All things big four D.C. sports (Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Capitals)
Author: Robby Fletcher
I'm a Multimedia Journalism major at Virginia Tech where I'll be graduating in the Spring of 2020. I'm the head sports editor at The Collegiate Times, Tech's school newspaper, where I cover football, basketball and soccer predominantly. I hope to make a career out of my writing, and one day cover a beat in the D.C. area.
It’s been almost a week since the Washington Football Team’s Wild Card performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 31-23 Bucs victory was perhaps the most exciting game of a Wild Card weekend that was mixed with rivalry upsets, Nickelodeon blowouts and a defining moment for two franchises that have gone an eternity without playoff success.
It was a fantastic week of football in general, yet the game I’ll keep coming back to was our own. This was the first playoff game Washington has had since 2015, which ended like many others before it in a semi-close but not really close fashion against a far superior opponent. How ironic that the 7-9 2020 Football game gave us the best fight since the Todd Collins run in 2007. This was a truly inspiring performance by a team that most wrote off from the opening kickoff. I won’t fault anyone for that opinion, especially against a Bucs team with as much offensive firepower as anyone in the league.
Really, Washington had everything against them in this game. There was no reason to reasonably assume they actually had a chance to win this game with a fourth-string quarterback under center against an offense headlined by the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Yet here we are talking about a game that Washington legitimately had a chance to win. They showed the same fight and fire we’ve come to expect from this team, and they showed they belonged to be in that game. I’ve never been more inspired by a loss from this team in my life, I mean it was truly something special. There’s only one true place we can start when talking about this game though.
Before we get started, I have to apologize for the longer than usual break in between blogs. I had some ideas for a Week 16 blog, mostly centered around Dwayne Haskins’ career in general, but I just didn’t really have time to do it last week. I’m thinking that’ll be a YouTube video at some point though (oh yeah I forgot to mention, I’m starting a channel, mostly for NBA content, but also might make one specifically for WFT opinions). But again, sorry about that. Then again, the Panthers game was so incredibly terrible that it would’ve been a lot of my tried and true whining, which not everyone loves. Hard to whine this week though because WE. ARE. IN.
That’s right, people, the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins, the team that has suffered numerous scandals and PR nightmares that have painted Dan Snyder’s franchise as the biggest dump in all of football has somehow, someway become the most heartfelt Cinderella story in the NFL. We’re NFC East champions! I can’t even believe it. It’s crazy to think that last year’s game against the Giants was the first real time I actively rooted against my own team for a higher draft pick, and now just one year later they’re playing playoff football. Who could have possibly seen this coming?
This team has a legitimate future; there are pieces in place to make this team a contender with the right kind of offseason. I’ve never been able to actually say that out loud before. The closest we’ve got to this point was probably RGIII’s rookie season which of course was filled with locker room controversies and power struggles that would carry over into the next two seasons, and the 2015 “You Like That” run, which of course was awesome, but it never really felt like we were in position to really become a true contender, especially with the Cousins contract drama starting to really come into full force.
I love this football team, no, I love the Washington Football Team. I’m officially for keeping the name now I don’t even care. It’s got a dorky charm to it when this team wins. A team with no name actually won a division, that’s just hilarious when you say it out loud. Granted, it’s in the worst division in football and is the result of a 7-9 record, but this is a happy blog, so we’re just going to turn a blind eye and start clapping.
In all seriousness though, we have to talk about this game against Philadelphia because I have truly never seen anything quite like it. My dad and I were just laughing after halftime because of how absurd it got.
This week’s Robservations are coming a little later than usual, but it’s not without purpose. In fact, I almost wanted to wait even longer, but I think doing it a day later than usual is probably the best move.
This has been a wild week for the Football Team, and no, it’s not all entirely about what happened on the field. The 20-15 loss to the now 10-4 Seahawks (who are now first in the very tough NFC West) was a heartbreaker, but not a death sentence for Ron Rivera’s group, who needs just a win against the Panthers and a Giants loss to the Ravens for his team to officially lock up the NFC East crown. We’ll get into the game specifics soon enough, but first we have to talk about the very thing that’s made me hold off on this blog. You know what it is by now, it’s the Dwayne Haskins strip club scandal that has swept this pretty much drama-free team into a whirlwind of questions concerning its former first round quarterback.
