Eight games over thirteen months is a lifetime to an NFL fanbase.  That’s how long the Redskins hadn’t won at Fed Ex Field;  the fifth longest home losing streak in league history.  We’re talking the late 80’s Cowboys and the expansion Buccaneers… the Rich Kotite Jets and Matt Millen Lions.  Thanks to a 38-26 win over Minnesota, the streak of shame is snapped– and now Redskins Nation can go back to focusing on two rookie seasons that continue to impress and a team that may wind up in the playoff race a lot longer than initially expected.

RG3ver– another week of WOW.  The “I can’t believe he’s actually a rookie” quarterback completed 17 of 22 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown… while running for a team record for a quarterback 138 yards and two scores–including the victory-sealing 76 yard scamper in the 4th quarter.  A franchise flashpoint that has the burgundy and gold faithful excited about this team in a way not seen in decades.  It’s easy to draft a Heisman trophy winner– there’s a new one every season– but finding the correct player to go “all in” on…that takes skill. 

Alfred the underused– after becoming the second rookie to run for at least 75 yards in his first four games (Eric Dickerson-1983) #46 was held to 47 yards on 16 tries against a defense tied for 8th in fewest yards per carry allowed.  Morris also added a reception (third of the season)… becoming more of an option in the passing game.

Garcon out;  no small Moss– with the #1 receiver sidelined again with an injured foot. Santana Moss led the team in receiving with 4 caches and 46 yards.  While the Moss of 2005 and even the 2008 version is long gone, here’s a veteran who can provide clutch catches when needed (2 receptions on third down).

Hold the Line– the much maligned offensive line allowed just one sack and helped propel the running game to 183 yards.  One wonders when the team will make a decision on Jammal Brown… and how long rookies Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis will remain inactive on Sundays.

Third down half-full or half-empty?– the Skins converted half of their 12 third down attempts… including 5 in a row at one point.  Robert Griffin III completed 3 of 5 third down passes with 1 interceptions… converting on 1 of Santana Moss’s 2 third down catches.  RG3 converted 3 of 4 third down runs– including the 76 yard game-clinching scamper for a score.  Alfred Morris got the call 3 times, converting 2 and getting his touchdown on a third and goal from the 1.  Distance breakdown:  3/5 on third and 1-3 (including Morris’ TD), 2/2 on third and 4-6 (including RG3’s TD), 1/5 on third and  7+.

D earns another good grade– the Skins made three third down stops on the first three Viking drives… each in the red zone.  Instead of trailing 17-0 or 21-0… a more than manageable 9 point deficit for Griffin and company to rally past.  The pass rush also generated 4 sacks (they began the day ranked 28th in sack %).  The D also tallied a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery;  DeAngelo Hall’s pick ended the Vikings’ last drive…while Lorenzo Alexander’s fumble recovery set up the TD that made the score 17-9 at the end of the first half.

Safety First–  while linebacker Perry Riley led the team with 13 tackles (7 solo)… Madieu Williams made a major difference in the secondary:  12 stops (8 solo) along with an interception return for a touchdown.  It’s the fourth defensive touchdown of the season for a unit that’s making more than its share of big plays.  You almost want the league to employ creative accounting and take 28 points off the Skins’ 173 points allowed… although it would only bump the team up from 27th to 22nd in that category.

Kicking with Kai– the UCLA grad made all 5 extra points and added a 50 yard field goal in his debut.  Before you go out and purchase those #2 jerseys– keep in mind he’s the 19th kicker in 18 years for the burgundy and gold.  I saw the list last week and just like Grover Cleveland is the 22nd and 24th president, Eddie Murray is the 1st and 9th kicker.

Dissecting the Division– the NY Giants lead the NFC East at 4-2 after their smackdown of San Francisco;  Big Blue is 0-2 against the division but 4-0 against the rest of the world.  Philadelphia owns the division tiebreaker for second thanks to a 1-0 NFC East mark.  The Skins hold down third and are one of three teams (San Francisco and Pittsburgh) that have yet to play a division game this fall.  Dallas drops to last place with a two point loss at Baltimore.

Best and Worst of the West– While the NFC West has the best record at 15-9, they’re being gained on by the NFC North (13-9)… and that division has all 4 teams averaging 20+ points a game.  But the NFC West can boast all four teams allowing fewer than 20 a contest.  Right now the AFC doesn’t have a division with a winning record;  and the AFC West is 8-15 with two .500 teams and 2 one win teams.  Can they be swapped out for the SEC West if nobody finishes with a winning record again?

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