When looking back at the Redskins season, it’s tempting to examine some of the near misses they had and go with the line of thinking that they “could have” been, say, 10-6 and right in the middle of the playoff hunt.
And, yes, there are some games that easily could have gone the other way. If Josh Doctson is able to hold on to a pass in Kansas City, the Redskins likely would have won there. If they can make a 36-yard field goal against the Cowboys instead of getting it blocked and returned 86 yards perhaps they beat the Cowboys. If they could have brought Carson Wentz to the ground on Monday night in Philadelphia instead of letting him escape for a first down perhaps the outcome of that game is reversed. If they can just pick up a yard on third-and-1 against the Saints they are in victory formation.
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There are four possible wins there. And maybe if they take three of those and the season finale against the Giants means something they would have won that one.
However, if you are going to look at things that way you also should look at the other side of the coin. There are games that the Redskins won that were a whisker away from being losses. If the 49ers don’t get a shaky offensive pass interference call against them late in the game they might have had a shot at a game-winning field goal. The Seahawks had plenty of chances to beat the Redskins and Russell Wilson’s Hail Mary at the end was very close to being complete. With 37 seconds left, Blaine Gabbert and the Cardinals had four shots to win from just outside of the red zone and a couple of his passes nearly spelled disaster.
You get the idea. The Redskins lost some that they could have won, sure. But they also won some that they could well have lost.
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Those who deal in football stats have a relatively simple way of figuring out how many games a team “should” win based on points scored and points allowed. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, you can look at the full explanation here.
By this method, the Redskins expected W-L was 6.8-9.2. Rounding those off, you have 7-9, which is just what their record was.
If you want to talk about the injuries and the difficult schedule, have at it. But for what the Redskins actually did on the field, they were what their record said they were.