The Redskins won their fifth game in a row, completing a surge from 3-6 and last place to 8-6 and first. They did it by scoring 38 points and rallying from a halftime deficit against the Browns, all with Robert Griffin III on the sideline.
If you were not before, are you now buying into the Shanahan Plan? Are you convinced he’s built a complete team capable of beating anyone in the NFL? Did winning with Kirk Cousins and a well-rounded effort do anything to change that perception?
Five games ago, some were ready to give up on Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan and/or Jim Haslett. Now each is looking pretty smart — Kyle for being able to get the most out of the offense without his top QB on the field; Jim for turning the defense from an embarrassment to a catalyst, and Mike for overseeing it all. (Feels weird to refer to Haslett as just “Jim,” but the other guys’ first names are necessary, so I kept it consistent.)
What do you think has been the one or two keys to the turnaround, and the five-game win streak? Pierre Garcon playing? The defense generating turnovers? The offensive line continuity? Giving Alfred Morris an average of 23.2 carries per game, and never fewer than 20? The defense limiting big plays? The quarterbacks throwing just two interceptions, helping limit giveaways?
A pessimist could make the case that none of the teams the Redskins has beaten during the run (the Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Ravens or Browns) is playing particularly well, except for maybe Cleveland, which wasn’t very good to begin with. But even a pessimist would acknowledge that wins are wins, and part of what makes a good team good is beating teams when they aren’t playing well.
I don’t believe the opponents are a big factor in the streak; The keys I suggested above are. Can you pick out one or two keys to the turnaround? If you can’t, perhaps that answers the original question, and Mike Shanahan’s Redskins have developed into a well-rounded, formidable team, not just a flash in the pan propped up by RGIII.
What say you?