As the calendar officially turned to fall, the alarm on the Washington Redskins’ internal football clock finally rang and jarred this team out of its deep slumber. They put aside leaks and finger pointing and put together their best performance of the season, a divisional road victory against the New York football Giants.
Beating the Giants in New York is no easy task, having gone 2-10 in their previous 12 trips to exit 15 on the Jersey turnpike. This 29-27 victory shows fans, and more importantly showed this football team what it can do when they concentrate on playing winning football and ignore outside distractions.
If each victory is a work of art, Sunday’s win was more finger painting than a Picasso but that is exactly how you win on the road in the NFL. The Redskins made just enough plays on defense, forcing three turnovers and, more importantly, used a balanced offensive attack to secure their first victory of the season.
Sean McVay must have received the memo that balanced football is winning football. The Redskins run/pass ratio was a respectable 45/55. A 20 percentage point improvement over the first two games, both losses. And with the game on the line and the Redskins needing a score to take the lead, McVay and Gruden turned to Matt Jones and the running game to get them into position for Dustin Hopkins game winning field goal.
To end September with a 1-2 record is not ideal but it sets the Redskins up for a make or break October in the much better than expected, NFC EAST. The improved play of the Eagles and the home loss to Dallas makes this five games in 28 day stretch critical if the Skins want to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season.
These five games include three inter conference games against the AFC North and their first contest against Carson Wentz, who is the biggest thing to hit Philly since the soft pretzel. If 10-6 is the goal, the Skins must win four of their next five and enter their bye week at 5-3. I say 10-6 is the goal because with the improved play of Dallas and Philly, I don’t see any way 9-7 wins this division.
It’s obvious, but the difference between 1-2 and 0-3 is the same as the difference between the Caddyshack I and II. As the Robert Griffin-less Browns come to FedEx Field this Sunday, the Redskins and their fans can exhale because this road win in New York means we can finally get this season of promise started.
Chuck Sapienza is the executive producer of the Naval Academy radio network and the former VP of Programming for ESPN980. He was also a part of the Washington Redskins Radio Network from 2009 to 2015, serving as the network's executive producer. He can be reached at SapienzaChuck@gmail.com
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