By Rich Tandler
They say a win is a win but the truth is that not all wins are created equal.
As we all well remember, last year the Redskins posted a home win over a division opponent in the season opener at FedEx Field. That did not help them much as they won just five more games the rest of the year and finished 6-10.
The Redskins are again 1-0 after beating another NFC East foe, the Giants. But this was a more solid overall performance, much better in fact.
Last year, Dallas outgained the Redskins 380 yards to 250. Yesterday the Redskins posted 332 yards to New York’s 315. That’s not much of an advantage but it beats getting outgained by 130 yards.
The Redskins got much better play out of Rex Grossman yesterday than they got from Donovan McNabb in his debut with the team. McNabb completed fewer than half of his passes (15 for 32) for 171 yards (4.9 yards/attempt). Yesterday Grossman attempted only two more passes than McNabb did last year but he passed for 305 yards (8.9 yards/attempt).
The Dallas win had a fluky feel to it for reasons beyond the statistics. The Redskins took a 10-0 lead into halftime only because Wade Phillips lost his mind (OK, situation normal there) and allowed Tony Romo to throw a meaningless little pass to Tashard Choice in Dallas territory at the end of the half. Of course, DeAngelo Hall stripped the ball away and scooted 32 yards for the touchdown.
That was a great play by Hall, no doubt, but still a fluke. The holding penalty that wiped out a last play Romo touchdown pass was no fluke—Brian Orakpo was being legitimately held and he would have gotten to Romo if not for the foul—but referees keep their flags in their pockets after legitimate holds all the time.
The Redskins did get one lucky break yesterday when the Giants’ Antrel Rolle committed an unnecessary roughness foul that allowed the Redskins to keep their clinching fourth-quarter drive alive. And even after that they had to convert two third downs to move in for the kill.
While the Redskins were far from perfect, they outplayed the Giants yesterday, pure and simple. You couldn’t say that of the win over Dallas a year ago.
It would be dangerous to overplay the significance of yesterday and conclude that the Redskins are in for a big year. But yesterday certainly was a good start.