To open up the 2007 season, the New York Giants went on the road to play the Dallas Cowboys. They lost by 45-35 in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated. Last Thursday the Redskins went on the road and lost to the Giants by nine points in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated.
Yet the reaction to the game a year ago is vastly different to the game last week. Sure, the Giants had their critics and the buzzards were circling around Tom Coughlin. But the buzzword then and now, as that game is being revisited, is that the Giants were "competitive". Even though half of their team, the defense, was completely ineffective, it was OK because they were able to post five touchdowns.
Just like the Giants a year ago, the Redskins were ineffective on one side of the ball but it was the Skins offense that couldn't get untracked. The Washington defense was respectable throughout.
We know what the reaction to the Redskins' loss has been. I heard a Sirius NFL Radio commentator say that the Skins would have trouble beating a high school team. Dan Steinberg in the DC Sport Bog did a good job of compiling some of the more hysterical reactions from both his WaPo compatriots and others.
Such contrasting viewpoints depending on which half of the team pulls a no-show are the norm on all levels of football. Even though they say that defense wins championships, if you're going to stink up the joint on one side of the ball, it had better be the defense. If you lose a high-scoring affair, you're in there fighting. If you lose while giving up just one touchdown you would have trouble beating Duke.
One more related point here. Please don't tell me that the Redskins were "lucky" or "fortunate" that the Giants didn't score more points, that it "could have been 28-0" , or any other such nonsense. Yes, the Giants drove into scoring position three more times in the first half after scoring their first and only touchdown. But the Redskins defense, not bad luck, stopped them and forced them to settle for field goals.
There were no dumb penalties on the Giants. They did not drop any passes. No questionable call or non-call cost New York a touchdown. There were no occasions where a wide-open receiver or a runner in the open field slipped and fell. The Redskins simply turned them away.
It's like saying that the Giants were lucky that the Redskins didn't run or pass for a first down on their first three possessions.