Two short weeks ago, the 2-0 Washington Redskins were viewed by the football-watching world as an afterthought. Heading into tonight's Monday Night Football showdown with their arch-rival Dallas Cowboys, however, the burgundy and gold are suddenly a sexy story.
Like the emerging 3-0 Detroit Lions and Buffalo "Really?" Bills, the Redskins quick start has forced people to sit up and take notice.
It started in week one with their surprisingly convincing, 28-14 home win over divisional nemesis the New York Giants. In that game, the Redskins were, quite simply, the better team. Forget the "Giants were injured" angle. If you watched the NFL at all this week, you know about "any given Sunday." The Giants had owned the Redskins, for a very long time, and no one would have been surprised had said ownage continued.
It did not. Emphatically.
And it was more than "just" starting 1-0, by the way. In that game the Redskins re-vitalized defense came up with a play that, it says here, will be recorded in unofficial lore as the Turning Point. Rookie draft pick. Blue collar. Deflected pass, returned for stadium-rocking touchdown. Shades of Hogeboom and Grant (Wham! Bam! It's the Redskins!).
Oh, I know...very different stages. Just planting that flag in the ground here and now.
Then, in week two, the Redskins won a game that they would have lost in recent years—a game they dominated in every way except on the scoreboard. How many times have we seen it over the past generation ... the Redskins domintate time of possession, yardage, the run of play in general ... only to come up short on the one stat that, at the end of the day, anyone really cares about—the scoreboard.
In the NFL it's about finishing, and for 20 years that has been the one thing the Redksins have not been able to do. But last week, in crunch time, it was the Redskins who made the big stop. It was the Redskins who converted the big third down (and fourth for that matter).
And last week, for a refereshing change, it was the other team feeling they "let one slip away."
Redskins 22, Cardinals 21.
Think there isn't a big difference between 2-0 and 1-1? Just ask Dallas.