Football Team

Win streaks are always fun, but WFT's four-game run is special

Football Team

After stealing their fourth-straight win in a tight game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, Washington wideout Adam Humphries told reporters this his teammates celebrated in a way that would make the city they were all visiting proud.

"Got the speaker going. Strobe lights," Humphries said. "Feels like Vegas."

With just nine words, Humphries described a scene that sounded awfully fun.

Awfully fun could also be a way to label what it's been like watching Washington play football for the past month or so.

Since the organization's loss to the Denver Broncos to finish October, Ron Rivera's group has taken out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Carolina Panthers, the Seattle Seahawks and, most recently, the Raiders. The victory versus Tampa was a convincing one, while the other three were pretty much the opposite — heart-pounding affairs that required late scores and even later defensive stands.

Over the course of the streak, the Burgundy and Gold has seen contributions from everywhere — fourth-string centers, third-string tight ends and a kicker that a chunk of the roster didn't even know — and grown more confident by the week. 

The result of all that winning is a collection of players who come across as even tighter than some of their final scores. 

"This was a total team effort right here," quarterback Taylor Heinicke said. "When you go back and you look at we had a short week to prepare. They had 10 days to prepare. [We] fly out four-and-a-half hours, all the cards stacked up against us and we accept the challenge and it was a full team effort... Everybody had a huge part in the game."

 

"I’m so proud of the way we played," defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said. "This is one of those wins that you look back to about grit. It wasn’t perfect. We have a lot of mistakes to clean up. But, damn, when you do something like that as a team, that’s special."

Allen's presser in particular was interesting. He's not just a no-nonsense guy but a NO-nonsense guy. Yet even he couldn't help but gush about numerous aspects of the contest at Allegiant Stadium, including the effort of his defensive line mates, many of who aren't well known.

“They’re not going to get the credit they deserve, but I mean, damn,” Allen said. “They’re getting chipped, they’re rushing their asses off, they’re making great plays for us."

At the center of it all has been Heinicke, the quarterback who isn't tall, isn't blessed with a powerful arm and isn't even able to say he was drafted in the NFL.

What matters more, however, is that he apparently isn't willing to succumb to adversity. Instead, he finds a way to shake loose from it, dash past the first-down mark and smugly signal for the chains to move.

As Heinicke explained on Sunday, he believes his personality is rubbing off on the rest of Washington's locker room, and it's quite easy to agree with that assessment.

"You can feel it from the guys," Heinicke said. "If I make a mistake, they are there to pick me up. It is a great group of guys, and they are working hard together. I can’t say enough good things about them. Everyone in there is resilient, everyone is a warrior. We were at a 2-6 record and we could have easily folded and the season could have gone totally different but the guys went into battle and here we are, 6-6.”

Rivera's squad may still be a tier or two away from truly, truly contending with and scaring the league's elite. After its Vegas conquest, it's also even more ravaged by injury than it was before kickoff, with Logan Thomas reportedly done for the year with multiple torn ligaments in his knee (UPDATE: Rivera informed the media that tests on Thomas were more positive than expected but didn't know how long his absence will be). 

Plus, with this franchise, there's always the away-from-the-field drama, controversy and wackiness, which is liable to alter the conversation at any time.

But thanks to what Washington's done since its last loss on Halloween, ignoring the negatives is somehow fairly simple. After all, paying attention to those angles would detract from the main event that's led by Heinicke, a determined offense and an improving defense.

It's the type of entertaining show that would garner plenty of attention in Las Vegas, actually.