Kirk Cousins stepped in and handled his business on Sunday, and by the time the Washington Redskins had beaten the Cleveland Browns, 38-21, the team was sitting atop the NFC East and controlled its own destiny in the division.
Now, it's time for Robert Griffin III to return from injury and lead this team into the playoffs. Who saw that coming?
Griffin was apparently pretty angry that he wasn't allowed to start on Sunday, so given the stakes at play here, I'd be shocked if he didn't start against the Philadelphia Eagles next week. From Tom Withers of the Associated Press (via Yahoo!):
''I was not happy with the decision,'' said Griffin, who was informed Saturday night of the plan to start Cousins. ''That's the decision they went with and I respect that. It doesn't mean I have to necessarily like it. I feel like I could have played this week, next week, the week after. But that's not my decision.''
On Monday morning's SportsCenter, Adam Schefter noted that Griffin had made major strides before Sunday and should be able to play this week. And I can't imagine the 'Skins will sit him if he's 85 percent or better.
His return could neutralize what would otherwise be the definition of a trap game against the Eagles. Think about it—the Redskins come in confident off of five straight wins, the Eagles are terrible, and looming is a Week 17 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys with the NFC East on the line.
That is the recipe for a shocking upset right there. But having Griffin back in the fold could be the sort of emotional lift that will prevent the Redskins from simply assuming victory.
And honestly, the Redskins could theoretically survive the Eagles without RG3, but it is hard to believe that they can beat a surging Cowboys team without him. Cousins was clutch in relief, but the offense opens up in an entirely different way when Griffin is in the game.
Robert Griffin III will lead the Redskins into the playoffs.
Plus, game-planning for him must be a hassle. Half of the battle is forcing your opponent's hand or giving the other team a slew of things to worry about. What player in the NFL outside of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson is giving opposing defensive coordinators more headaches right now?
Griffin may only be a rookie, but he is now tasked with a veteran quarterback's responsibility—putting the team on his back and carrying it into the playoffs. No pressure, young man.
Something tells me betting against him would be a mistake.
Hit me up on Twitter—no, my tweets aren't excited for this game either.