Last January Green Bay came to FedEx Field and eliminated the Redskins from the playoffs. On Sunday the Packers returned to Landover.
There are usually two views of a game like this. For some fans and media it is a “revenge” game, offering a chance for the losing team to get redemption. For the players and coaches, however, it is just another game, one of 16, no more important than any other.
But talking about his team’s 42-24 win over the Packers on on Sunday night, Jay Gruden admitted that, yes, this one may have meant just a little bit more than just one of 16.
Kirk Cousins strongly suggested that beating the Packers was sweet—or, at least, not sour.
"As a competitor, we certainly had a sour taste in our mouth walking away from the game last season,” Cousins said after the game. “When we watched the film, we felt like there were plays to be made that didn’t get made. I think tonight you saw what we felt we were capable of doing last January and just didn’t get it done. We’re all competitors so we all came into this game with a bit of a sour taste in our mouths and a chip on our shoulder with a desire to prove ourselves.”
Last night they made the plays and the chip came off. And Gruden admitted that, yes, perhaps it was more than just another game. In fact, the win could be a launching pad for future success.
“Yeah, a little bit, I think so,” Gruden said when asked if this win meant more than some others. “Being able to hit those plays . . . we left some plays out on the table that we wished we had back and we just didn’t convert on them. When we do convert on them, we’re a tough team to beat. It’s good to hit them. It’s good for the confidence of these guys running these routes down the field to be rewarded with big plays. Now in weeks to come, we call these same similar-type concepts we’ll be flying.”
To be sure, the win does not negate the fact that the Redskins went one and done in the 2015 playoffs due to Packers coming into their place and beating them. While the win on Sunday may help the Redskins get into the 2016 playoffs the game pales in comparison to the playoff game. But that was then and this is now and if the win gives the team some added confidence going forward then breaking the “all games a created equal” mantra will be worth it.