Forgive Burgundy and Gold Optimism surrounding a last-second bailout of a home game they should have won going away.  Starting 2-2 with a division win is much better than the alternative we’ve seen early and often the last few seasons–no, make that quite a few seasons.  Will the schedule get more challenging?  Of course…Atlanta and New England are just two of the venues this team has to visit.  However, if this team started 1-3 despite having three of their first four at home and had an 0-2 division hole to climb out of…we’ll lets just say there would be a lot more empty seats for Skins-Tampa Bay October 25th.

Kirk Beams Up– 30+ completions again while throwing no interceptions this week (I think it’s an odd-even thing, meaning watch out in Atlanta).  Cousins’ ability to guide the offense 90 yards on 15 carries to score the gamewinning touchdown was season-altering.  Comcast Sports Net reported that it was the first last-minute game-winning TD pass at home for a Redskins quarterback since Joe Theismann led the defending champs past the Raiders in 1983 (the silver and black would exact revenge in Super Bowl XVIII)…which is pretty amazing.  The work in progress continues to work and progress.

Saved By the Backfield– Sometimes Slater can’t carry the show…and that’s when you go back to Mr. Morris.  Alfred ran 17 times for 62 yards to provide the main cog while Matt Jones spun his wheels with 11 yards on 7 tries.  Chris Thompson’s early 42-yard scamper set up an early field goal.  Consistent commitment to the ground game results in another lopsided time of possession advantage (41:08 to 18:52 this time).

Third and Encouraging– the Skins converted 9 of 17 third downs.  Cousins completed 10 of 13 passes (for 8 conversions) while getting sacked once…and the team ran 3 times on third down (converting once).  The top target?  Jamison Crowder (5 targets, 4 catches, 3 conversions).  Yardage breakdown:  3-3 on third and less than 4 yards, 3-3 on third and 4-6 yards needed, 3-9 on third and 7+.

The Defense Rests– what’s nice about keeping the ball for over 40 minutes and moving the chains a majority of the time is a rested defensive unit that was effective despite what should be a soft secondary.  One wonders when teams will try to exploit a defensive backfield diminished by injuries.  Until then, it’s a unit that ranks 6th best in yards allowed, 10th best in points given up and 3rd in stopping opponents on third down.  Much better than the last few years…

Flying Flags– ten penalties for 110 yards continues a less than ideal trend…as the Skins 35 infractions over 4 games are fifth most in the league (the 309 yards charged are sixth highest in the NFL).  Four on offense (with two more that don’t count because they were declined), four on defense (including a pair of unnecessary roughness penalties on Trenton Robinson) and two more on special teams.  Jordan Reed’s 5 flags for the season have the tight end in the early lead.  Which penalty hurt the most?  Robinson’s fourth quarter unnecessary roughness penalty that turned a 2nd & 6 from the Philly 46 into a 1st & 10 from the Skins 39;  the Eagles scored on the next play.

Dissecting the Division– despite Dallas’ loss, the Cowboys stand atop the NFC East because of their 2-0 division record.  The Giants win the tiebreaker for second because they beat the Redskins in week 3…and Philadelphia holds down last place at 1-3 with an 0-2 division record.  Could the streak of fourth place finishes end at two?

The South Rises Again– after four weeks the NFC South has the early lead as the division to beat…boasting a composite 10-6 behind Atlanta and Carolina’s 4-0 starts.  Their opposite number, the AFC South, brings up the rear with a 5-10 mark.  The Colts are sooo thankful for the 2002 realignment.  The NFC East?  A happily middling 7-9.  On to October…

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