The loud sigh you heard inside the beltway Sunday had nothing to do with anything regarding the potential government shutdown…could you imagine two weeks of talking about an 0-4 Redskins team? Instead, the 24-14 come from behind victory at Oakland means the team enters October on an upswing and out of last place in the NFC East…giving the team a chance to rectify itself before beginning a run of four road games over six weeks. Will they run off seven straight victories like last fall? Unlikely. But a win can be the start of staggering back into the playoff race.

It’s still a Win– even though it’s Oakland. A very bad Oakland with Matt Flynn at quarterback. Remember when he was the Scott Mitchell of the free agent quarterback crop in January-February 2012? And his name was bandied about as a potential Redskins free agent pickup? I shudder to think of a Burgundy and Gold world where the Shanahan administration had moved on the ex-Packer instead of Seattle. Simply put, Flynn was very bad Sunday…and sometimes all you need to turn things around is the other side being much worse (witness Philadelphia in week 11 last year).

RG3ver– he didn’t throw for 300+ yards… and I’m good with that. I like the no turnovers…and only getting sacked once. I also like making a key pass on third and goal in the third quarter to give the Skins their first second half lead of the season. Something to build on as his timing gets better…

Mr. Morris is missing– bruised ribs are not ideal…wasn’t it Slater though who hurt his shoulder when Zack dinged up Mrs. Turtle’s car during the Tori half-season? Alfred was on his way to reaching the century mark before getting knocked out of the game…although Roy Helu Jr. played well in relief– following up a 28 yard reception with a 14 yard run and leap for the game-clinching touchdown. Could we see more of a two-back system after the bye week?

Developing Duo– Pierre Garcon tallies 6 catches for 59 yards and a TD…putting him on pace for 116 grabs and 1300+ yards. Meanwhile, Leonard Hankerson has another solid week (4-49) and continues to develop as a third down option– he was targeted on 5 of 13 third down passes. In a season where it appears as though the tight end is a committee where the jury remains out, it’s nice to have two downfield targets.

Third and less than ideal– the Skins went 5 of 16… with RG3 completing 7 of 13 passes for 104 yards and a TD on the money down. On his longest completion (33 yards) Logan Paulsen wound up fumbling the ball…contributing to the six to one, half-dozen to the other feel of the afternoon. Yardage breakdown: 1 for 3 on 3rd and short, 1-4 on 3rd and medium (4 to 6 yards needed) and 3-9 on 3rd and long. Still way too many third and long situations…

Defense does itself proud– from London Fletcher and Perry Riley combining for 19 tackles to David Amerson’s interception return fo a TD…the D held Oakland in check after allowing an 10-play, 81-yard drive on the Raiders’ second possession. Two 3 and outs to begin the second half, followed by a missed field goal after the Logan Paulsen fumble. The defense got off the field on 12 of 17 third downs. And here’s the payoff– the Skins improve to 31st overall in total defense. Baby steps, gang.

Seventh Sack Heaven– the pass rush turned on the jets with seven sacks–including two from Ryan Kerrigan (giving him 5 on the season), Bryan Orakpo (3) and Barry Cofield (2). Getting pressure from both wings and the middle is huge. And if the two bookends (“O-K Corral”, anybody?) want to live up to their first round pedigree this fall…Sunday was a start.

Turnovers Telling the Tale– takeaways can mask whatever ails you…and Amerson’s INT return for a score helped erase a bad first half and give some hope to what was a slowly sinking ship. Cofield’s fumble recovery in the fourth quarter set up the game-clinching score. Sometimes the quality of the takeaway is more important than the quantity.

Safety on a Streak– Brandon Merriweather played all four quarters for a second straight week…which is something. I don’t know if its the start of something…or something of a start. But it’s good in hte 3-4 to have the lynchpin to the secondary in place.

Special Teams? Are you serious?– so the blocked punt for an Oakland score was not ideal…neither was the Raiders being able to convert a 4th and 1 out of a fake punt formation. Each miscue led to an Oakland touchdown…which perhaps underscores the Raiders ineptitude against the Skins D.

Cobra Kai– perhaps this is similar to “European Vacation”…where Zabka’s “Jack” makes a splash in the scene before the Griswold’s take flight by getting a vote from Audrey for family leader, only never to be seen again. Is that the world that Mr. Forbath faces in 2013? John Potter connected on a 25 yard field goal and remained perfect on extra point attempts. If Forbath’s groin isn’t healed up by week six, prepare yourselves for a “Just One of the Guys” breakdown.

Dissecting the division of depression– Dallas with a 2-2 record leads NFC Least…with Philadelphia owning the tiebreaker with the Skins for second place. Leaving the 0-4 New York Giants all by themselves in last place…last place of a division with a combined 4-12 record. Of the eight divisions, that’s the worst (AFC North is 6-10, NFC South is 6-9) after four weeks. And just to prove its never to early to go Christmas shopping in March, ESPN.COM has a Playoff Standings page. The Skins rank 13th thanks to taking the strength of victory tiebreaker over Minnesota. But… if Dallas loses to Denver (not out of the realm of possibility) the October 13th matchup against the Cowboys could be for first place. As the NFC East resembles the dear departed Big East football conference.

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