Jay Gruden is every Redskins fan. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Editor/columnist

I can’t believe the Redskins just lost that game.

(Hell yes, we are doing this again. And I don’t blame you at all if you stop reading right now. Go get a beer or something. It’s Thanksgiving week. Washington doesn’t work this week. Maybe make some yams or something. Pretend none of it ever happened.)

No, but really: I can’t believe the Redskins just lost that game. I can’t believe the Redskins just lost that game, despite having a 15-point lead with less than five minutes left and the Saints on their own side of midfield facing first and 20 while local fans were busy toasting their team for having the sort of resilience and guts few Washington teams in 25 years have had.

Frankly, I still can’t believe the Redskins even had a 15-point lead — on the road, as more than a touchdown underdogs, with leading rusher (and receiver) Chris Thompson having broken his leg, against perhaps the NFL’s hottest team, with just about every major offensive play coming from dudes who were supposed to be backups.

I can’t believe all the moments that helped build that lead: the Redskins successfully running a fake punt from their own 15-yard line, Kirk Cousins throwing a pinpoint touchdown pass (to Ryan Grant!) while getting obliterated by blitzers, clutch plays coming from third-string tight end Niles Paul and fourth-string tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, Samaje Perine churning out Washington’s first 100-yard game in forever, Byron Marshall (who had been on the team for five days) getting a key carry in crunch time, an entire roster rising up with one of the most improbable efforts of this NFL season, a winning performance that had Joe Buck and Troy Aikman talking about Washington’s steadily rising playoff chances.

I can’t believe Aikman said Washington’s final touchdown was a dagger.

I can’t believe I am using the exact same device I used after Washington’s stupefying win in Seattle, but I can’t think of what else to say, because did you watch that game? The Redskins won the game. Like, they won, and it was over, and it was on to Thanksgiving and the Giants. ESPN’s win probability tracker gave the Skins a 99.6 chance of winning. It was impossible not to sit on your couch and think that this 5-5 team — with five games remaining against sub-.500 teams — was back on track for yet another late-season playoff push.

I can’t believe I was silly enough to think about that.

I can’t believe that on Drew Brees’s first insta-touchdown drive — the one that turned that 15-point margin back into a one-possession deficit — the Redskins challenged an obvious completion, losing a timeout they dearly, sorely, horribly needed just a few minutes later.

I can’t believe that when Washington got the ball back after that touchdown and faced just a measly third and one, Perine — who averaged 5.1 yards per carry — was blown up in the backfield on an utterly failed attempt.

I can’t believe the same coach who would call a fake punt from his own 15 yard-line called three straight Perine runs when just one first down would have clinched the win. I can’t believe Washington played for the win on every single snap except the third-and-short play, when everyone expected the boring run, and Washington went with the boring (slow-developing) (off-tackle) run. (That’s playing not to lose.)

I can’t believe that Kendall Fuller intercepted Brees’s first pass on the ensuing drive, and I can’t believe that interception was washed out by a hands-to-the-face call.

I can’t believe Brees needed only four plays to then go 82 yards for a touchdown that drew the Saints within two. I know, it is popular right now to say “that was such a D.C. sports result that I actually knew it would happen,” and maybe you did, but I can tell you for sure that when Fuller intercepted that pass and there were no pieces of yellow laundry on the field, there was 0.00000 percent of my organism that thought four plays later the Saints would be in the end zone, because the game was over and Washington had won.

I can’t believe the game wasn’t over.

I can’t believe Washington hadn’t won.

I can’t believe the final touchdown came when Alvin Kamara bobbled a pass like he was doing some carefree Globetrotters act, and then managed to reel it in while four — literally, four — defenders closed in on him, at which time he somehow zipped through all of them and into the end zone and into the stands, even though his team was still down by two-points.

Ok, I’ll admit: I can believe that the Saints then easily converted the two-point conversion.

But I can’t believe Cousins then marched the Redskins into casual field-goal range in only three plays. I can’t believe a miscommunication then inexplicably led to an intentional grounding penalty that pushed Washington out of field-goal range, a massive disaster, a ridiculous error, something worse than Cousins taking the ball and belly-flopping backwards while singing You Are My Sunshine. I can’t believe that no one seemed to know there was a 10-second runoff, and that no one seemed to realize the clock was running, and that in less time than it takes to send a tweet containing the letter F 280 times, the Redskins had gone from field-goal range to an embarrassing sack-fumble and then overtime.

I can’t believe that’s how regulation ended.

Sure, everything else I can believe. The three-and-out on Washington’s only overtime possession. The easier-than-running-to-the-bathroom New Orleans drive. The game-winning field goal. The fact that Washington is now either 4-6 or 3-7 after 10 games for the seventh time in nine years. The fact that any playoff push, if it happens, will require a massive late-season surge. The fact that, faced with unimaginable pleasure, D.C. sports fans were instead handed a bouquet of dead flowers filled with flesh-eating bacteria and sprinkled with maggoty meat and infected tears.

I can’t believe that I am writing stuff like that after how well Washington played for 54 minutes. This was not a day for infected maggots, or whatever.

I can’t believe everyone is again pointing out that the Redskins will fall short of 11 wins for the 26th straight season — the longest such streak in the NFL.

I know this is a hacky bit, and I should probably instead rain hail and brimstone on the loserly losers for losing, but I’m not joking. I can’t believe they lost. New Orleans winning was the kind of thing you dream up when you’re in a Las Vegas book and you’re surrounded by ripped up tickets and empty bottles of junk light beer and you’re just trying to dream up a one-outer, a ridiculous scenario in which your 17-way money-line parlay might still be alive, if only the home team can rapidly score, kick deep, call two timeouts, hold the other team, use the two-minute warning, force a punt, go down the field and score, convert the two-pointer, hold the other team at the end of regulation and then again to start overtime, and then win finally win it in extra time.

Those are dumb dreams. But all of that happened. And I seriously can’t believe it.

More on the NFL:

NFL working overtime: Giants pull upset after sensational catch in OT; Saints stun Redskins with rally

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix says Martellus Bennett quit on the Packers

Redskins’ DeAngelo Hall wins Ed Block Courage Award

NFL owners increasingly favor taking disciplinary action against Jerry Jones

Where is Kaepernick on ladder of politicized athletes? It’s too early to say.