Sunday’s win over New York? A step in the right direction

Let’s get this out of the way: it felt fantastic beating the Giants. It doesn’t quite give you that semi-permanent grin you get as a Redskins fan that your team beats Dallas, but it’s just a small notch below.

The Giants continually found new and inventive ways of pounding our faces in. The Redskins hadn’t beat them since 2007 (six straight losses), and while some of the losses to the Giants were some of the most miserable and unwatchable games in recent memory for Redskins fans, even the games with a much closer final score weren’t actually as close as those scores would indicate.

The Giant would come into each game, steal our lunch money, break our glasses, and finish it all off with an atomic wedgie game after game, season after season.

Did the Redskins beat a Giants team that was shorthanded? Absolutely, without question. Calling the Giants injury situation “severe” doesn’t quite do it justice; they’re about one more blown-out ACL or Achilles injury away from being “catastrophic.” The Redskins beat a defense that was without Osi Umeniyora, without Justin Tuck, without two of their top draft picks, without their starting middle linebacker (the Giants had to rookie Greg Jones, their sixth round pick, at the position), and three more defensive backs in addition to that. When Tony Kornheiser called the Giants defense a “MASH” unit, he almost wasn’t joking.

Did the Redskins show that they still had a ton of work to do? Yes. Tim Hightower’s 2.9 yards per carry average doesn’t exactly bring about the same level of enthusiasm when way-too-zealous fans started using his name in the same sentence as the great John Riggins (that still boggles my mind). Rex Grossman’s fastball was too high for long stretches of the first half; he almost got some of his receivers killed out there, especially the slighter-of-frame guys like Anthony Armstrong. And as my buddy John put it: Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul beat Trent Williams like a $2 hooker for most of the afternoon.

And yet, even with all that, the game marked the first time in almost two years that the Redskins have beat a team by 14 or more points. Since 2005, they’ve only done so twice. And when’s the last time a Redskins team has scored 21 unanswered points to knock off an NFC East opponent? (Also 2005, by my count).

Any fan who watches this team knows that it’s usually the Redskins being on the wrong end of the blocked field goal attempt (like the loss against Houston last year). Normally, it’s the Redskins on the wrong end of a deflected pass caught by a defensive lineman and returned for a touchdown. Almost always, it’s the Redskins on the wrong end of giving up a touchdown right before the half ends, and allowing another team to run roughshod overthem, and pound their quarterback in the second half, in the same way the Redskins did to Eli Manning last Sunday.

Basically, i’m caught between not wanting to make too much out of this victory, and not wanting to take away anything from it either. There’s something to be said for going out and beating a team that you’re “supposed” to beat, especially in the parity-filled NFL. The fact remains that the Redskins beat a team that they were supposed to beat, given the Giants injury situation. And they deserve the accolades and kudos that go with that.

It feels awesome to know that the Redskins veteran’s decided to celebrate a victory over an NFC East opponent by coming back the next day into work, and watching film to correct any mistakes the team made.

After all, there’s a lot of work to do for this team, but there’s just as much – if not more – to be happy about.

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