A Sports Commentary
The Washington Redskins first legitimate playoff run in five years has fans truly excited. The Redskins beat the Baltimore Ravens 31-28 in overtime Sunday, and now, the postseason seems like a real possibility. With four consecutive wins and three average opponents left, fans are harkening back to 1982 to 1991, when the team seemed to dominate the month of December.
Tailgate parties are bigger than ever. The parking lot is full of bands wearing burgundy and gold. The upper level of the stadium is packed, again. Even the diesel horn can be heard as you enter the stadium. None of these things have occurred with any regularity since the Redskins left RFK Stadium in 1997.
Following many years of bad players, endless losing and no luck, the Redskins are actually getting some breaks. Washington lost its MVP-candidate quarterback only to have their rookie backup pass for the tying touchdown and run for a two-point conversion. They had a lost fumble overturned by the slimmest of margins that in all likelihood would have ended the game with a Baltimore victory. Their rookie kicker is 14 for 14, including Sunday's game-winner.
But the Redskins are 7-6 after the overtime victory against Baltimore, which followed a 17-16 win over the New York Giants on Monday night, a gut-check win in Dallas on Thanksgiving and a beat down of division foe Philadelphia. It was the Redskins best month since they finished the 2007 regular season 4-0 and qualified for the playoffs.
These days, FedEx Field is full of Griffin jerseys, the No. 1 seller in the NFL. The crowd of more than 81,000 hung around to the end of the game instead of leaving when the Ravens took the lead 28-20 with 4:47 left. Fans were confident that Griffin could lead the Redskins to victory. When he was injured scrambling, the crowd looked to backup Kirk Cousins to make a play. As fate would have it, Cousins came off the bench ice cold and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass. If that wasn't enough, he followed it up with a 2-point conversion run.
Fans have rediscovered their excitement for the Redskins. Even young fans hearing stories of the stands at RFK literally shaking during the Super Bowl years no longer believe they're myths tied to Redskins' folklore.
The past four weeks have fans believing that the team may have actually turned around. We'll have to wait and see, but three more wins could have the Redskins back in the playoffs.