In Game of Chicken, Redskins win on Turkey Day

If the turkey you ate earlier in the day didn’t make you fall asleep, the game through almost 3 quarters probably did.

It was the battle of ineptitude where there are no real winners. As such, it felt that there was an eerie resemblance between both teams. When you watched New York Giants receivers drop ball after ball, the average Redskins fan could relate to their incompetence.  When you saw Giants players carried off the field on a cart, Redskins fans understood how much it hurt to see that. The mental mistakes, the penalties at inopportune times and even the fans at the stadium trying to will each team forward with cheers felt so similarly desperate.

The end is nigh for both these teams.

This sad game of chicken played before a national audience lacked any real excitement.  It even include some comedy from Redskins coach and, time mismanager of the year contender Jay Gruden, when he called a timeout so that he could have his team attempt a 4th and 1. The subsequent lackadaisical attempt was so stupid that they didn’t even get to run the play because no one bothered to send in the play in the first place. Unsurprisingly, the Redskins were called for a delay of game penalty and boos rained down on Gruden from every corner of the stadium. It showcased his penchant for bumbling turning points in games. Look, Gruden is a good coach and should stay on as the Redskins Head Coach no matter the result this season, but if he does not correct his game awareness next season, he should be released from his contract like one of Mr. Burn’s hounds from The Simpsons.

Thankfully this stalemate was broken when Redskins quarterback Kick Cousins and running back Samaje Perine jump started the offense toward the end of the 3rd quarter with some effective passing and tenacious running. I know it sounds a little bit traditional, and maybe I’m a bit nostalgic during the holidays, but what if the Redskins’ running game started to actually click and gain some momentum at just the right time?

Back in the day, and now way, way, way back in the day, the Redskins franchise was dedicated to the run because it was their biggest strength and the winter months dictated caution when blustery winds blew about. The Redskins offensive line is so banged up due to injury, that running the ball vs. defending for the pass makes the most sense in this modern day iteration of the Redskins offense.

Perine, who’s last name I butcher a 1000 times a game, seems to have found his niche and stride the last two games. It would be a pleasant surprise if he broke a 100 yards for the 3rd straight game next week against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. If he does that, then Redskins offense might become more successful and finally give Cousins some more dangerous opportunities to strike down field. The play option for the Redskins has been the offense’s most consistent strength.

Jamison Crowder was another pleasant surprise in this game as he finally had his breakout game for the 2017 season and showcased why he can be so dangerous as he had 7 catches for the second week in a row and this time hauled in a touchdown for good measure. Slightly more impressive is the fact is that with his 7 receptions, a wide receiver finally became the Redskins leading pass catcher for the first time this season. With Gruden no longer able to rely on his tight ends and losing Chris Thompson to injury for the season, there really isn’t anyone else left to catch the ball except the lackluster receiving corps.

While Josh Doctson still has a critical drop or two per game, or runs short of the 1st down marker, he is starting to make more clutch catches too. The absolute beaut of a pass from Cousins for the winning touchdown was such a magnificent gem of a throw, that it had to have been made from a laser from Cousins arm.  If you watch the replay, the ball was perfectly thrown in this almost majestic spiral that looked like it could bend time and space.

While the game ended on a high note with a victory,  the reality is this team still is plagued by injuries and mental mistakes from not just the players but the coaching staff. The goal of the end of the season is to see improvement from players that are developing and challenge those players riding the bench to set up and make their marks.  There’s still a sliver of hope the season can mean more than that, but it relies on too many scenarios and complete collapses from two very good teams. Yet, for one more week they aren’t officially dead yet and they seem to have some fight left in them.



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