So, the Eagles ran 59 points on us, enough points, as John Riggins put it, to win two games.
So what? The season goes on. Our team is not the Washington Deadskins who play at DedEx Field. It’s not as if whoopin’s haven’t happened to us before. And I don’t mean some ancient game in the 1950s.
Turn on the WABAC Machine to October 27, 2007, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Washington Redskins visited and lost to the New England Patriots 52-7. Though the Patriots scored fewer points then than the Eagles did at FedEx Monday night, their margin of victory (45) was larger.
Yes, Virginia, the Redskins improved by two touchdowns since the last 50-point beatdown.
Now think about this. Joe Gibbs coached the team that lost to New England. The offensive line was still serviceable, though showing early onset old age. The Redskins came into that game 4-2, a surprise given the disaster that was the 2006 season. Sean Taylor was still with us. Gregg Williams was still blitzing from the 4-3 defense.
Jason Campbell completed 21 of 35 passes and threw a late touchdown pass to Chris Cooley. He also tossed an interception and lost three fumbles that led to New England scores. Those factors changed the final score, but not the game’s outcome. The biggest factors in the loss were that New England killed Washington’s ground game (Portis rushed 11 times for 27 yards) and the 4-3 defense brought no pressure on Tom Brady.
The Redskins team that lost to the Eagles on Monday Night Football scored 28 points, their highest output this season, and gained 375 net yards. RB Keiland Williams gained 139 yards total offense and scored three touchdowns. Young players Anthony Armstrong and Fred Davis gained 154 yards on only four receptions. Redskins got skills–for the big play. You can work with that.
What the Redskins experienced in ’07 and how they overcame it are object lessons now.
The ‘Skins lost four of their next five games. Then they lost Sean Taylor when he was murdered in his home in an armed burglary. Then they lost their starting quarterback when Campbell went down in the Buffalo game. He was lost for the season.
Character counts most when times are at their worst. The ’07 Redskins dedicated the rest of the season to something larger than them and set out on a quest for the playoffs. They swept their last four games and made it.
The 2010 Redskins are not the equal of the 2007 bunch, nor have they endured as much. There are glaring deficiencies on the offensive line and wide receiver. The Redskins were embarrassed at home on national TV. Now we find out if Mike Shanahan constructed a team of character guys that can overcome adversity.
If the Redskins go on a four or five win streak, we will reassess Monday night’s performance along with Mike Shanahan’s coaching methods. Shanahan will regain some of the luster he lost with his “what would Vinny do” moment in Detroit.
The Redskins might be tempted to toss the video of the Eagles’ game and move on. Perhaps they shouldn’t. Bill Belichick’s mantra is to dwell on your (team’s) mistakes so they are not repeated. If we know anything about Shanahan, it’s that he is a perfectionist. We expect no repeats of Monday night.
How Shanahan does it is a fascinating story that will provide fodder for Redskins bloggers all year long.
Point after: Professional athletes are big into sports psychology. The Redskins should be telling themselves now that Monday night’s game was not them. They can do better. To understand that mindset, check out Denis Waitley’s The Psychology of Winning, a great book or audio on the topic.
You will recognize some of the concepts from the book in the self-talk you hear high performers say.