If you’re not a fan of President Obama, and you’re wondering if there’s anyone in Washington who could outshine his popularity, well, there’s this one guy. Robert Griffin III is the consensus Rookie of the Year in the NFL this year, and if he keeps winning games, he’s gonna get some MVP votes as well.
Votes for President? Let’s see how he does in the playoffs before we take that particular poll.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been accepting as mantra the notion that the Redskins are basically the Panthers north, and that Griffin has a horrible team around him and has to do everything himself, you may want to rethink that.
Today’s overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens just elevated the Redskins into very real contenders, and with a special player like RGIII at the helm, they need to be taken seriously.
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Just one month ago, the Redskins looked beaten. They were 3-6, and had just suffered their most embarrassing loss of the season, a 21-13 kerplunking at home by the lowly Carolina Panthers. Redskins south? Cam Newton and his bunch of bums were better than RGIII and his bunch of bums, at least on that day. But after the bye week, Washington had an easy one against a terrible Eagles team, and they smoked them 31-6. Momentum grew from that win.
On the following Thursday night, they traveled to Dallas and knocked off their arch rivals, in their own building, on national TV, 38-31, in a game that, at the time, was crucial for Dallas but just another game on the schedule for the Redskins. Except it wasn’t. The following week, Washington beat the defending champion New York Giants 17-16, and that wasn’t just another game. It put the Redskins one game behind division leading New York, and brought them back to .500, within striking distance of the NFC playoff picture.
But the biggest challenge was this week. Beating the Baltimore Ravens, one of the AFC’s elite teams, was the best win for RGIII and the Redskins all season. And all of a sudden, Washington is buzzing about this season, not the future. The Redskins have road games against Cleveland and Philly left, and while both of those teams are playing an improved brand of football, those are the kind of games that serious contenders win. The season ends with a rematch against the Cowboys, in a game that could be for the division or a wildcard spot, or even both, depending on how the schedule shakes out.
And the Redskins know that to get to that point, they can’t just be RGIII and his bunch of bums. The Redskins injury-riddled defense is not what anyone would call good, but they have been stout against the run, forcing teams into shootout games. And Washington has the best rushing offense in the NFL. Part of that is Griffin’s 700+ yards from scrimmage, but part of it is rookie running back Alfred Morris, who’s long since eclipsed 1000 yards for the season. Washington’s receiving corps is subpar, but with the defense not as bad as you might have thought, and a running game that’s tough to stop (and a magic rookie quarterback), it may be good enough.
And make no mistake, the city of Washington has been STARVING for a competitive football team for a decade now. So if you run into one of those sycophantic Redskins fans who talks about Robert Griffin’s knee injury that he sustained at the end of the Ravens game as if its the fiscal cliff, the Watergate scandal and the Cuban Missile Crisis all rolled into one, only BAD, forgive them. Washington hasn’t seen a winner in a long time.