The Washington Redskins have won three straight games, all against NFC East opponents, since their bye week, to even their record at 6-6, give themselves some renewed playoff possibilities and reinvigorate their season.
The reasons given by players for the post-bye turnaround were varied in the aftermath of Monday night’s 17-16 triumph over the New York Giants at FedEx Field.
Linebacker London Fletcher said the Redskins were “a tired group” before their bye.
“If you think about it, we didn’t get our bye week until the tenth week of the season,” Fletcher said. “We played nine games and then finally got a bye week. We had a lot of close games. That kind of wears on you a little bit. We just got a chance to get away for a little bit, refresh mentally, refocus. We understood, yeah, at that point in time we were 3-6. We looked at our situation and knew, ‘Hey, we win a couple ballgames, it could be totally different for us.’
“And that’s what we did. We really focused in. Getting that win against the Eagles was a big one. And then you think about going down to Dallas on a short week and coming away with a victory, and then setting it up to set the stage for tonight. It’s just a great feeling for us but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Fellow veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said the pre-bye Redskins had reached the point at which they were expecting bad things to happen, but the post-bye team has a different mindset.
“You start believing, like, ‘When is it going to happen? Here it goes again,’ ” Alexander said. “Now I think it’s completely different…. You know Robert [Griffin] is about to make a play. You know Alfred [Morris] is about to run for a big run. You know somebody is going to have a big catch. On defense, you know Rob Jackson is going to put some pressure on, somebody is going to stand up. That’s what you’ve got to have, that type of belief.”
It doesn’t hurt, of course, when even a fumble by Griffin, the team’s brilliant rookie quarterback, results in a touchdown. That was the case Monday night, when wide receiver Josh Morgan caught the ball in mid-air after Griffin lost it, and found his way into the end zone.
“I don’t think it was one thing versus another,” Alexander said. “I think guys are just finally putting it together for four quarters, and some of the plays, the important plays, are going our way, like that fumble that Robert had. I mean, he fumbles and Josh is in the right place, hustling, and getting a touchdown. In years past, that could have bounced and went to somebody else…When you have bounces like that going your way and things like that, it’s, I don’t know, I don’t want to say the football gods are on your side. It’s just guys hustling, making plays versus the other way around.”
Said fullback Darrel Young: “I don’t know, to be honest. We’ve been fighting. We’re just finishing. Guys are just making plays when they’re supposed to. We’re just doing the little things right. We’re just trying to get better.”