After today's victory against the Giants, the Redskins are tied for the NFC East lead heading into December. Based on tiebreakers, Washington's name sits above all others. With the Tony Romo-less Cowboys coming to town next week for a big Monday night match-up, a big opportunity exists for another win and perhaps the outright lead if the Giants lose to the Jets. It's okay if you didn't call this late season charge back in April. It's okay if you thought Redskins might blow today's lead. The fan base is growing with the team and the Redskins are giving them a reason to believe. Here are my Fun Bunch of thoughts from Week 12:
- Jordan Reed is the very definition of feast or famine. He accrues so many penalties that make you wonder how they can put him on the field but then makes some drive-extending catches that makes you wonder how could you not. The development in Reed's blocking game is still waiting to be seen but you have to live with it. Last year, fans were upset with his penalties too but when coaches took him off the field more in run personnel, fans couldn't understand why Logan Paulsen was the intended target on some play-action passes. This is part of the reason why Niles Paul beat out Reed for the starting job. Paul was steady enough in both pass and run game while Reed is superb in one and not the other. Reed is a match-up nightmare so he needs to stay in the field as you continue to try and develop that part of his game.
- When is the last time Redskins fans were able to feel good this many times in one season? Comeback vs. Buccaneers. Blowout vs. Saints. Division-stealing win vs. Giants. The culture is changing. Slowly, but surely.
- I've seen many talk about the possibility of DeSean Jackson not being in Washington next year. For the time being, it sure is nice having that speed on the field again. His ability to score using one play from anywhere on the field always gives options in the playbook.
- Things I've been asking for: Screen passes in less predictable situations. Washington called for one on 1st and 10 and Matt Jones took it 45 yards. The Redskins finished the drive with Kirk Cousins' TD plunge. The thing with the screen is that there are so many ways to run it. Redskins used a WR Jet-action with a play-action then go back to Jones on the screen pass. A salad is always a salad but you can always change the dressing.
- The Redskins defensive line made some noise today. Ryan Kerrigan and Chris Baker ran with fire. Jason Hatcher doesn't have the numbers but is constantly a terror. Even Preston Smith flashed a few times. Yes, the Giants offensive line was really beat up, but the Redskins don't always capitalize on opportunities given to them. Today, they did.
- I've been critical of the secondary schematically in how they are used but how about this rag-tag collection of guys the Redskins pieced together. Bashaud Breeland, Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall were suppose to be the top corners going into the season. Breeland had a suspension. Same with Culliver plus injuries including a season-ender. Doesn't feel like Hall has been healthy all year. That left opportunity for others. Some of those others -- Will Blackmon, Kyshoen Jarrett and Quinton Dunbar -- played huge roles Sunday. It appeared the coaches let the players play a little closer and more aggressively against the Giants and it paid off. It was nice to see Breeland given the freedom to get in Odell Beckham's face, rough him up and frustrate him. I can't pretend Breeland didn't drop an interception that would have sealed the game way earlier, though.
- I know Jay Gruden is rarely the most popular guy in Wasington but he made the call to go for it on 4th down that ended up with that Cousins touchdown. He also had a 4th down play call that failed because, according to Cousins, the ball was slick due to the wet conditions. If you factor in the gameplan at the end that gave the Giants the ball back with scant time on the clock, Gruden ends up back in the positive.
- Just leaving this here: Cousins went 20 of 29 for 302 yards and 1/0 TD/INT. Ssshhhhh......