Good teams win games even when they don't play their best, and that's exactly what the Washington Football Team did on Sunday.
The team posted 23 points but didn't even get an offensive score. Instead Washington's defense led the way with two touchdowns, both by rookies. Chase Young returned a fumble for a score and safety Kam Curl returned an interception for a score.
The biggest story going forward in the 23-15 win will be the health of quarterback Alex Smith. He left the game with a calf injury and Dwayne Haskins took over in relief as the offense ran dry.
What conclusions can we make? Let's try:
- Best and brightest - Chase Young is a star, and for the folks that questioned Washington's selection of Young with the second overall pick, Sunday was a bad day. Young was everywhere on the field, he logged a sack, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and batted down a pass. He's huge and fast and physical and amazing. All the adjectives. It was an iconic performance in a game where his team needed Young to play at that level.
- QB uncertainty - Everyone knows the injury history with Alex Smith, and watching trainers work on his surgically repaired right leg probably caused some queasiness. He didn't look good early on in the game and left just before halftime. Several passes were left short. Something was clearly wrong. Smith didn't come back in, and backup Dwayne Haskins wasn't particularly impressive when he entered. Washington is 5-1 with Smith as its starter, and 1-6 with Haskins and Kyle Allen as the starter. Clearly, Smith's health is of great importance for this team going forward. We'll wait to see the effects of what the FOX broadcast said was a calf injury.
- First or last - With the win over the 49ers, Washington moves into sole possession of first place in the NFC East. The Giants lost earlier Sunday and are now a game behind Washington. It's easy to make fun of the NFC East, but at this point, Washington is 6-7 and also in the running for an NFC Wild Card spot. It's an incredible turnaround for Ron RIvera's team, which opened the year 1-5. They control their own destiny. No one saw that coming a few weeks ago.