The Washington Redskins have played with a chip on their shoulder pretty much all season, and Sunday night was another example of that. Facing the Green Bay Packers – a team that beat them 35-18 in the Wild Card playoffs last year – the Redskins walloped the green and gold, 42-24, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 375 yards and three touchdowns.
Needless to say, this one felt really good for the Redskins.
“They were not really respected last year – for good reason,” Washington’s 106.7 The Fan Redskins insider Brian McNally said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’m not even denying that should have happened. They won a bad division. They were 9-7. They kind of knew they won a bad division. They were kind of exposed by the Packers in the playoffs. This year for the Redskins is all about prove it – prove that you were not a fluke last year, that you’re actually going to be able to make consecutive playoff berths for the first time since the early 90s. All of that comes into play. Those players internalize it every day. They hear it every day. They hear the doubts, especially locally. It’s hard for them to believe after the Robert Griffin III fiasco. They won the division in 2012 and it all came spectacularly apart. No one really wants to believe here. This team has kind of internalized all that and it fuels them. No one thinks they’re going to win in Dallas this weekend, but that’s where that comes from. That chip on the shoulder comes from the fact that they haven’t been successful across multiple seasons in a long, long time, and this is an opportunity for them to show that they’re legitimate and relevant again in the NFL.”
The Redskins (6-3-1) play their next three games on the road, beginning with a Thanksgiving showdown with Dallas (9-1) at 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. Washington lost at home to Dallas, 27-23, in Week 2.
“It was one of those classic 50/50 games and I remember not thinking too much of the Cowboys at the time,” McNally said. “Dak Prescott, it was his second game in place of Tony Romo, and you just figured, ‘Well, the league will figure him out. He’s not going to be over-the-top good.’ I don’t remember Ezekiel Elliott really going off on them – and you can run on the Redskins a little bit. I don’t remember coming out of that game thinking anything other than, ‘The NFC East is about what we thought it was. It’s going to be another 9-7 winner, and well go from there.’ Well now we’re at Thanksgiving Day, and the Cowboys already have nine wins. They’ve already matched the Redskins from last year, which is remarkable.”
The Redskins, who started the year 0-2, have gone 6-1-1 in their last eight games but still trail the Cowboys and Giants (7-3-1) in a stacked NFC East.
“They were in an 0-2 hole and have done well to fight themselves out of it,” McNally said. “But at this point, unless they get a win on Thursday and get a lot of help, it’s tough to imagine anybody catching Dallas.”
Then again, if Robert Kelley keeps playing like he did Sunday, the Redskins aren’t going to lose many more games. The rookie rushed 24 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
“This is a guy that was kind of an afterthought at Tulane, which is itself an afterthought,” McNally said. “He was kind of a role player his senior year. (He went) undrafted, and the Redskins brought him into camp. The Redskins didn’t do anything to address their running back situation in the offseason. They let Alfred Morris go. He went to Dallas. They let Matt Jones kind of take over as the No. 1 back. He’s in his second year and showed flashes as rookie but also had a fumbling problem. That reared its ugly head midseason a couple weeks ago against Detroit. Jones also got hurt and had a knee injury. He’s healthy now, but he’s not getting his job back anytime soon. Rob Kelley got a chance, and what they love about him is he doesn’t go down. He has an innate ability to take contact at the line of scrimmage and fall forward two yards, to make something out of nothing. It’s been quite a find from GM Scot McCloughan and his staff, but Rob Kelley wasn’t really even supposed to make the roster out of training camp. He played well enough, earned a spot, was a backup to Matt Jones and now he’s got the job all by himself.”