Everything could change after the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons come to FedEx Field on Sunday. We could be right back to wondering how far down the NFC food chain this team actually is. But Sunday, pitchforks and torches were lowered for an evening.
“If you look at the record tomorrow and it says 1-3, that’s a dagger — a dagger in your chest,” wide receiver Santana Moss said in a more-than-relieved visiting locker room at Raymond James Stadium.
Chris Wilson, the reserve linebacker, just shook his head at the possibility. “It’s hard to come back from 1-3. To be even at 2-2, you still feel like you’re in the playoff race this early – you don’t feel like you can’t go any lower.”
This was larger than merely pulling out a 24-22 victory in Week 4 on the road. This was a pendulum-swinging moment early in the season, the difference between a spark of momentum heading home against the Falcons and, “What in the world is Mike Shanahan talking about when he says ‘culture change?’ ”
Really, there are only so many times you can say of a coaching staff, “The adults are in charge” until you realize 11 wins in two seasons and a 1-3 start to 2012 constitutes parental neglect in the NFL. At some point, the Redskins were going to have to see tangible results in the win-loss column if they were ever going to believe the franchise was heading in the direction they and their superiors kept saying it was.
And on one of those fine-line-in-sports days that can either catapult or crater an organization, the Redskins turned the car keys over to the Golden Child. Without a GPS — the electronic communication in Griffin’s helmet went out, leaving him with no direction from the sideline in the final two minutes — Griffin delivered his first signature comeback, finding his receivers, finding room to run, finding a sliver of daylight in the approaching darkness.
He bailed them all out: Cundiff, a clear bipartisan whose kicks went wide left, wide right but never down the middle until the end. The coach, who challenged a reception call that never looked close on the replay, costing the Redskins another key timeout late in the fourth quarter. DeAngelo Hall, who couldn’t cover a Ritz cracker in the fourth quarter, let alone Vincent Jackson. Jim Haslett’s defense, which was so strong early and so bad late. The play-calling of Kyle Shanahan, which never amounted to more than a field goal in the second half — a kick so badly needed by everyone on the roster.