Here are five observations from Redskins 42, Packers 24:
—These Redskins aren’t just tough, they’re talented. Kirk Cousins, their $20 million franchise tagged quarterback is capable tossing deep dimes in on a cold, windy night. Josh Norman, $15 million per year cornerback forced a fumble that let his team seal the game. Two receivers, veteran Pierre Garçon and second-year player Jamison Crowder, caught a few of Cousins deep passes and they each went over 100 yards receiving. Jordan Reed chipped in with some key catches. DeSean Jackson, who hasn’t been heard from much lately, caught a pass for the game’s first touchdown. And Rob Kelley, the undrafted rookie, got his first 100-yard rushing game since high school. Yes, they win by being scrappy but they also win because they have some pretty damn good football players.
—Jay Gruden showed that he has great onio—, well, intestinal fortitude. With the game on the line with just over six minutes left and the Redskins leading by five Gruden decided to go for it on fourth and one at the Washington 41. If they don’t get it, Aaron Rodgers, who had led long Packers touchdown drives on each of his team’s two previous possessions, would have had a short field to work with. Gruden would have opened to door to all manner of criticism. But Cousins got it on a sneak. Three plays later Cousins dropped one of those dimes into Crowder, who was tripped up at the one after a 53-yard gain. Rob Kelley scored on the next play. Gruden said that it was just a half a yard and the he didn’t want to punt into the wind.
—Somehow Garçon has been thought of as the forgotten man on the offense even though he came into the game on pace to catch 75 passes for about 800 yards. But that notion is now exposed as a myth as he hauled in six passes for 116 yards including a 70-yard touchdown. He’s now one reception behind Reed for the team lead and about 45 yards behind team leader Crowder in receiving yards. If he ever really was overlooked he is forgotten no more.
—Kelley keeps on being a difference maker. In three games as the starter he has 321 yards on the ground, a 4.9-yard average per carry, and four touchdowns. Oh, and no fumbles. You keep on thinking that the magic might wear off at some point and early in the game when he was caught for a few negative carries—something he had rarely done even before he became a starter—it looked like it might not be his day. But he recovered from the slow start and clinched the game with a 66-yard run, a gallop that set up his third rushing touchdown of the day. He has a firm grip on the starting job. “It would be tough to get him out of there now,” said Gruden.
—I’m not sure how much of a “jinx” playing in prime time really is for the Redskins. The whole concept reached the point of near absurdity this past week when some younger Redskins players were being asked by the media to analyze the results of games that were played when they were in grade school. I have a feeling that as long as this team continues to improve their record in night games also will get better.