Redskins Looking for Another Back Door to NFC East Title
Looking back on the wreckage that was the fourth quarter last Sunday in Denver, we're left to wonder what almost was for the Washington Redskins and what could have been at the midway point of the NFC East title chase.
Mike Shanahan's homecoming of sorts would have meant something to more than him. Washington would have only been half a game behind Dallas, the leaders-by-default. This division is there for the taking, just like it was last year. And it looks like the 'Skins will need to duplicate their feat of last year to do something about it.
Then, it was morphing a 3-6 start into a 10-6 finish. Now, the division might even be crummier. The Eagles are more like headless horsemen with their top two quarterbacks out, the Giants' best plays are completing passes to the other team, and sooner or later the Cowboys will do what they're good a doing, namely, folding in the clutch. It's there for the taking, and if no one has noticed, Washington's offense ranks fourth in the NFC and hasn't really gotten into full gear yet.
There's justifiable hope.
But first, the Redskins have to put away games like the one in Denver.
Where was the proper protection for Robert Griffin III, much less Kirk Cousins? How does a 21-7 first-quarter lead devolve into a 38-point second-half Bronco blitzkrieg? Who fell asleep on the field?
If RGIII doesn't have an open reciever, then he just needs to make a quicker decision to pull the ball down and take off; some yards are better than no yards and 'way better than negative yards.
And the defense was just out there too long. Turnovers will cause that to happen. They held Peyton Manning and his wobbly ankles in check when they were able to get off the field and re-charge, but once the Denver dynamo got into a rapid-fire rhythm, it was all over.
This loss could come back to haunt the 'Skins come late December. A one-game swing in the NFC East could be huge.
Their next three games are winnable. The Chargers look like zombies on the road, the Vikings don't do their nickname justice, and Washington has a score to settle with crippled Eagles. Clipped wings or not, they've got to go down. A sweep of this trio, and the Redskins are back to .500; it's doubtful anyone else will pull away during that time.
This isn't the most ideal scenario to make the post-season, but it will have to do. Again.