Haskins’ decision to go out after the loss with strippers without wearing a mask has completely taken over the D.C. news cycle this week. So much so that Rivera’s visible frustration at the constant media questioning over it seems like it has affected the team a great deal. The way I see it, it’s the exact type of bad publicity this team didn’t need, especially late in the season and especially with Alex Smith’s health still in question. Haskins not only got fined $40,000 from this, the most anyone has gotten fined for a COVID-related offense, but also got stripped of his role as a team captain.
This is not a good look for Haskins, who not only played poorly in a pretty important game, but also showed the exact type of immaturity that his doubters have been pointing to since he was drafted. There’s a chance Haskins will be needed this week in an absolute must-win game, and I really don’t know what to expect. Will he finally play up to the raw potential he’s occasionally shown? Will he have the same respect he had with his teammates before this incident? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s just a really bad situation.
Before I rant too much on the matter, let’s get to the nitty gritty on this Seahawks loss, starting with the performance of Haskins.
Well…well, well, well, well, look at what we’ve got here. The Washington Football Team’s stunning second half turnaround this season has built up to a four-game winning streak that’s now put them in sole possession of the NFC East lead with just three games to go. Who could have suspected that?
With the Giants struggling against a Cardinals team that’s also trying to sneak into the playoffs, Washington’s 6-7 record is good enough to give them a one-game lead over Joe Judge’s team, who now has a tough two-game stretch against the Browns and Ravens before finishing the season off with a game against the Cowboys. That’s a much tougher finish to the season then for the Football Team, who has a tough game against the Seahawks before finishing with games against the 4-9 Panthers and the 4-8-1 Eagles.
The ball appears to be in Washington’s court now after another statement game from Jack Del Rio’s defense against Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners, who are understandably struggling with a plethora of injuries, were still a respectable 5-7 team with minor playoff hopes heading into this Week 14 matchup. Those hopes are pretty much fantasies at this point, but this 100% had trap game written all over it for a Washington team that was riding high off of last Monday’s upset win over Pittsburgh.
The 23-15 Football Team victory was a complete and utter defensive effort, with neither offensive units managing much of anything in terms of explosive playmaking or general excitement. Credit where credit’s due, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and his defense played a damn good game against a banged up Washington offense that managed just 193 yards. Despite a strong effort from Saleh’s group, what truly decided this game was of course the performance of Del Rio’s defense that accounted for Washington’s only two touchdowns of the evening. The defense is a good place to start for this week’s Robservations
Welcome to another edition of Robservations, where I have officially become a Ron Rivera fanatic. Seriously, the game was on Monday and I’m still jacked up about what this team accomplished. The thing is, I absolutely loathe the Pittsburgh Steelers, I always have, but they are pretty much always great. This year is no different, and as a result they generally always outplay us, but as Jonathan Frakes always says, not this time.
Seriously, the last time we beat them was in 1991, which puts me at -6 years of age. I’ve never seen Washington beat this team except in one preseason game, and we somehow did it this year. This sub-.500 team buried in the worst division in football that’s got an entirely new coaching staff with a third-string quarterback at the helm actually beat the last undefeated team in football. I mean, who could have possibly imagined that? Not only that, but we did it in primetime (If you consider 5:00 p.m. on a Monday primetime) at Heinz Field.
These last two games have pretty much been a dream for me. We managed to beat two teams I absolutely hate in convincing fashion on national television. I’ve been back and forth on the prospects of winning this division, but fuck it, let’s go out and win this sadsack division. The Giants have the tiebreaker over us, but we’ve still got four games left to play this season. A lot can happen in those four weeks, but I am fully committed to this regime and their hopes at a playoff berth.
This makes for a good transition to the first topic today. There’s almost too much to cover for a game like this.
It’s time to get that Swiffer out because it looks like we’re here to talk about a good ole fashioned sweep. You heard me right. For the first time since that magical 2012 season where RGIII was still a symbol for hope and I was still an acne-ridden adolescent, the Washington Football Team has swept the Dallas Cowboys. This wasn’t just an average sweep either, we demolished them twice. When has that ever happened?
I was ready to run through a brick wall after this Thanksgiving victory. This team still has massive holes, they still have frustrating performances and they still got swept themselves by the Giants, but I’ve completely bought into the RivEra. This team is infamous for face planting Nate Robinson-style into the ground when there are actual stakes, but they actually managed to dominate a Dallas team that also has playoff hopes. I’m actually impressed.
The 41-16 win puts Washington at 4-7 as they head into what’s probably a loss against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers next week. That’s a really great team so I’m not trying to get my hopes up there.
