- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Redskins’ defense rose to the occasion in capturing NFC East crown
When Rob Jackson picked off Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and sealed the Washington Redskins‘ NFC East-clinching victory Sunday night, the linebacker didn’t immediately grasp the magnitude of his accomplishment.
“I didn’t realize it at the time,” Jackson said. “I was just doing my job.”
Jackson and the rest of the defense made it a point to take the ball away and rid itself of a rotten reputation earned earlier in the season. During the seven-game winning streak to clinch a spot in the postseason, the defense forced 15 turnovers and clamped down on opposing offenses.
Those performances masked that the Redskins finished with the NFL’s 28th-ranked defense.
“I mean we’re good enough. We’re good enough to get to the playoffs. We’re good enough to win seven games in a row,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “It’s all about being hot at the right time. I think we’re playing better defense than most at this time of year, and that’s what’s important.”
In the first nine games, concluding with a Nov. 4 loss to Carolina that dropped Washington to 3-6, the Redskins allowed an average of 27.6 points. Since the bye week, the defense cut that number to 20 points a game.
“You know, it’s a testament to us and the way we bought into the system and the way guys have stepped up to make plays,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “Rob has played unbelievable this year, and to have a guy like that step up with such a loss like Brian Orakpo, it’s really cool.”
“Man, that’s one thing I’ve said all year. Our secondary’s been much-maligned; statistically we haven’t been great. But when they get their hands on the ball, they make a lot of plays,” Cofield said. “And when I say secondary, I mean our linebackers and our DBs. They got great hands, they’re playmakers, and they cash in on mistakes that opposing quarterbacks make. And that’s key for us.”
All season, the Redskins excelled at forcing quarterbacks into making mistakes. But they also gave up a lot of yards and needed turnovers as bailouts.
Holding the Cowboys to 296 yards was a good first step but not enough for the veteran leaders.
“I hear, ‘Bend but don’t break.’ We don’t want to bend or break,” Cofield said. “Whether we’re playing our best or, we definitely want to play better.”
Playing better includes trying to contain Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this Sunday in the first round of the NFC playoffs. It also means keeping up with the accomplishments of quarterback Robert Griffin III, running back Alfred Morris and the rest of the offense, which has received much of the credit for this run.
“We don’t have a problem at all playing the back burner to some of these guys on offense because they are superstars in their own right. So we don’t mind it at all,” cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “Offense gets the glory, defense wins championships. Everybody in this locker room knows that, everybody in the world knows that.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Malaysia Airlines says plane on route to Beijing missing
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again