Washington Redskins Historic Playoff Run Comes at the Expense of History

Matthew BrownCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 30:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after the Redskins defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-18 at FedExField on December 30, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It took over a decade to get there, but the Washington Redskins finally have the look of a winner. They've got a credible coach, a couple of young studs on the field, and have shown an uncanny ability to battle back from adversity, having rattled off seven consecutive victories following a disheartening 3-6 start.

Arguably the greatest sign of achievement for the Redskins has been the number of streaks and bests they've broken or set.

Prior to their first meeting this season, not only had the Redskins lost six out of their last eight meetings with the hated Dallas Cowboys, they had never beaten the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day games in six meetings.

This season, Washington beat Dallas on Thanksgiving and swept their division rivals for the first time since 2005.

Prior to their Week 14 matchup this season, the Baltimore Ravens had beaten the Redskins in three out of four meetings going back to 1997. On top of Baltimore's dominance, they were coming off of a loss, while Baltimore had an NFL record streak of 14-straight wins following a loss, a streak spearheaded by quarterback Joe Flacco.

Following that loss, Flacco threw for a total of 3,508 yards, 22 touchdowns and four interceptions, notching a passer rating of 102.2, nearly 17 points higher than his career-average.

Washington came out on top of two more streaks in their 31-28 victory over their in-state foes, rookie backup Kirk Cousins completing the comeback, pushing the game into overtime, where the Redskins won on a Kai Forbath field goal.

Since 2004, the Redskins had lost six games to rookie quarterbacks, including Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford, all of whom were the first overall pick in their draft class.

The last time the Redskins made the playoffs was 2007. The last time the Redskins won a playoff game was 2005. The last time the Redskins won the NFC East was 1999.

In their last two playoff games, the Redskins faced the Seattle Seahawks and lost on both counts. In 2005, the Seahawks were the eventual NFC representative in the Super Bowl.

In 2005, the Redskins rode a five-game winning streak into the playoffs, beating Tampa Bay in the first round before falling to Seattle. In 2007, the Redskins rode an emotional six-game winning streak into the playoffs on the heels of the loss of Sean Taylor before falling to Seattle.

This season, the Redskins once again finished the season with a victory over the Cowboys, and are riding a seven-game winning streak. That streak included five division wins, the most since 2005, and are set to face the Seahawks yet again.

The difference this season is that it will be a battle of rookie quarterbacks, hard-nosed running backs, and two defenses with the ability to change games, rather than two journeyman-led offenses and two former Super Bowl-winning head coaches.

As it always does, this game will come down to which rookie quarterback makes the fewest mistakes, which running back makes the biggest impact, and which defense can put on its Sunday best for the playoffs.

It is rare for the Redskins to finish the regular season with positive buzz, but this season has been full of trends broken and history overcome. For once, Washington isn't out of place in the postseason, and however magical Seattle's run to the playoffs may have been, it doesn't hold a candle to that of the Redskins.