Washington played their best football in years on Monday in a win over the Steelers, and for former team broadcaster Chris Cooley, it could be just be the beginning.
"I have a hard time truly limiting [Washington]," Cooley said Tuesday. "I wouldn't be surprised to see them win games in the playoffs."
Speaking via The Kevin Sheehan Show, Cooley explained that after the 23-17 road victory, Washington proved they can play with any team in the NFL. Going into Monday night's game, the Steelers were 11-0 and had the highest point differential in the NFL with the league's top-ranked defense.
In the game, Washington got down early, spotting the Steelers a two-touchdown lead before mounting a strong comeback in the second half. What's crazy is Washington didn't even play their best - nine penalties! - but won the time of possession battle and forced a late Pittsburgh turnover.
It was inspired, resilient football.
"This team to me seems like a team that has gelled, has come together," Cooley said.
The former Washington Pro Bowler specifically talked about Alex Smith's play, and the offense built by Scott Turner.
"They're playing really good team football. They're playing football that works for Alex Smith. They have guys that work for Alex Smith," Cooley said.
He specifically mentioned J.D. McKissic and Logan Thomas as two key contributors that mesh with Smith's QB style as well as the play-calling and young star wideout Terry McLaurin.
More than that, however, is that after beating Pittsburgh on the road, Cooley isn't sure there is an NFC team Washington can't beat. That's not to suggest there are easy wins or that he expects Washington to win all four of their remaining games, but rather that at their best, Washington can compete with anybody else.
"You can’t limit them now," Cooley said. "The best thing about this game is you cannot limit this team."
The last time Cooley felt Washington displayed a similar level of play? 2012, with Robert Griffin III on the field. That team won the NFC East with a 10-6 record after finishing the regular season on a seven-game win streak.
Right now, Washington has won three in a row, and has four games remaining. The team is in a playoff fight for the division title with the Giants as both teams have the same record but New York holds the tiebreaker due to a season sweep. With an expanded third Wild Card, Washington could possibly sneak into the playoffs that way too.
It's no certainty Washington gets in, but if they do, Cooley likes their chances.
"If they can find a way to get there I don’t see a limitation on them."