Posted on October 18, 2016, by Travis Pulver
The turning point for the Washington Redskins during the 2015 season was the miracle comeback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that gave rise to the infamous rally cry “You like that?!?” by Kirk Cousins. Fans liked the comeback, and they certainly liked the team’s second division title of the millennium.
The fans and players had every reason to look forward to the 2016 season. But two games in it looked like their quarterback of the future wasn’t going to live up to the hype and letting Alfred Morris go might have been a mistake. They were 0-2, couldn’t run the ball, and Kirk Cousins was looking like a flash in the pan.
Fast forward four weeks, and the team is 4-2 and coming off a solid 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Kirk Cousins threw a pair of touchdown passes, Matt Jones run for 135 yards, and the defense make the flavor of the month—Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz—look like the rookie he is.
It was a good win. It was one that the Redskins should feel good about; that the team should be proud of—but not one that should make them overconfident or force them to live in the recent past (last season).
After the game, a couple of players were more than happy to proclaim to the world that they were the team to beat in the NFC East:
“We run the damn East,” Ricky Jean Francois said, via the Washington Post. “Not Philly, not Dallas, not all of them. We run the damn East. Better remember we got that damn (title).”
“Y’all forgot who the real champs of the NFC East is,” Chris Baker shouted (NFL), “everyone picking them trash-*ss Eagles.”
They had every reason to be pumped up after the win. The Philadelphia Eagles had become a popular team with the emergence of Carson Wentz, and next to the Dallas Cowboys, were being touted as the other playoff contender that could come out of the NFC East.
Washington, even though they were the defending division champs, was not getting a lot of love from the media, so-called experts, and fans. So after handing Wentz his worst day as a pro (11-22 for 179 yards, five sacks, 77.7 rating) and notching their fourth win in a row, they should be pumped up.
But that doesn’t excuse being delusional.
What they fail to remember is that the Dallas Cowboys beat them in Week Two, 27-23–and with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Dallas is in first with a 5-1 record; they are in second with a 4-2 record. It is hard to run anything when you are in second place–and lost to the team that is in first.
Redskins fans will argue that their team was still getting it together back then; that if the two teams played now, the result would be different. What they fail to forget is that the Cowboys were in the same boat. They were working with a rookie quarterback and running back that were still getting their feet wet—and then there was the defense. The defense, which was not very good at full strength, was down a handful of players due to drug suspensions.
In spite of their issues, the Cowboys still won, 27-23.
Washington may have been the best team in one of the worst divisions in football last season, and earned the right to be called Division champs–but that was last season. The NFL, much like the rest of the world, could care less about what the Redskins did in 2015. No one cares about the past. Janet Jackson said it best when she sang,” What have you done for me lately?”
Being defending champs is great and improving to 4-2 is nice as well, but no one is gunning to take down the second best team in anything. Everyone guns for the team on top now, not last season.
Right now, that team happens to be the Dallas Cowboys.