Darryl Rogers, the losing coach, said it so simply yesterday, explaining how the Redskins' fortunes have turned so dramatically the past two games.
"The blocking is a lot better. They're a lot better defensively," he said after his Detroit Lions lost to the Redskins, 24-3, at RFK Stadium. "They're not throwing interceptions. They're not fumbling the football."
"Earlier, the Redskins were making the mistakes, and today we made the mistakes," said Paul Lanham, the Lions' receivers coach who was a Redskins assistant under George Allen.
"So, I'm really talking about two things: one is field position, and the other is turnovers. Now they're getting field position and not getting the turnovers . . . That's the biggest difference I've seen."
The numbers bear him out: in the victories over the Cardinals and Lions, the Redskins' opponents had 10 turnovers and were sacked 10 times. Against the Redskins, the Lions never started a drive outside their 20, and the Cardinals did so three times, two of which followed recovery of Washington fumbles, the Redskins' only turnovers the past two games.
Nine times in those two games, the Cardinals and Lions started inside the 18, three times inside the 10.
Yesterday, the Lions used 13 plays to take a 3-0 lead after receiving the opening kickoff, then failed to make another first down for almost 35 minutes. While the Redskins scored 24 points in that time period, the Lions ran only 10 plays from scrimmage. Two Lions turnovers in their territory led to Washington touchdowns.
"Had we not had those mistakes, and we were error-free, like they were, it would have been one of those games where we go up the field, and they come down the field," said a very sore Eric Hipple, the Lions' quarterback. "The biggest difference between the way they've been playing the last two weeks and previous is their error-free football."
The Lions' game plan was to "dink here, dink there" with controlled timing passes, "then get them on the run and take your chances," according to Hipple, a six-year pro. When the Lions fell behind by two touchdowns, Hipple had neither the time nor the inclination to stand back in the pocket and throw long.
"Those four guys up front have a tough pass rush," Hipple said. "We had to do some things differently, like get rid of the ball earlier and take guys out of pass routes to help blocking, and that hurts your offense."
Hipple was asked if he couldn't have thrown downfield more the way the Redskins were playing defensively.
"Probably so," he said. "Then the gamble is that you'd end up with even more sacks . . . Then it's second and long, or third and long, and it's even tougher.
"To start off the game, on the first drive, a couple of times they were all over my head. You don't think of it consciously. But you'd be a fool not to think subconsciously of something going on around you. So you try to work your shorter game a little bit better."
On one second-half sack, defensive tackle Darryl Grant appeared to crush Hipple's ribs, knocking him woozy momentarily. That was the only time the Lions considered replacing him, Lanham said.
"That one was a deep ball. If you're going to hang onto the ball long enough, you're going to get it," Hipple said.
"Our guys haven't been to the Super Bowl. Their guys have been to the Super Bowl," Rogers said. "The way you get to the Super Bowl is having good players, generally speaking -- big, strong, good football players . . . The Washington Redskins are a good football team when they are playing. The Redskins have got things untracked."