In 1991, Tony Kornheiser, who used to be a good columnist, invented the Redskins Bandwagon. Seventeen years later, I think it’s time to pull the old girl out of the garage, give her an oil change, and fire her up.
Forget winning the division, folks. After thumping the Philadelphia Eagles in their own house, the Washington Redskins have to be considered legitimate contenders for the championship.
Let’s look at what they’ve done.
- They are 4-1, having won four in a row and beaten the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys at home. At this point, all the rest of their divisional games are at home.
- They have played the Number 2,3,4,5, and 6 ranked offenses and are still ranked 18th in the league themselves, having surrendered 24 points or less each of the last four games. They are averaging 22 points given up per game, but that number is likely to go down as they play inferior offenses.
- They have not committed a single offensive turnover this year. That, more than anything, is the reason for their success. Their giveaway/takeaway ratio thus far is +6 and Jason Campbell has yet to throw an interception.
- Their remaining schedule is incredible friendly. After the brutality of the first five games (opening on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champions? Three divisional road games?), they get two games at home against St. Louis and Cleveland, on the road against Detroit, and back home for Pittsburgh going into the bye week. Three of those teams just plain stink and Pittsburgh is playing a third-string running back and a hobbled QB and are not likely to be at full strength even when the ‘Skins come to visit.
The team, quite frankly, beat the stuffing out of the Cowboys and the Eagles, both of whom have been considered the cream of the crop in the NFC. They baffled two Pro Bowl-quality quarterbacks and shut down two top-flight running attacks. Surprisingly, it’s been the running game (not exactly the key component in a West-Coast offense) that has been the proximate cause of the Redskins success. Clinton Portis, who has been derided as a soft runner and past his prime, went for over 120 yards against a very tough Cowboys rushing defense and 145 (!!) yards today against the best rushing defense in the league. Even more surprising is that the offense has been the epitome of old-school Joe Gibbs football – a relentless running attack interspersed with big-strike passes to the wideouts and Chris Cooley.
After today, there is no doubt that the Redskins are one of the top three teams in the league and the best in the NFC. I’m not entirely sure that the football pundits will see it that way. The Redskins generally don’t get a lot of attention from the gurus, but I don’t honestly see how they can be ignored after today.