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Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net A few thoughts in the last hours before the game that don’t fit anywhere else:

  • The conventional wisdom is that the pressure is all on the Seahawks; I’m not so sure about that. Although very few from the outside thought that the Redskins would be where they are now, they thought that they would. In minicamp, Jon Jansen sat in front of the assembled media and announced that it was his goal, and the team’s goal, was to play in the Super Bowl in Jansen’s home state of Michigan. It seemed like bravado at the time, but if these guys don’t believe that they can win it all they wouldn’t be there all offseason pumping weights, going through chalk talks and walking through plays. Certainly Joe Gibbs realizes that you don’t often find yourself two wins away from the Super Bowl and you have to take advantage of the situation. Jansen, having been in the playoffs after his 1999 rookie season and not since, can certainly add his perspective to that point.The Redskins are putting the pressure on themselves. Fans may think that they are playing with house money. The players and coaches do not. They’re playing with money earned in Ashburn in March, April, and May.

  • This team put up 35, 35, and 31 in its last three games of the regular season against defenses in the same category with Seattle’s. I just heard Ron Jaworski (who I generally respect) giving the fact that Chris Samuels struggled against Simeon Rice last week as a reason that the Washington offense will struggle and the Seahawks will win. Was there a trade that we haven’t heard about? Or has Grant Wistrom all of a sudden become a Rice-like force? I certainly don’t have an issue with people picking the Seahawks to win since they are the logical strong favorites. But at least use some points that make some sense in doing so.

  • I had heard that Shaun Alexander is a “me” kind of guy. Last year, he celebrated his team’s division title clinching in the season’s last game by saying “I got stabbed in the back” since he hadn’t met his individual goal of leading the NFL in rushing. I hadn’t heard the unflattering nickname “Soft Shaun”. This is not a moniker bestowed on him by the media; it was his teammates who dubbed him this for his propensity to run out of bounds rather the fight for additional yardage.

  • On the message board at WarpathInsiders.com, the Redskins site that I’m the editor of, someone came up with a great analogy for the two teams’ offenses. The Seahawk offense is a purebred greyhound—sleek, swift, smooth. The Redskins offense is an old mutt with an attitude; it’s ugly and often can’t get out of its own way but at times you don’t want to have anything to do with it.

  • One of the keys to the game is the Redskins getting some small degree of productivity out of the #2 receiver spot. James Thrash, who isn’t much of a threat but can find the first-down marker a couple of times a game, is probably out with a broken thumb. That leaves Taylor Jacobs and all one can do is hope that he finally gets it, runs the right patterns and can move the chains a few times. Jimmy Farris, anyone?

  • If that fails, Plan B has to be to throw to Portis. His paucity of receptions—he as fewer than two a game—is one of the more puzzling aspects of this offense. If you get him out there is space with the ball, he can go a long way.

  • Pulling out another play from the Tandler playbook, look for a pump and go on the bubble screen to Santana Moss early in the game. Teams have been jumping that play for the past several weeks and its effectiveness has diminished. Faking the short pass and then sending Moss downfield could result it a big play. If not, it will at least force the defense to loosen up.





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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

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Where does Stefon Diggs' remarkable catch rank among some of the best NFL playoff walk-offs?

There is nothing quite like January playoff football and Sunday night's Vikings vs. Saints game further proved this point.

In case you have been off the grid the past 12 hours, the Minnesota Vikings literally got a last second win against the New Orleans Saints.

With 10 seconds left in the fourth and facing a 3rd and 10, quarterback Case Keenum heaved the football near the sideline to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who dodged two defenders while managing to stay inbounds for a 61-yard touchdown as the clock expired. 

It was one of the most remarkable playoff walk-off wins, if not the most remarkable one, in football.

So, where does it stand among the others?

