You’re trying to bask in the glow of victory for the first time since mid-October, after the win against the Vikings. So maybe it’s a bad time to ask. But if you’re ready to be honest, here goes:
How much of the 31-6 win against the Eagles was because of the Redskins’ outstanding play, and how much was playing against a team that’s checked out on the season, and its coach?
After the Redskins beat the Cowboys and are facing the Giants to get to 6-6 (see what I did there?), can they expect to be gifted an interception that leads to seven points in the first minute? Can the Redskins expect to have an opposing cornerback not bother to cover Aldrick Robinson on a 49-yard touchdown pass? Were the Redskins lucky to be facing an opponent that allowed four sacks, made three turnovers and nine penalties, and could muster only 257 yards and six points?
Or were the Redskins that good?
The answer is likely a combination of both. The questions aren’t out of line — I’m not the only one asking. Thomas Boswell wrote a postgame column on the key to success being bad competition. Steve Czaban was on Twitter during the game bemoaning the Redskins’ performance, saying the team did three bad things for every one good thing, but happened to be winning easily. Dan Steinberg, in his postgame Best and Worst, wrote “it was sometimes tough to differentiate between good from the Redskins and putrid from the Eagles.”
Some of the success was due to Washington: Jim Haslett’s defense came out blitzing the Eagles and rookie first-time starter Nick Foles. It forced two early interceptions, but when Philadelphia caught on, and began throwing screens and passes no more than five yards from the line of scrimmage, the defense adjusted.
Safety Brandon Meriweather’s impact was undeniable. The effort to get into the end zone on Santana Moss’s and Logan Paulsen’s touchdowns was laudable. RGIII was accurate, at 14 of 15, and elusive and effective as a runner (seven yards per carry, at 12 for 84).
Two things are probably true: Even against a bad team, the other team still has to play well to win 31-6. And no matter why it happened, Redskins players, coaches and fans will take it. When you’ve only got four victories in 10 games, why ask why?
Here’s the point in raising the question: The Redskins face Dallas (5-5) on Thursday, and the Giants (6-4) after that. They could be playing New York to move into a first-place tie. The Ravens (8-2) are up after that.
If you want to buy into the idea the Redskins can be in first place, or beat the Ravens, you’d like to see fewer than 13 penalties. You’d like to see a healthy Meriweather bring that energy again, and hope Pierre Garcon contributes something. You probably can’t expect a 158.3 passer rating from RGIII each week. You’d like to see the Redskins do some more things that you can count on each game. Is that effort at least a start?
So, glow of satisfying victory over a division rival aside, how good are the Redskins right now? Was one very impressive victory over a not very good Eagles team enough to make you believe yes? You tell us, in the comments. Floor’s yours.