Sitting at home watching the playoffs automatically causes me to judge the teams that play against the Redskins. Like most of you, I obviously didn’t miss a Redskins game this year, and it’s still a little strange to watch something other than the Burgundy and Gold.
On the other hand, it’s given me perspective on how far the 2011 Redskins squad has to come to reach the playoff plateau. I don’t know that it’s as far as their 5-11 record would suggest, and I’ll explain why at the bottom.
But before that, here’s a recap of the Redskins’ rooting interest in each of the four games this weekend:
Denver 10, New England 45:
Anyone that watched the miraculous finish between the Steelers and Broncos last week knew that Denver got off easy at home. Pittsburgh’s starting center, running back and strong safety were out for the game, Roethlisberger was seriously banged up, and two-thirds of the starting defensive line was knocked out in the first half. That’s not taking anything away from Tim Tebow’s performance, that’s just admitting the fact that the Steelers weren’t exactly the Steelers.
Tebow Time never showed up in Foxboro this weekend, as the Patriots had another one of their signature statement games. Already winning by three scores, the Brady Bunch went for a touchdown with a minute left in the first half, essentially snuffing out the Denver Tebows, and any interest that I had in the game.
New Orleans 32, San Francisco 36:
As many of you will remember, New Orleans is the landing spot of recently-departed Redskins practice squad offensive lineman Eric Olsen. This was his second game with the team (inactive), and one that did not end as joyfully as the first:
Still in disbelief…—
Eric Olsen (@EOlsen69) January 15, 2012
San Francisco happens to be the landing spot of former Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers, who had a shaky on defense, but came through when necessary. On the opposite sideline, his former defensive coordinator in Gregg Williams dialed up the blitz on Alex Smith, but couldn’t match the balanced 49ers’ attack.
Olsen now has the opportunity to clean out his locker for a second time this season, as Rogers stays at home for the NFC Championships next weekend.
Houston 13, Baltimore 20:
In the lead-up to the Ravens’ first playoff game, there was a rather contrived media frenzy about the importance of which team Redskins fans cheered for in regards to a Baltimore game. I resisted the urge to throw my two cents in before the game, but I will now: it doesn’t matter. Unless the Ravens or Texans are your team or AFC team, then you are simply a Redskins fan cheering for another team, as we all did. There is no ensuing judgment of loyalty to your Redskins or what have you, it simply doesn’t matter. When the Redskins aren’t in a football team, feel free to cheer for whichever team you so choose.
With that being said, this game featured a few obscure former Redskins, with Texans punter Matt Turk and Ravens special teamer Edgar Jones. We discussed Turk last week, but Jones was a bit of a training camp story in Washington after his vicious wallop in the Colts preseason game. That was a very scary moment at the time, and one that I’m very happy he walked away from.
This wasn’t a particularly pretty game for either team, but the Ravens made it out alive and travel to New England next week. With any luck, Beltway loyalties won’t make a return appearance in this week’s headlines.
New York Giants 37, Green Bay 20:
My playoff predictions may have been dead in the water after last week, but they’ve sunk like Atlantis with this game. The Packers were a Super Bowl favorite for many, but proved to be the only home team to lose in either of the first two rounds of the 2012 playoffs.
This game is of particular interest to the Redskins, because the Giants were victimized by the Redskins twice this season, constituting 40 percent of Washington’s wins. There is no question that the Giants are ready to play, but it begs the question of how that reflects on the Redskins. Redskins.com’s Gary Fitzgerald asked the same question and came to conclusion that it means very little, based on recent history. ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano was a bit more optimistic in his assessment, and encouraged fans to interpret the Giants’ success as they saw fit.
I’m personally a glass half-full analyzer who looks at how young this team was this year, and how the lockout obviously affected the cohesion of a rebuilt team. There are obvious needs going into the offseason, but this team isn’t that far away. Talent isn’t the question at this point, it’s a matter of consistency. Beating the Giants for the first time in years was a big deal, but doing it twice was unthinkable. If the Redskins can play like they did in those games over the course of a season, they’ll be playing meaningful games in December and January.
It’s easier said than done, but that’s the goal.
Oh, by the way, the Giants won and will play in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers.
Here was receiver Donte’ Stallworth’s reaction to the Packers-Giants game:
That's not even CLOSE…that was a FUMBLE!!!—
Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) January 15, 2012
Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) January 15, 2012
My thoughts exactly. What did you think of the second-round playoff action?
Tags: divisional weekend, NFL Playoffs, washington redskins
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