DALY: For Redskins, edge-of-your-seat thrills that last 60 minutes

ANALYSIS/OPINION: 

A quarter of the way through the schedule, the Washington Redskins are 2-2. This, obviously, is neither good nor bad. No .500 team has gone on to win the Super Bowl (though the New York Giants pulled it off at 9-7 last year). Still, a record like that isn’t apt to cause any Redskins fans to flambe their season tickets.

There’s one thing you can say about the team, though, that’s unequivocally positive. Actually, there are several things you can say about the team that are unequivocally positive, but let’s start with this one: The Redskins play, arguably, the most exciting games in the NFL. When the Redskins take the field, stuff happens.

It might not necessarily be stuff you want to see happen, but you have to take the bitter with the sweet.. At any rate, 246 points have been scored in their four games, an average of 61.5 a week — and a total that only the Buffalo Bills (also 246) can match. But the Redskins have the edge over Buffalo, it says here, because they’ve played four one-possession games (final margins: 8, 3, 7 and 2 points). The Bills haven’t played any (20, 18, 10 and 24).

What more could you want from an entertainment standpoint — other than a Lombardi Trophy, I mean? It’s like the Redskins have gone back in time, to the early 1960s, and joined the American Football League.

Or maybe they’ve just morphed into the 1966-67 Redskins, the Sonny Jurgensen/pre-Vince Lombardi Redskins, who once won a game 72-41. But even those clubs didn’t produce as much fireworks, week in and week out, as we’re seeing this year.

And let’s face it, the Redskins haven’t exactly been a thrill a minute in recent seasons. An ulcer a minute, certainly, an expletive a minute, but not a thrill a minute. No, the goose bumps have flown south for the winter — a winter that has lasted, almost without interruption, for two decades.

But now we have two rookies, Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, putting the excitement back in the offense and a secondary bringing back memories of the Pearl Harbor Crew in the ‘80s. It all adds up to Redskins 40, Saints 32. Unless it adds up to Bengals 38, Redskins 31. Or Rams 31, Redskins 28. Or you get the idea.

At any rate, it sure beats the alternative — the one Redskins fans have been living with since the last championship season in 1991. Amazingly, Griffin, who came to Washington riding a tidal wave of hype, has exceeded expectations. Through four weeks, he’s the fourth-rated passer in the league (103.2 rating), is averaging 330.5 yards a game (running and throwing) and has been intercepted just once in 124 attempts.

Better still, he’s played well enough to win every time out and, just as important, has shown the ability to take the team down the field in the closing minutes. You don’t often find that kind of consistency, that kind of poise, in a quarterback so young (22). With RG3 under center, games are no longer just games, they’re events — like in the good old days of George Allen and Joe Gibbs.

Morris, meanwhile, is fifth in the NFL in rushing with 376 yards (a healthy 4.6 average). He, too, has been a factor every time out, never rushing for less than 78 yards. The only issue with him is that he doesn’t seem to avoid much contact, which could take a toll over time. But for a sixth-round pick, you couldn’t ask for more.

Morris is another reminder that you can find a productive running back anywhere in the draft. What was Alfred taken, 173rd? Well, Larry Brown went 191st, Terry Allen went 241st and Earnest Byner went 280th. All had multiple 1,000-yard seasons with the Redskins (as did Stephen Davis, a fourth-rounder).

The secondary is at the other end of the spectrum — though, like a roadside accident, it’s still hard to take your eyes off of it. In fairness, it held up admirably against Drew Brees, but then it let St. Louis’ Danny Amendola run amok for 15 receptions, and it’s gone steadily downhill since, giving up a nightmarish succession of big plays. At this point, about the only thing it defends well is the spike to stop the clock. (The absence of pass rusher Brian Orakpo, who’s out for the season, doesn’t help.)

No matter. Maybe Jim Haslett and Raheem Morris will get the unit sorted out, maybe they won’t. But in the meantime, the Redskins have scored 123 points, given up 123 and been utterly watchable in the process. Who wouldn’t drink to that?

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About the Author
Dan Daly

Dan Daly

Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at ddaly@washingtontimes.com.

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