The Redskins sitting at 5-6 shows that they ultimately control their own destiny heading down the stretch. After going from easily the hardest schedule in the NFL during a time where team injuries were at its worst, they now have one of the easiest schedules, where they can win out against teams that are all under .500.
The beginning of this transition started with the New York Giants, on Thanksgiving last Thursday. There was a lot of hype behind this game considering it was the first Thanksgiving game in D.C. Some of the hype was curtailed by the fact that the Giants were only 2-8 before the contest, and the Norman-Beckham matchup was a no go due to Odell being on IR for the season with a broken leg.
It’s not unusual for teams to play down to their contestants when they are sitting on a record like 2-8; it seemed like the Redskins fell victim to this. It appeared that Washington thought the Giants were going to be an easy win, because the game was relatively close for the majority of the time. However, that mentality changed quickly (or not soon enough) as the game entered the 4th quarter knotted up at 10-10.
I believe that the Redskins resting Trent Williams last week was the right move, in preparation for Dallas and the rest of the season. Seeing what other lineman can do as a unit in his absence is necessary, considering there is no telling whether he will be able to continue to push through his injury.
As far as Kirk goes, he continues to impress (while he did throw an interception that clearly wasn’t his wrongdoing). I still feel that what his game, and this season, has come down to the players around him making plays. Against New York, this was finally on display.
Jamison Crowder had a pretty complete game with his largest stat line of the season. Josh Doctson continued to make crunch time plays when we needed him the most. Going forward though, I’d love to see Doctson have games where his production goes from 3 to 4 catches and a big time touchdown, to 9-10 catches with multiple touchdowns, even with the talent we have available across the board.
For now, it seems like the Redskins have found their workhorse in Samaje Perine, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in the last two weeks. What will hold him back though is his ball security, which at times throughout the season has put the Redskins in bad situations. He has showed promise catching the ball out of the backfield and that will be vital in the absence of Chris Thompson. At this time, I’m not too sold on Marshall as a backup, but for now, he can get the job done. To finish out this season, our offense is going to have their work cut out for themselves, but winning out is more than capable of being done with our schedule and the defenses that we will face.
A positive note can be taken from this defense as they didn’t allow any touchdowns from the Giants’ offense. However, a negative note that must also be taken from this game is that while they did lock up in crunch time, some of the Giants’ drives were extended for way too long. The Giants are not a good team, and going forward hopefully our performance against the Giants wasn’t accredit to how bad they were, but to our defense sharpening up their mistakes from the last minute meltdown during the Saints game the week before.
It’s hard to accredit any one person on the defense this past game because the same players continue to ball. However, two players that I really want to see a lot from these last few weeks are Kendall Fuller and Junior Galette. Having them in the rotation and being able to count on them to step up and make plays can really get this defense moving in the right direction; especially against the offenses they are going up against in pursuit of trying to clinch a wild card spot. And once again, this is something they are more than capable of achieving.
The Battle in Big D
This week against the Cowboys, the Redskins look to build some momentum moving forward. The Giants win was more of a moral victory due to the fact that they weren’t good, and we desperately needed a win. Now, the Cowboys, who sit at second in the division, are vulnerable without their best player, Ezekiel Elliot.
The Cowboys have lost three straight games, but going into this rivalry at home, they have no reason to believe that they are incapable of beating us. Dak has been less than spectacular these past weeks and our defense can really get after him and force him into bad decisions, as they don’t have to account for a stellar run game.
Without Sean Lee, they also are weak on defense at the linebacker position. Hopefully with a good offensive line, Perine can really put on a show, which can take some pressure off of Kirk.
From here on out, the Redskins control their own destiny; if they want any shot at a playoff spot, winning this game at Dallas is a huge step in the right direction.