Mark Brunell, who quarterbacked Jacksonville from 4-7 to seven straight victories and a berth in the 1996 AFC Championship Game, knows the postseason is still possible.
"I'm not making any predictions," Brunell said. "I'm just telling you that we're not out of it. The confidence is still there that we are a good football team. I think everybody thinks that way, but in order to get this thing going we have to get a win."
Coach Joe Gibbs' Redskins were 5-6 in 1989 before winning their final five games, so he has been down this road before, too.
"It will come down to character issues and the kind of guys that you have on the team," Gibbs said. "We have guys that take it hard because they put a lot into it. They worked extremely hard in the off-season. Then (they had) three tough losses like that. It comes down to not something I'll say, (but) something that comes from them. The way we're going to play this week will come from them."
Washington led in all three defeats with eight minutes to go, two with four minutes to go and one with two minutes to go. No other NFC contender has been outscored in the fourth quarter and overtime.
"Sometimes when it gets late in the game, guys are kind of out of position trying to do everything, when all you have to do is do your job," safety Ryan Clark said. "You can't make anybody else's play."
But 20th-year offensive lineman Ray Brown doesn't buy the suggestion that the Redskins lack a killer instinct.
"Having a killer instinct is overrated," Brown said. "We just didn't get it done in the fourth quarter. What is a killer instinct? I don't know."
Player Personnel Notes
--DT Cornelius Griffin returned to practice on Thursday after resting his ailing hip flexor on Wednesday. He should start for the first time since Oct. 30 at the New York Giants. Griffin played part-time in the first half last week before returning to regular duty in the third quarter after fellow DT Joe Salave'a was hurt.
--DT Joe Salave'a didn't practice again on Thursday. Salave'a is expected to be sidelined for the first time this year with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. Cedric Killings will likely slide from the left side, where he started for Cornelius Griffin last week, to the right.
--T Chris Samuels returned to practice on Thursday after resting his tender knee on Wednesday. Samuels will start on Sunday.
--RB/KR Ladell Betts took some individual work again on Thursday. However, Betts figures to miss a third straight game with a sprained knee.
--H-back Mike Sellers took part in his first full practice on Thursday since suffering a hairline fracture of a rib on Nov. 20 against Oakland and should play in St. Louis.
--WR James Thrash missed a fifth straight practice on Thursday because of a pulled hamstring and won't play on Sunday.