After letting the dust settle from Sunday’s 31-30 come from behind win over Tampa Bay, Redskins Nation has to be wondering– what exactly happened?  And can this happen seven or eight more times between now and January?  Just don’t call Sunday’s win a homecoming victory.  It’s “Alumni Weekend”!  Former players and coaches coming home, if you will, to Fed Ex Field to celebrate their past.  Nothing at all like a “homecoming”!

Kirk Beams Up– the NFC Offensive Player of the Week enjoyed a monster day…with 33 completions (tying a team record) for 317 yards (still wish they could stretch the field a little more) and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.  That’s two last-minute touchdown passes in seven games.  Sunday’s win keeps the dogs at bay–at least for a few weeks after the bye.  Could you have imagined what would have happened had things continued on that downward spiral?

Run Aground– Alfred Morris MIA.  The guy wearing #46 is not the 1,000 yard back from his first three years– he’s on a pace to gain 690 yards this year.  And that doesn’t take into account the fact that he’s been limited to 41 yards on 25 carries the last three weeks.  How many carries will he get after the bye?  And will he drop to the third back in the Morris-Jones-Thompson rotation?

Third and Not Half Bad– after failing to convert any of their 5 first half third down attempts, the Skins moved the chains on 5 of 6 after intermission…including 2 touchdown passes from Cousins to Jordan Reed.  Reed and Andre Roberts were the most popular targets (3 apiece), with Roberts’ only catch a 38-yard conversion and Reed notching three receptions with two conversions.  Cousins completed 6 of 9 passes (he lost that fumble on a third down sack) while Darrel Young carried on the only third down run…converting.  Yardage breakdown:  short 1-3, medium 4-5, long 0-3.  Nice to see over 70% of the team’s third downs needing six yards or less.

Situational Defense– after getting roasted the first three times the Buccaneers had the football (allowing 17 points), the D held Jameis Winston and company to 17 total yards on 12 plays over their next three possessions.  While still being exposed for big plays (Mike Evans lit up the secondary like the cigar he smoked last year), the defense held the Bucs to a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter when a touchdown would have been deadly.  Thank you Bashaud Breeland for running down Doug martin on his 49-yard run.  There are still things that need to be fixed and with Ryan Kerrigan’s broken hand the defense might be worse before it gets better…but a win going into the bye week cures many ills.

Special Teams– okay, I’m finally going to use the term “special” to refer to the kicking game.  For the last few years one has just been hoping the kicking units wouldn’t lose games.  Sunday the onside kick helped them win one.  Props to Derek Hopkins…you’ll never inspire “Karate Kid” columns, but you helped this team win.

Flying Flags– sixteen penalties for 142 yards–against the Buccaneers.  That is how you derail a great chance to win on the road.  As for the Skins…only four penalties for 20 yards?  Who are these people?  All were against the offense:  two false starts (one on Kirk Cousins), a delay of game (Cousins) and an illegal shift.  The other false start was technically against 4/5 of the offensive line, but was actually probably more on center Josh LeRibeus’ shoulders for not snapping the ball on the correct count.  The illegal shift in the second quarter helped squelch a drive:  instead of converting on 4th & 2 with a chance to add some more points right before intermission, the Skins had to punt on 4th and 7 at midfield.  Cousins’ delay of game was also costly:  they were unable to convert a 3rd & 14…and had to kick a field goal in the 4th quarter.  A four point swing that would have cost them if Tampa Bay had been able to score a TD from the 1 on their next drive.  After a rough start where they were in the top five in penalties and yards penalized, the Skins are now 16th in flags and 17th in yards lost.

Dissecting the Division– the New York Giants take over first place with their 27-20 win over Dallas…although they have the sixth best record in the NFC they’d get the #4 seed.  The Redskins week four win over Philadelphia means the Burgundy and Gold are 2nd in the division and 8th in the conference…owning the NFC record tiebreaker with Seattle and New Orleans.  Dallas?  Last place at 2-4…and 12th in the conference thanks to a better NFC record than Tampa Bay and Chicago.  When does Romo get back?

Southern Lights-and Frights– the NFC South owns the best division record…starting the year at 17-9.  Last year’s division winner went 7-8-1!  The worst– AFC South is 8-19…as the Colts count their lucky stars.  The NFC East?  Seventh place at 12-15…not exactly the SEC-or even the SEC East.

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