We have a lot of topics to cover today so let’s get into it.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. It’s been a pretty busy week, but I’ve finally got some time to look back at Washington’s Week 11 victory against the Bengals, a team that I’ve actually never seen Washington beat before. The last time this team had beaten Cincinnati was in 1991 when Gerald Riggs rushed for three touchdowns en route to a 34-27 win. That’s pretty wild that I was barely a figment of my parents’ imagination the last time this team won a game against the Bengals, but when you think about it, these teams only play once every four years so there’s only been five contests since that 1991 meeting.
It wasn’t necessarily a pretty performance for the Football Team, but it’s hard to complain about a victory after this team essentially botched two very winnable games against the Lions and the Giants. Also the team gets brownie points for winning in those absolutely gorgeous throwback jerseys. I seriously love when they play in these jerseys. If they just fixed the helmets it’d be perfect.
The 20-9 win puts Washington just a half game back of first place for the division lead, which they can possibly take if they beat the Cowboys tomorrow on Thanksgiving. Talk about a game for all the marbles, if the marbles equated to a division lead at 4-7. Those are some marbles, man. Wowie.
I’ll write about that game in a few days, but let’s get down to brass tacks and talk about this Bengals result.
After a pretty great victory two weeks ago against Dallas, you’d have thought the Washington Football Team was in prime position to even the score with an equally unimpressive New York Giants team and find themselves back in the hunt with the Eagles for the NFC East title, but like me, you were hoodwinked. Bamboozled even.
The 23-20 Giants victory was a disastrous performance by the Football Team, who have now lost to the Giants five straight times dating all the way back to the 2018-19 season. That’s pretty sad considering the Giants have been a lifeless corpse of a franchise like us since their last Super Bowl run. They have just two winning seasons since that Super Bowl win, but you wouldn’t have guessed that if you only watched these two teams play each other every year.
Washington now sits at 2-6 with a must-win game against Detroit coming up. I’ll remind you that Washington is somehow still second in the division despite the loss, but they’re going to not only need a win this week, but need the Giants to beat the Eagles to put Washington a half game back of first place. It’s not impossible considering the Eagles won by just one point in their last meeting, but the Giants haven’t beaten any team not named the Washington Football Team this year, so we’re going to have to do a little praying.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, we still need to talk about this disasterclass of a performance from Ron Rivera’s group, who let Daniel Jones look about as competent as I’ve seen him this year. That’s probably a good place to start.
In what’s felt like forever (approximately two years and four days to be exact, but who’s counting), the Washington Football Team has defeated the Dallas Cowboys. I feel like we should be throwing a parade every time this happens because we get to experience it so few times. The last time we’d beaten this team, Alex Smith was still healthy and the refs rewarded us with a still hilarious 5-yard snap infraction that helped kicker Brett Maher miss a game-winning field goal as time expired.
Think about it this way. Since the 2010-11 season (yes the one with McNabb under center), Washington has had a 6-14 record against Jerry Jones’ team. Is it even still a rivalry at this point? Barely, but we won in dominant fashion this time with a 25-3 shallacking of a Cowboys team that is somehow in an even worse position than us. They are seriously down in the dumps right now. I haven’t seen a defense that bad in some time and I had to witness the era of Joe Barry.
Still, Washington isn’t a very good team either so I could really care less about how bad a situation it is over in Dallas. I’ll take this win and I’ll cherish it just like I cherish all those other wins hidden amongst the field of embarrassing and downright awful losses we’ve suffered at the hands of this team.
We are now tied with Dallas for second in the division at 2-5 and just half a game back from the division lead held by the Eagles at 2-4-1 (you can laugh now) so all that stuff I said about kicking this team to the curb and selling off assets seems to not really be a thing anymore I guess? We’ll get into that a little later, but let’s first talk about the game itself.
Is this what rock bottom’s like? It sure feels like it.
The Washington Football Team suffered their fifth consecutive loss this season on Sunday, this time to the previously winless New York Giants, and have now plunged to the final spot of the worst division in football. And boy let me tell you, it was a doozy of an afternoon.
Coming down to a final two-point conversion to win the game, the newly appointed starting quarterback Kyle Allen rolled to the left with a chance to tuck it and run for the endzone, but instead came to a full stop and essentially threw the ball into an open space of the field where no one was to be seen. It was actually pretty comical to watch. Even more comical was the rewatch, where it looked like Allen actually might have had a chance to run it in for the win had he not come to a complete halt.