So I guess this is one of those Decembers that actually matter?  The 17-16 victory over the New York Giants takes this team from pretender to contender in three weeks.  Much like 2005 and 2007 the Redskins have caught fire at the right time and are making a playoff push.  But for the first time since 1997, the Burgundy and Gold wins a Monday Night Football game at home– taking us back to the era of Al Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf.  Since then MNF has had both Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser in the booth…gone Madden…moved over to ESPN…and gotten rid of Hank Williams, Jr.  That goes back to Jack Kent Cooke Stadium and the famed “Raljon, MD” dateline.  Kids who were in the first grade trying to stay up late– they’re now finishing college.  Or halfway through their seven year stumble through higher learning.  And it wasn’t just a Tampa Bay or Detroit the Skins beat on the big stage:  it came against the most successful team in the division over the last decade–could this be another link in the franchise altering chain begun when Vinny Cerrato was flushed out of Ashburn four years ago?  Unlike the ’05 and ’07 runs, this team looks like they’ve not even reached the corner– let alone turned it.  It’s morning in Burgundy and Gold Nation.

 

RG3ver– is there a cabinet post for this guy?  It just seems as though there is nothing he can do wrong– even the fumble in the first quarter was advanced for a touchdown by Josh Morgan.  Griffin’s defense defying skills (over 60% completion rate…72 yards on 5 carries) turn the opposition inside out and the Offensive braintrust is using him better than expected.

Garcon IS ON– even with a foot that has issues… the #1 target played like one Monday night– notching 8 catches for 106 yards and the game winning touchdown.  Number one receivers not only put up stats– but they also make clutch plays like the 8 yard grab for a score in the 4th quarter.  NICE free agent pickup.

A Miscue for Mr. Morris– Alfred did lose a fumble… but didn’t Zac once think that Mr. Belding’s brother was the cool one– only to be ditched for a date with a flight attendant?  The fact that #46 rushed for 124 yards and passed the 1000 yard mark washes away a lot of mid-episode squirming (like hitting on the homeless girl… or thinking Johnny Dakota was cool when he was really a pot-head)…with smiles at the fadeout.  Well played, rookie.

Hold the Line– not only did the OL generate 207 rushing yards… but they also held the Giants to no sacks.  The best thing about this year’s unit?  We’re not talking about them as much as we have in years past.  In the preseason there was quite a bit of concern regarding the health and ability of the men in the trenches… and it’s nice to be proven wrong.

D’s grade much better– limiting the Giants to 122 yards and 3 points in the second half is one way you back up your quarterback.  Holding the Giants three and out after scoring the go-ahead TD is another way to build up a sullied reputation.  This after a first half where the G-Men scored three times in four drives (and missed a 42 yard field goal on the fourth).  Bending and bending and bending but not breaking, indeed.

London Calling– the aged linebacker is currently being held together with duct tape and rubber bands…and still produces 12 tackle efforts like the one he did Monday night.  It’s a shame he couldn’t have come to the Redskins earlier in his career.  His attention to detail in quarterbacking this defense can’t be underscored enough.

Dissecting the Division– the Giants remain in first despite having lost two of three (the traditional mid-season swoon by big blue)…while the Skins are one game back and currently own the division tiebreaker (3-1 to 2-3).  Dallas is in third because of its loss to the Skins on Thanksgiving (they play again in week 17).  Philadelphia?  One loss and one victory by the Cowboys and the Skins away from ending the Burgundy and Gold’s four year hold on last place.

Wildcard Dealings– three straight wins propel the Skins into 7th place in the NFC… one game behind Seattle and owning tiebreakers with the other three 6-6 teams (Dallas, Tampa Bay and Minnesota).  That’s why Sunday’s game with the Ravens isn’t a dealbreaker– they’d need to beat Philadelphia and Dallas to wrap up the season regardless.  But a defeat would give them no margin of error.

Divisional Dogfights…and a slimming Conference Chasm– thanks to a 3-1 Sunday… it’s now the AFC North that has the best mark at 27-21…with the NFC North one game behind at 26-22.  The NFC East?  In 7th place at 22-26.  But woe are both Wests:  while the AFC quartet is 18-30 and safely in last… the NFC four-pack is 24-22-2 after starting 14-6 (10-16-2 with more than a few unwatchable division duels).  After what appeared to be an NFC runaway, the Conference contest is becoming kind of close:  the AFC won all four interconference games last weekend to pull within 28-23.

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