and the worst defensive team in the league, we did manage a whopping 495 yards offensively which is more than division rival Philadelphia could muster.
For all my animadversion towards Mark Brunell, he did exactly what I said he couldn't; manage a game to a win. While I recognize that most of his passes were short enough that I could've completed them, and while I'm still flustered about our uncreative offense that refuses to look down the field for options, I was happy to see Brunell throw the ball accurately even at such a short range with so much consistency.
There is no doubt about it: having Clinton Portis in the game makes a difference. Ladell Betts had a great game worthy of recognition (and also led the team in yards and YPC) but it was CP's first half play that put this game out of reach for the Texans. I was also impressed with our RBs coming out of the backfield and catching the ball, as Sellers, Betts, and CP combined for 8 catches for 114 yards.
Despite all that, the Redskins did everything possible to lose this game. 24 penalties for a disgusting 126 yards is unacceptable. Games will not be won by any margin (and certainly not 31-15) if we give kick ourselves like that.
This win does not mean that Washington is "back" or that the offense is suddenly capable of rolling over any and all opponents. It doesn't mean that Mark Brunell's future preformances are somehow off limits for criticism (though he did earn a week of respite from me, as I'll happily stuff my foot in mouth). It doesn't mean the Redskins offensive playcalling is flawless or that the Al Saunders era has begun.
But it does mean the Washington Redskins went out on the road and beat the snot out of an NFL football team. It means the Washington Redskins did exactly what any winning, good, or post season bound team in the league could reasonably be expected to do against a weaker opponent. It does mean that a rookie 6th round draft pick playing relief for DT Joe Salave'a made a heads up play to recover a fumble. It means that a thus-far quiet David Patten has a huge catch on a 3rd and 9 to keep the chains moving. It means that a returning-from-injury Clinton Portis played fearlessly and made avoiding Houston Texans' defenders look effortless (though that might actually be the case). It means Joe Gibbs beat an AFC opponent for the first time in over a decade. Most of all it made me smile to see the Redskins actually win a football game for the first time since January 7th.
It also means that I can look forward this week to a tough matchup at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars with the same naive hope that I had going into the regular season. Afterall, you can't go 14-2 until you go 1-2. Please let me know what your thoughts of the game were below.
Cheers to a win.