- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Happy thousands streamed from FedEx Field into late-afternoon sunshine, the surge of elation over the last-minute dramatics they witnessed overwhelming the unsettling reality of what almost happened.

The Redskins survived.

And, really, that’s the only thing that mattered Sunday.


Look too closely and the meaning of the 45-41 win over the Bears could be lost. Overwhelmed by the well-intentioned, but mistaken, belief that beating Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown in the game’s final seconds somehow turned around this battered season. Or overwhelmed, too, by focus on the head-scatching breakdowns by the Redskins that have become routine, from the continuing special teams woes to Brandon Meriweather’s affinity for helmet-to-helmet collisions.

Hillary Mozeik of Ocean City, Md., left, and Alyssa Kress of Olney, Md., right, celebrates as Washington Redskins running back Roy Helu (29) scores the go-ahead touchdown on a 3 yard run late in the fourth quarter as the Washington Redskins defeat the Chicago Bears 45-41 at FedExField, Landover, Md., Sunday, October 20, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
Hillary Mozeik of Ocean City, Md., left, and Alyssa Kress of Olney, ... more >

Instead, the Redskins kept alive the flickering hopes for this season that still can be saved.

They had no choice.

The season teetered on the precipice of all-out failure — imagine facing the Broncos’ offensive meat-grinder in Denver next week with a 1-5 record — but the Redskins found a way to pull back from the brink.

“We still have a hole to get out of,” Robert Griffin III said.

Washington knocked out quarterback Jay Cutler with an injured groin early in the second quarter. McCown, the 34-year-old journeyman who threw 61 passes over the last five seasons, replaced him.

Fail to beat as pedestrian a quarterback as McCown? Well, the ugliness and discontent that simmered through the first part of the season would look mild by comparison.

The fortuitous turn of events provided the Redskins a can’t-miss opportunity. Sure, what followed wasn’t pretty. This game didn’t make them a good football team. But in a nod to the spirit of last season, they showed the pluck to overcome critical turnovers and penalties that boggle the mind and, somehow, emerge on the right side of the scoreboard.

This wasn’t easy. This wasn’t pretty.

For every moment when the Redskins looked to put together a few minutes of solid football, another mistake reared up. Like the first drive, when Griffin’s 38-yard pass to rookie tight end Jordan Reed was followed by a fumble eventually recovered by the Redskins for a 17-yard loss. The game went like that.

Once again, they were their own worst enemy.

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