One of the great things about football is that when a player makes a big mistake or under performs, eventually they get a chance to redeem themselves. The chance for redemption came yesterday for defensive end Preston Smith, kicker Dustin Hopkins and the entire defense, after giving up a 14-0 lead to the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter that turned into a 20-14 deficit in 6 minutes.
Don’t you just love football because of this? It makes for great drama and inspiration. You can never count anyone out, including the opposition. Because everyone that has made a mistake or struggled, wants to return to glory.
You knew after missing the potential game winning field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals in London, Hopkins wanted to show that he was the “frickin’ machine” that Spencer Long had said he was and avenge himself. He kicked 4 field goals today with authority.
Redskin fans will ignore those strange misses he had recently and will now feel confident in his capabilities. Maybe he is more a synthetic cyborg than machine? Maybe more Alexa than Siri? Maybe all we know is that once the robot overlords take over, Hopkins might tell them to spare Redskin fans since they supported him all along.
The Redskins defense on the other hand, is playing like a Roomba that only cleans half the room, sometimes. It is clearly defective, but it still does the job. We’ve already come to terms, early this season, with this defense’s limited capabilities.
We can only assume if the Redskins have an early lead, it will dissolve like the Alka Seltzer tablets we drink in order to deal with the indigestion and stomachache of watching the game. Yet, surprisingly at about same time as the drugs begin to work, the defense comes back with adjustments and redeems itself. By the end of the season our stomach ulcers will be battle scars of victory.
Preston Smith ended last year on such a high note with 8 sacks, that the expectations were high for him this season. Up until today, he has been under performing. His two sacks and interception showed that he is ready to contribute and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the Redskins beginning to think about possible playoff contention.
I know, I know, as Jim Mora once said “Playoffs?! Are you kidding me? Playoffs?!” Yes. Playoffs.
The playoffs are within reach and the Redskins need Smith to become the playmaker he was today and showcase that talent that so many believe he has.
This was one of those hard fought games that showcases the grit, passion, and resiliency of this team. Backups have been a part of team’s success in so many ways that I’d be remiss to leave out offensive tackle Ty Nekhe’s excellent play against a tough Vikings defense.
Additionally, undrafted free agent running back Robert Kelley is playing so well that Matt Jones was a healthy scratch this week sending a message to the team that you must produce or your job as a professional football player is in jeopardy.
Kirk Cousins seems to have heard that message and seems poised to take this team to another level. His 262 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions makes the conversation about his signing more and more serious with each passing week.
When he gets this team to the playoffs, yes, playoffs, I feel like John Malkovich’s Russian KGB character in the movie Rounders should show up and say “Pay him. Pay that man his money”.
If he keeps playing like he did yesterday, he deserves every penny of it.
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