“You are what your record says you are.”
—Bill Parcells, talking about the 2015-2017 Redskins, probably
Well, The Tuna said this in 1994, so maybe he was talking about Norv Turner’s Redskins. But the truth of the statement remains.
The Redskins are just a mediocre football team. Just when it looks like they are about to break out of the muddled middle of the pack in the NFL, they have an ugly performance that pulls them right back into the middle of the morass.
Here is a look at some of the Redskins’ signature wins of the last two and a half years and what happened next.
—In Week 4, Kirk Cousins put together his first comeback win, getting the winning score in the 23-20 win on a pass to Pierre Garçon with 26 seconds left. The following week they went to Atlanta and despite having a few chances to win the game they lost in overtime.
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—In Week 7, the Redskins came back from a 24-0 deficit to beat the Bucs and Cousins yelled, “You like that!” They had a bye the next week and in their next game they went to New England and were uncompetitive in a 27-10 loss. Yes, that’s a tough place to win but a better showing in a loss would have been evidence that they had turned the corner.
—Perhaps the best game of Jay Gruden’s tenure came in Week 16 in Philadelphia when they whipped the Eagles and clinched the NFC East title. They followed this up with what amounted to an exhibition game in Dallas. In their next game that counted they were at home against a Packers team that had lost two in a row and looked vulnerable. The Redskins had an 11-point lead early and they were up 18-17 in the third quarter but Aaron Rodgers and company scored 18 unanswered points to close it out.
—In Week 6 they ran their winning streak to four games as they held off the Eagles for a 27-20 win. The next week they nearly built the first five-game winning streak since 2012, but Matthew Stafford rallied the Lions with a touchdown pass with 16 seconds left to snatch that victory away.
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—The Redskins’ 2016 season reached its peak with their Week 11 drubbing of the Packers. But they couldn’t build on the momentum of their 42-24 win. They lost the next two in a row with some red zone woes in Dallas and turnover issues in Arizona.
—The 2-0 Raiders came into town and the left with a thorough 24-10 whipping. They then went to Kansas City and battled the undefeated Chiefs hard, coming out with a moral victory, which is another term for a loss.
Their failure to create any momentum after the win in Seattle is perhaps the most head-scratching of all of them. They got several key players back from injuries, including three of their starting offensive linemen. Unlike most of their momentum-killing games, they were at home. And still they got boat raced (don't let the final score fool you). They let Case Keenum, who had thrown 24 touchdown passes in 24 career starts, pass for four touchdowns and as they left the field thousands of Vikings fans were doing the “Skol” clap and cheer.
The result was hard to understand but, given recent history, not surprising.