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A Moment of Reflection and a Few Thoughts on Context

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The Redskins won and everybody's happy, but let's not get carried away (too late).

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Before I begin, I'd like to acknowledge how much this is going to piss off Washington Redskins fans. It's going to be a lot.

I know fans will call me a wet blanket, Debbie Downer or a troll for saying this, but I'm saying it anyway: There's really not much reason to get that excited about that win.

I understand why Redskins fans are excited, aside from Redskins fans always being incredibly excited or incredibly depressed about the team: It was a big comeback, the Redskins thrived in the face of adversity, Jay Gruden opened up the playbook (a bit), the season is alive (sort of), the team probably wouldn't have been resilient enough to do this a year ago, ZOMG KIRK COUSINS, etc.

I get it.

But let's put this into perspective.

  • You're on your home field in what your head coach called a "code red" game.
  • You're down by 24, in the second quarter, to a very bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that got its only two wins of the season, by one touchdown each, against a bad New Orleans Saints team and a terrible Jacksonville Jaguars team. In fact, of the Bucs' six opponents this season, only the Carolina Panthers are at even .500.
  • The Bucs' best receiver (Mike Evans) was sick during the game and still put up eight catches for 164 yards and a touchdown. Their second best receiver (Vincent Jackson) caught one ball for 13 yards before hurting his knee. Their third best receiver (Louis Murphy, apparently) caught one ball before tearing his ACL.
  • Jameis Winston had the best game of his short career against your defense, despite the aforementioned receiver woes and easy schedule.
  • Doug Martin had his best game of the season and averaged more than seven yards per carry on his way to 136 rushing yards (the Redskins, on the same number of carries, managed just 50 yards).
  • A guy named Donteea Dye had never caught a ball in his NFL career before Sunday. He scored against the Redskins.
  • The Bucs were penalized 16 times for 142 yards, most of which came on just ridiculous mental errors.
  • One of those penalties came when Mike Evans shoved Trenton Robinson off him in the endzone, drawing an offensive pass interference that negated a touchdown and eventually led to a field goal, instead. Evans had no reason to shove Robinson (and frankly, it could have easily not been called), as Evans has an eight-inch height advantage and Robinson wasn't even looking at the ball. It was a touchdown either way, Evans just made a mistake and screwed himself out of a score.
  • Lovie Smith forgot timeouts are important.
  • Kirk Cousins threw a pass on that final Redskins drive, immediately before the game-winning touchdown, that even the announcers had to speculate on who it was to. It was basically right between Jamison Crowder and Andre Roberts. You know what else was directly between Jamison Crowder and Andre Roberts? A Bucs safety named Chris Conte, who had the ball — and what would've been a game-sealing interception by Cousins — hit his hands and flutter harmlessly to the ground.

No, Kirk Cousins, I don't especially like that.

Like I said, I understand why Redskins fans are excited about the win, and I don't want to be that guy. But getting this excited about a win that should have been much, much easier is just setting yourself up for disappointment. And with two weeks before the next game — a virtually-guaranteed beatdown at the hands of the New England Patriots — Washington will inevitably continue working itself into a prolonged frenzy, thinking the Redskins are way better than they actually are.

"A win is a win," I keep hearing. Well, not really. A come-from-behind, one-point win over a team that might have the top overall pick in the draft for the second year in a row is not equivalent to a 30-point blowout of the undefeated New England Patriots. Nowhere except the standings are those two equivalent (insert cries of "but the standings are all that matter!" to which I respond, "check the standings in two weeks when the Redskins are back at the bottom of the division because they aren't very good!").

If you're a good team and you just need one win to clinch a playoff berth, that's fine. Take it how you can get it, a win is a win. But when you need a win to keep your season alive, in October, on your home field against a truly terrible team with a rookie quarterback and an inept head coach, you want something a little more convincing than that.

If, and likely when, the Redskins lose by 20+ to the Patriots, we'll go right back to where we were a few days ago. "Cousins throws too many interceptions, Gruden abandons the run too quickly, the season is over, etc." The first two are definitely true, and the third is probably true. But take the Redskins for what they are: a middling team that is much improved from last season but still in need of improvement along the offensive line, defense and coaching staff, not to mention under center.

Accept that the Redskins are likely going to win five games this season, enjoy the wins when they come, suffer the losses when they come, criticize whomever you feel you need to, but just have patience. Stop basing your entire judgment for the Redskins, now and forever, on whatever happened in the most recent game.

And please, use some context. If the Redskins win because they played well, that's terrific. But, at the risk of being ridiculed by Russell Westbrook, the Bucs lost that game way more than the Redskins won it.