Happy Victory Monday, y'all!
1. To friend of the site D.B. Gavin (@Bullet_Nation)...this one is for you. What a day for D.C. sports. I know that many of you root for other teams in the other major leagues, but I am a D.C. guy, and I am joined here by many folks who experienced a great day for our sports town yesterday. I had tickets to both the Nats game and the Redskins game and had quite the choice to make. I got to Baltimore around 9:45 AM, and was greeted by a parking full of purple, burgundy and gold. As you all know, I started saying in August that this Ravens game was the turning point of our season--for better or for worse. At 2-2, the Redskins season had a nightmarish beginning, but it has quickly turned into a dream scenario. The two losses still hurt, and could very will still cause us a few headaches in December (like that loss to Dallas), but three wins in a row has this Washington club climbing out of the cellar in a dominant fashion. Getting to 3-2 seemed next to impossible three weeks ago, given the performance of key facets of our team. It is hard to believe that our run defense has been on the winning end of things three weeks in a row. It is hard to believe that our offense has become somewhat uninspired yet still has managed to hold it together for key wins. Our inability to get first downs at the end of the game yesterday was troubling, but it was a tight game and it felt like it had to come down to the last play.
2. I was told immediately yesterday by another friend of the site, Mackenzie Rivers, that Kirk Cousins is five-for-five in his last five road games. Consequently, so are the Redskins. (Maybe we needed to play that Green Bay game in Milwaukee last January?) How is this possible? Could it be that our opponents have failed to adequately attack our weaknesses, or is it that we have overcome our own weakest spots when the chips were stacked the highest? Well...
3. From my seat inside M&T Bank Stadium yesterday, I heard a rather uniform cry from all angles and directions: "Trestman Sucks!!" It felt like the old days at FedEx, when those chants used the word "Haslett," or "Spurrier," or "Cerrato." Ravens fans were genuinely upset. Fast forward to now...and Marc Trestman has been fired. Wow...this is when I openly wonder just how good the Redskins actually are. I mean, I like our chances in games, but when teams fire coaches because they lost to you...that is not necessarily a ringing endorsement. I mean, you don't get fired for being outcoached by Bill Belichick (in one game). Hahaha...not that we have anyone like that roaming our sidelines. Trestman was likely on the outs already, but you can't help but take it a little personally when someone loses their job because they couldn't stop you.
4. With less than a minute left in the game, the referees threw their arms in the air to call a touchdown for the Baltimore Ravens. I was in the opposite corner of the stadium and couldn't see whether or not the receiver, Breshad Perriman, got his feet down. I believe there would have been 30 seconds left for the Redskins to try and get Dustin Hopkins in position for a game-winning field goal attempt. Being in someone else's stadium for something like that felt odd. I have seen so many of those last-second plays against us in FedEx. When they overturned it, that was when I thought the game was ours. I felt like we--as a fanbase--hit that low when we thought it was a touchdown, but that everything was going to be okay after that. You know what else was weird: watching a stadium empty out its home fans while a bunch of road fans stayed to celebrate the win. I have seen that plenty too...what a feeling it was to be on the other side of that!
5. Even though I place little stock in such things in terms of a going forward basis, looking at what happens to your playoff chances after a win like this makes things feel a whole lot better. At 2-2, teams have historically had a 36% chance of making the playoffs. With a win yesterday, the Redskins stand a 50% chance of making the playoffs (again, based on historical data). Listen, this chart is NOT about making us think the Redskins are all of a sudden a threat to win the Super Bowl. Instead, it just provides a bit of support for the fact that this team is in a far better position today than we were sitting in two weeks ago. It is not about generating false confidence, but rather a means of identifying when a team is on the right side of the odds. From an 0-2, 12% odds of getting to the dance to a 3-2, 50% odds situation, I think we can all agree that the Redskins are looking pretty good early in the season. Let's remember that the first months of plenty of seasons in the not-too-distant past were dominated by lopsided losing records. Should the Redskins do what they have excelled at when they have been good enough to make the playoffs--get hot down the stretch--they will potentially be doing it without actually having to win every single game. Of course, winning them all works too.
6. Don't look now, but the NFC East is all of a sudden a whole lot more competitive. Forget the chart above. Forget about a three-game winning streak. Anything can happen when the Eagles come to town, and even though a loss wouldn't be the end of the world, it would present a significant hurdle we would have to clear in the coming weeks. Since we launched our #MakeThanksgivingMatter campaign, we have been on quite the roll, and an NFC East win at home would pretty much send this fanbase into the kind of frenzy we have not seen in a long time. Imagine...a 4-2 team with two divisional wins and on the kind of roll we haven't seen this time of year in a LONG time. Have a great Victory Monday and GO NATS!!!