- I just love wishing you all a Happy Victory Monday! It was quite the day at FedEx Field, and I want to jump into things by saluting the courageous folks who battled Mother Nature in the parking lot. Let me tell you all something about the lot yesterday...she was angry. Gusts of wind that registered over 30 mph on the anemometer (what, your tailgate doesn’t have a wind speed measuring device?) pummeled the good men and women at F31, but the shanty town tarp city held up for the duration of the tailgate. As many of you know, this was our annual beirut tournament (I know SkinsNJ...beer pong) and there was no way we were postponing it due to weather. To Kevin and Richie, 2016 Mike Wiggins Invitational champions, I salute your effort (my team lost in the semifinals). As I said on The Audible last week, the effort we put into this event carries onto the field every single year, so...we can’t take all the credit, but...you know. Hahaha...great job by everyone in the parking lot—it was a festive scene fit for the kind of game we were all about to witness.
- As for the actual game...wow. We’re going to talk about Kirk Cousins, but before we do, I would like to throw some shine on Josh Norman for that fumble punch at the end. Do I think that the Packers were going to march back into the game at that point (the Packers were down 35-24 I believe)? I can honestly say I felt confident, but I have seen way too much at that stadium over the years to ever think it’s over when a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers has the ball. Yards seem to get eaten up in chunks in those scenarios, and we—the burgundy and gold faithful—pray for a defensive player to make the kind of play that Norman made. His punch was Charles Tillmanesque. When you sign a player like Josh Norman in the offseason to the kind of contract we gave him, you almost expect him to be the difference between winning and losing on some days. There were a lot of plays made in that game, but when you think of the manner in which you close out victories, that punch paved the way for the blowout result. That one play changed the game from one in which a miracle comeback was possible to one in which Victory Formation was inevitable. It’s the “stepping on the throat of your opponent” kind of play that we all want to see more of, and our best defensive player on the field made it.
- If you were looking at the stat sheet through three quarters, you probably thought to yourself, “Hmmmm...tough night for ol’ R. Kelley.” I think I would gladly use the term “effective” when describing Kelley’s performance through most of the game. He seemed to find contact by the time he hit the line of scrimmage on most plays, yet he continued his impressive streak of almost always gaining positive yardage. Sean McVay kept him active, and the 66-yard rumble that Kelley had in the fourth quarter was exactly the kind of play that was on the verge of going down all night. When you checked back in to the box score at the final whistle, the 137 yards on 24 carries that R. Kelley mustered looked great next to that THREE touchdown tally. As good as the passing game was, R. Kelley showed up and showed out. It was another great job by the offensive line, still missing Trent Williams.
- The victory on Sunday Night Football not only exorcised some primetime demons, but it guaranteed a non-losing record at home. I don’t think we can overstate this. If you recall, after two weeks of the 2016 season, the Washington Redskins were 0-2, with both losses coming at home. This was a terrible way to start the season on a number of fronts. Rattling off four straight home wins to give ourselves a chance to have a winning record tells a large part of the tale of our season to date. I was genuinely concerned—as we all were—when we sat at 0-2 on the season and 0-2 at home. I have to believe such stats are knowable, but that kind of start has to have doomed almost every team that experienced it. Everything about the direction of this season has changed since those first two weeks, and one of the main reasons is composure under center. Without further ado...
- Kirk Cousins is simply cashing checks right now. I have refrained—and will continue to refrain—from contemplating the next contract for Kirk Cousins (after all, I begged this team to get a deal done last season). As everyone has said it would from the moment the franchise tag was applied, this thing is being resolved on the field in front of our eyes. That resolution involves dollar signs, and I think what you heard last night was the last gasp of any Redskins fans that were still reticent to pay that man his money. Having battled the wind all night in the parking lot, and seeing the wind knock down everything thrown at or kicked into it on the side of this play, I will never know how Kirk was able to get that ball to Pierre Garcon for the 70-yard touchdown bomb. That was some Jedi shite. Kirk was decisive, he found his second and third receivers on the regular, and the elements did not seem to mitigate his success. On a night when he faced off with Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins was the best quarterback on the field. His leadership was evident, and his synergy with Jay Gruden continues to grow. One thing I said earlier this season that continues to be a story: the development of Kirk at quarterback and the evolution of this offense under Jay Gruden points to a promising future under Scot “McLovin” McCloughan. We are looking at a marriage (Cousins/Gruden/McLovin) that could translate to winning seasons for years to come. As much as the franchise tag became a referendum on Cousins’ future here, it was also another year for McLovin to decide on the future of the sideline staff. All signs point to Jay Gruden and McLovin shacking up for the foreseeable future!
- Since getting to 0-2 with a home loss to the Dallas Cowboys, all I have asked for was for this team to #MakeThanksgivingMatter. While the Thanksgiving showdown in Dallas won’t have the division lead on the line, the game absolutely, positively matters. The Redskins need this win as much as they have needed any win. They need to stay ahead of the pack of teams biting their heels in the playoff standings, and they need to get a signature win as they make their final push to the postseason. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the best teams in the NFL right now, as much as I hate to say that. This is a second straight week on national television where the Washington Redskins can showcase to the rest of the league and all the turkey-eating NFL fans around the world that they are for real. With only 89 hours or so (or less) to prep for another game, here’s hoping the momentum created on Sunday night carries into this contest. I look forward to the buildup to this game. We will cram as much DALLAS WEEK into the next three days as we can. Enjoy this victory, y’all, and remember to give me a listen tomorrow when I post The Audible. I have some stories from last night to tell that at least some of you might enjoy. Ha...damn it feels good to hit the holiday season this way!
The Washington Redskins knocked off the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football, burying the primetime demons that have haunted them in recent years.