Redskins just beat the Jaguars in an amazing game - Santana Moss scored on a long touchdown to win the game 36-30. I noticed in this game in particular how much you really have to be lucky to win a close game like this was. The Redskins got two breaks in this game. First, at the end of the first half, they recovered a fumble that shouldn't have been ruled a fumble by Alvin Pearman of the Jags and were able to convert that into a field goal - a score they obviously needed considering the game went into overtime. Then, just the fact that they won the coin toss in overtime. Randy Cross, the CBS commentator for the game, mentioned that he thought that whoever won the coin toss would win the game given how well both offenses were playing - and he turned out to be right. Now, after getting those two breaks, the Redskins are riding an emotional high with their confidence up, having beaten a team that's been touted as a Super Bowl contender recently. The prospects for the season now seem just as bright as they were when the season opened. But just think, if they lose that coin toss and Jacksonville scores, we're staring at 1-3, which would likely be too deep a hole to dig out of.
Other thoughts about the game....for all my complaining and skepticism about Mark Brunell, he played well today against a very good team. The poor passes we saw in his horrific performance against Dallas in Week 2 were replaced for the most part by accurate and clutch throws....Speaking of clutch, Santana Moss has to be one of the highest value-per-touch receivers in the league. When he catches the ball, he always seems to make a big play. He had 4 catches today, and 3 of them were for touchdowns. It just shows how important speed is. The defense knows he has the ability to turn any play into a touchdown, and yet they still can't stop him....But the most important player on the team is without a doubt Clinton Portis. It's a thing of beauty to watch him patiently wait for holes in the line to develop and then burst through them. What sets him apart from other running backs is that he knows how to find the open space in the field. The team just has a whole different identity when he's on the field steadying the offense.
All that being said, the Redskins' defense still isn't quite where they were at the end of last year, when it was a playmaking machine that propelled the team into the playoffs. The front seven is still pressuring the quarterback well, but for that to be totally effective, they need better play from their secondary, and it's clear that they need Shawn Springs back and playing as soon as possible. They gave up some big passes down the field, especially a couple to Reggie Williams in the fourth quarter that really let the Jaguars back into the game.
So now, we're back to .500, there seems to be new life in the Redskins heading into next week's huge game against the Giants, who are coming off that awwwwful performance against the Seahawks. It'll be real interesting to see how both teams respond to two very different games.