PHILADELPHIA—Here are five things we have learned about the Redskins during the 2015 season so far.
They can break any kind of negative streak—As Ryan Kerrigan just pointed out in the locker room, supposed jinxes have been dropping like flies. They won on the road for the first time this year in Chicago. The next week they beat the Bills and put together a two-game winning streak, something they had not done since last year. And tonight the won in prime time for the first time this season. And, most significantly, the broke two-season playoff drought by claiming the NFC East.
Jay Gruden made the right choice at quarterback—The head coach stuck his neck out when he named Kirk Cousins the starter and it seemed like it might get chopped off as Cousins struggled during the early part of the season. But he got it together and in the last nine games he has thrown 20 touchdown passes and three interceptions. Gruden rests his case.
They can win without a strong running game—While Gruden won’t admit it, the Redskins have been getting along just fine without much of a running game. Against the Eagles they called 48 pass plays and 26 rushes. During the last several weeks, when the Redskins have been at their best the running game has been the least effective in the NFL.
They can operate while held together with duct tape and chewing gum—Quinton Dunbar and Will Blackmon were playing key snaps in the secondary and Mason Foster was all over the field from his inside linebacker spot. None of them were on the 53-man roster when the season started. The offensive line consists of four first-year starters. Key yardage during the Redskins’ drive that sealed the game was picked up by Pierre Thomas, who came on board just over two weeks ago. Scot McCloughan assembled a pretty good team during the offseason but his work after the season started has been equally critical.
Being underdogs doesn’t faze them in the least—Nobody expected them to be anywhere near where they are tonight. They weren’t supposed to win in Chicago, they were supposed to lose to the Bills at home, and they were underdogs tonight. Nobody on the team listened. They are likely to be home underdogs against their first-round playoff opponent. It’s unlikely that the Redskins will pay any attention.