RELATED: FORMER TERP PLAYS HERO IN VIKINGS' MIRACLE PLAYOFF WIN

Broncos vs. Steelers 2011 AFC Wild Card game: Remember Tim Tebow's 80-yard overtime touchdown to Demaryius Thomas during the 2011 Broncos vs. Steelers AFC Wild Card game? It was the first and last snap of overtime and it was wild.

Mile High Miracle: On third and three with 43 seconds left in the game, Ravens' Joe Flacco launched one towards wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who got in front of the Broncos receiver and ran the ball in for a 70-yard game-tying touchdown. The Ravens would eventually go on to win the game in double overtime. Some could argue it was the defining moment in the Ravens' Super Bowl run. 

Cardinals vs. Steelers Super Bowl XLIII: Under the brightest lights of all, Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes with 43 seconds in the fourth in the back of the end zone for a toe-dragging, Super Bowl-winning catch. 

RELATED: WHAT REDSKINS CAN LEARN FROM THIS WEEKEND'S PLAYOFF GAMES

Saints vs. 49ers 2012 NFC Divisional game: Sunday's loss wasn't the first time the Saints have experienced a fourth quarter letdown. Back in 2012, Alex Smith threw one to the endzone on 3rd-and-three with 14 seconds left that sealed a win.

While these are only a few, we can't wait to add more to the list in years to come.

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Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

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USA Today Sports Images

Redskins can't base Kirk Cousins decision on the makeup of the final four

For many fans who would like to see the Redskins move on from Kirk Cousins, the case was closed by the results of the divisional playoff round.

When the dust settled from the weekend, three of the four winning quarterbacks were Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum. In Foles and Keenum, two journeymen who were free agents last March, available to any team that had a million bucks or so of salary cap space. Bortles was the third overall pick of the 2014 draft but he was widely viewed as a big-time bust.

MORE REDSKINS: WHAT CAN THE REDSKINS LEARN FROM THE PLAYOFFS?

So, to some the lesson was that you can roll any random quarterback out there and if you have some other pieces in place you can get to the final four.

Not so fast, my friend. Such thinking is based on a small sample size. This year is very much an outlier in terms of the quarterbacks who make the conference championship games. Let’s expand the sample size and look at the final four QBs standing in the previous six seasons.

2016: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

2015: Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Peyton Manning, Brady

2014: Russell Wilson, Rodgers, Brady, Andrew Luck

2013: Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, P. Manning, Brady

2012: Kaepernick, Ryan, Joe Flacco, Brady

2011: Brady, Flacco, Eli Manning, Alex Smith

There are 13 different quarterbacks here. Ten of those, Ryan, Rodgers, Brady, Roethlisberger, Newton, Palmer, Wilson, the two Mannings, and Luck, are true franchise type quarterbacks. Of those, five were first overall picks in the draft, Ryan was the third pick, and Roethlisberger was the 11th, and Rodgers went later in the first round. Only Wilson and Brady were late-round finds.

Of the three others, Smith (1st overall) and Flacco (18th) were first-round picks. Kaepernick was a high second-rounder.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

At the time of their playoff games, all of the 13 quarterbacks were on the teams that drafted them. None of them were looking for work the previous March, or at any time, for that matter.

As the Redskins decide if they should make a desperation attempt to retain Cousins or let him walk and start over at the most important position on the field, which data point should they consider? The most recent season in front of them, or the six prior years (and many more before that)?

Let’s say you’re looking to sell your house and you want to figure out a fair price. One comparable house down the street recently had sold for $200,000. But the previous six houses that sold in the last couple of months all went for around $300,000, Are you going to price your house based on the most recent sale? Or are you going to factor that in but pay much more attention to the six previous sales?

You have to step back and look at the larger sample size before using a particular set of facts as even a partial basis for a major decision with far-reaching ramifications.

With all that said, there are other factors at play besides what other teams have been able to accomplish. There are plenty of valid reasons for moving on from Cousins and those may outweigh the case for keeping him. But pointing to three quarterbacks on four teams and saying, “case closed” is way too simplistic an approach.

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