Jay Gruden wants to see his team become more resilient. He has seen the Redskins fall behind time and time again and they have not rallied to even make the game close in most cases, much less pick up wins.
“We haven’t figured it out yet since I’ve been here,” said Gruden. “I don’t know if we’ve had a come-from-behind victory yet. We may have, I can’t remember.”
Let’s take a look. It won’t take long since the team has only won five games since Gruden has been here. They never trailed the Rams in their win this year and they were not behind the Jaguars or Cowboys at any point last year. They trailed by three in the second quarter in their Week 15 win over the Eagles and they were behind by four points at halftime against the Titans and again by a point in the fourth quarter before winning by two at the final gun.
But it’s hard to blame just Gruden for whatever is missing in the team’s makeup that keeps them from being able to come back. Going back to 2008, the Redskins have won just two games that they trailed by 14 points at the end of the first quarter; at Philadelphia in 2008 and at Oakland in 2013. In that same time frame they have trailed by seven points or more going into the fourth quarter 40 times; they have rallied to win just two of those.
In contrast, in the last two weeks the Atlanta Falcons have rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter and 11 down at halftime to win on the road.
“It’s very important for us to be resilient. We preach it all the time,” said Gruden. “When you play in the National Football League, you’re going to have your good plays and your bad plays, your good series and your bad series, your good quarters and your bad quarters, your good halves and your bad halves, your good games and your bad games. How you bounce back from these down moments is how you are as a person, as a team. We have to be mentally tough. We have to understand that we’re all fighting together, fighting with each other.”
It’s a chicken-or-egg dilemma here. Would leading games wire to wire on a consistent basis is something that should come first, giving the team the confidence to come from behind? Or would rallying to pull off an improbable win or two develop winning habits?
One way or the other, the Redskins need to solve the formula.