FEDEX FIELD - The Redskins defense might have played their best 60 minutes of the season on Sunday, and the effort stemmed from a player's-only meeting Saturday night. In the victorious locker room following Washington's 20-14 win over the New York Giants, word emerged that defensive captain Dashon Goldson talked to the team Saturday night with a simple message.
"Stop losing," was how Redskins WR Pierre Garçon boiled down Goldson's message.
Ricky Jean François explained the meeting with a bit more detail.
"It had to be said eventually, just telling everybody that we have the players on the team. Now we just need to go out there and play like we have the players. We don’t need all the big names that most teams usually carry, all we just need is the heart of a Redskin," François said. "Just go out there and play ball, execute your assignment. If you do your job, believe me all 10 other people will do the same."
While the Redskins offense did enough to win the game, the much-maligned defense carried the squad to the win over New York. Through pressure and strong work in the secondary, Eli Manning threw three interceptions and missed countless other throws. The Giants only rushed for 33 yards in the game, and much of that total came early in the first quarter on a drive that recorded no points.
"They were big," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Manning's three picks. "It justifies when you play with great effort, great things are going to happen."
Two things were obvious Sunday watching Washington: The team moved on from the beatdown received in Charlotte last week, and a few lucky bounces go a long way.
"We had pressure on their quarterback," Gruden said. "We had a great hit by Kyshoen Jarrett, ball pops up and [Will] Blackmon gets an interception."
For much of the season, particularly in a loss at New England, bounces have not gone Washington's way. Sunday against the Giants - in the biggest game FedEx Field has hosted in three seasons - they did. Whether that's a result of luck, of effort, or some combination of both, the players think it's a recipe that can continue.
"That meeting was well needed. I hope it sunk into everybody’s head, and today it did," François said. "I hope it sinks into their head for the rest of the season that you know you have the capability of beating any team that's in front of you."