1. I'm on the west coast this week, so that is why my timing is all screwed up, but I did have an interesting vantage point for much of yesterday's game: my seat on a Southwest flight to Phoenix. This was my second time watching the Redskins from 30,000 feet, and I am 0-2. Apparently the Redskins and my pilots have completely different definitions of "cruising altitude." I saw the end of the Redskins game from the friendly confines of University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals were hosting the San Francisco 49ers.
2. I'll say it...their stadium is amazing, and it was a far more enjoyable environment than FedEx is--at times. The air conditioned aspect of it really appealed to me, and for a place that boasted 63,000 people in attendance (the seats were not full), it was pretty damn loud. I suppose part of that is due to the roof being closed, keeping all the sound in. I bring this up because as I was sitting in my seat, I couldn't help but feel like this will soon be our experience. I do worry about Dan Snyder trying too hard to compete with Jerry Jones--part of the charm of the Arizona stadium is that it doesn't feel that big. Watch me refrain from making any Kevin Ewoldt jokes here. It's called "class." It's my new thing.
3. There were two points when a voice inside my head told me that the Redskins were not going to pull it off yesterday, though I kept the faith anyway. The first was the kickoff return we gave up for a touchdown. On the heels of one of the sexiest drives I have seen in some time--not sure exactly why I used the word sexy, but it...just...was--we give up the return and I almost had to be restrained by flight attendants. There should really be a warning about watching Redskins games on planes. I compare it to watching a movie about plane crashes while flying in a plane. There's something about watching my team blow YET ANOTHER special teams play that makes me want to take a walk on the wing. I have never been so thankful to have a screaming one-year old sitting two rows behind me. That little girl was crying at the top of her lungs for both of us.
4. The second thing that made me think we just might not get it done was at the end of the first half. There was a hiccup with the television service that caused me to have to watch that DISH TV "Hopper" commercial four or five times in a row. Yes it was brutal. Yes it was better than watching that godforsaken kick return. Who does that? Who lets the other team's backup running back do that? That one play almost put me on the lifetime "No-Fly" list...but I digress. I lost service with the Redskins leading 20-14. There was 13 seconds left in the half I think. I thought, "No worries...I'll miss having to see that stupid kick return in the highlights portion of the halftime show. I'll miss having to hear some studio guy talk about how dangerous the Eagles' roster is and how they can strike as fast on their special teams as they can on offense. Holy Crap....did that actually happen? Did we really just let a team take one 100+ yards on us that doesn't need any help at all?" I didn't realize it, but at this point I was holding the vomit bag, almost willing myself to fill it.
5. Ahhh yes...the second thing. We gave up a touchdown at the end of a half. Sure the Eagles are more than capable of scoring at any time from any point on the field, but you can't give up touchdowns at the end of a half. You must force the field goal. I was expecting to see--at worst--a 20-17 score to open the second half. When I saw that the Eagles had scored with nine seconds to go in the half, I just had a sinking feeling. I have seen us give up touchdowns at the end of the first half before...it almost never ends well.
6. Is it possible to do an entire Sixpack without talking about Captain Kirk and Robert Griffin III? Apparently not, but I have to tell you that I saw plenty of the New York Giants and Houston Texans game and another 400-yard game is not out of the question for Cousins against that Giants defense. We'll squeeze plenty of analysis and predictions out of three days this week, but I absolutely see a 2-2 team after four games when I see what the Redskins are doing right now. Here's what it comes down to for me: there is ZERO room to be the kind of team that "means well" and "tries hard" and guts its way to 6-10 or 7-9. We are good enough to be the kind of team that stuns the league with a 10-6 kind of season (okay, not with those special teams gaffes and penalties). There is no moral victory in a 400+ yard performance from your backup quarterback. None. We lost a road game in the division. There are worse things that can happen to you in a season, and the way we lost does provide me with some hope, but we are officially walking the tightrope between irrelevance and breakthrough season. That does make this week's game a must-win game (I know, I know...they are all must-win). The best way to rebound from losing a division game on the road is to win one at home the following week. It says here that is exactly what we are going to do. And for God's sake...do NOT watch this Thursday's game from a plane. It might just kill you.