- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Colt McCoy once helped save the life of a NASA engineer.

So why would it surprise anyone that he would save a football franchise?

McCoy saved the Washington Redskins from themselves Monday night, leading the team to a dramatic 20-17 overtime upset over the Dallas Cowboy at Jerry Jones’ Pleasure Palace in Arlington, Texas.

With the franchise drowning in a pool of national embarrassment, analysts laughed at the notion of the 2-5 Redskins — with those two wins coming against two of the worst teams in the NFL — going to Dallas and beating the team with the best record in the league.

The Redskins had not beaten an NFC opponent since they defeated the Cowboys in the last regular-season 2012 game. And now their hopes to stop that rested on the arm of a third-string quarterback.

SEE ALSO: Robert Griffin III ‘close’ to returning, leaving Redskins’ backup QB spot in flux

“The third-string quarterback — most of the time, those guys are over there chewing seeds, no awareness of all of what the game is going and how it’s going,” left tackle Trent Williams said.

But there was something different about this one. I know this is some abstract Disney, “Field of Dreams”-like foolishness, but I saw something in Colt McCoy in his press conference following the 19-17 win over the Tennessee Titans on October 19.

I saw a quarterback who never thought he would get this moment — a quarterback who clearly never took anything for granted in the NFL, after bouncing around following being picked by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2010 draft.

I saw a man stripped of any entitlement.

“The league is very unforgiving,” McCoy said following the Tennessee game. “I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to still be able to play. … I’m just thankful that I’m here.”

The Redskins were equally thankful Monday night as McCoy completed 25 of 30 passes for 299 yards, completing passes to eight different receivers, and, when it counted the most, converting one third down after another in the second half.

Meanwhile, watching from the wings again was Robert Griffin III, who missed his sixth consecutive game since dislocating his ankle in Week 2.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed Griffin’s confidence that he is still the quarterback — if and when he is ready to be the quarterback — minutes after the quarterback who will have to go back to the bench gave the coach an NFL win he didn’t have to hold his nose to enjoy.

“We went into training camp and did all the OTAs with Robert Griffin as our starter, so when Robert’s back, Robert’s our starter,” Gruden told reporters. “That hasn’t changed. I haven’t varied off of that or wavered off of that. In my mind, Robert, when he’s ready, he’ll be ready to go.”

Is he kidding?

When Griffin went down and was replaced by Kirk Cousins, Gruden was asked if Cousins might permanently replace Griffin as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback. His answer? “Crazy things have happened in the NFL. I’m not going to discount anything.”

Like your third-string quarterback leading the team to its biggest victory of the year.

The Redskins travel to Minnesota on Sunday to face the Vikings, and how can you possibly not start Colt McCoy in that game after what he did Monday night? I know Griffin is the Heisman Trophy winner with all-world talent who was acquired for a king’s ransom. I know McCoy’s middle name has become “journeyman.”

But you can’t bench the quarterback who turned in the best performance you’ve seen this season in the biggest game — especially when the best thing for Griffin may be, as he quoted Winston Churchill last week, to continue to “sit down and listen” — and give that ankle more time to heal.

Griffin came up aces when Cousins played himself out of the job. If McCoy is the quarterback that many people believe he is, he will do the same thing. Then Griffin can return as the savior — embraced, not resented.

Monday night’s win was the Redskins‘ first overtime victory over Dallas since Nov. 2, 1975, when Billy Kilmer ran for 1 yard to give Washington a 30-24 win.

Billy Kilmer. He remind you of anyone?

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com

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