Washington Redskins: 10 Best Moments of 2012 Season
Unlike the past four seasons, the Washington Redskins gave fans something to be happy about in 2012.
With their first NFC East title, led by a rookie backfield, fans of the Washington Redskins were enjoying themselves more in the last seven weeks of the 2012 season than any other time in the past 20 seasons.
Here you will find the top moments from the season, ordered from least to most significant. This is all just a matter of opinion, but when it comes to positive views on things, Redskins fans don't tend to argue much.
There's only eight months until the 2013 regular season starts, so in the meantime, just relax and enjoy the season that was 2012.
10. The 4th-Down Conversion
On what would end up being the go-ahead drive for the Redskins in Robert Griffin III's debut against an NFC East team (the New York Giants in the Meadowlands), RGIII provided one of his many electrifying moments.
The Redskins were facing 4th-and-10 on their own 23-yard line with just over two minutes on the clock, and RGIII scrambled furiously from Giants pass-rushers and converted on a strike to Logan Paulsen.
Ultimately, the Redskins lost the lead—and the game—after a touchdown from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz, but the Redskins had made their mark in the division.
Justin Tuck of the Giants ended up saying, "Until I exit stage right, it seems like he's going to be a fixture in my dreams and nightmares." It may have been a foreshadowing of the Giants' demise later in the season on Monday Night Football against the Redskins, but we'll get to that later.
9. Billy Cundiff's Swan Song
Billy Cundiff won't go down as one of the greatest kickers in Redskins history. As a matter of fact, he will likely soon be forgotten. Especially if Kai Forbath continues to be a fixture for Washington.
However, he did have one clutch moment for the Redskins against Tampa Bay in Week 4.
With the Redskins down by one point with less than two minutes left on the clock, Robert Griffin III led a 56-yard drive to the 24-yard line of the Buccaneers, where Billy Cundiff came up huge.
His 41-yard field goal gave the Redskins a two-point advantage with just :03 left on the clock. One kickoff later, the game was over and the Redskins were 2-2.
8. Redskins Hold on Against Eagles
Going into Week 16, the Redskins were 8-6 and finally in control of their own destiny in the NFC East.
The first time the Redskins faced Philadelphia in Week 11, things were much easier for Washington when they rolled to a 31-6 win.
However, Nick Foles and the Eagles proved to be more difficult as the Redskins needed one final defensive stand to keep their playoff hopes alive.
With 4:15 left in the final quarter, the Eagles took over at their own 15-yard line. From there, Philly drove down to the Redskins' 5-yard line. With less than 10 seconds on the clock, there was room for just one more play.
Nick Foles faced pressure and tried to get the ball away instead of taking a sack. Unfortunately for him, the ball did not reach the line of scrimmage and their was no receiver in sight.
The ruling: intentional grounding.
The referees ran the remainder of the time off of the clock and the Eagles were out of chances while the Redskins improved to 9-6, needing just one more win for the NFC East crown.
7. Luck of the Irish
At the time the Redskins were taking on the Giants on Monday Night Football in Week 13, Washington had a chance to pull within one game of their rivals from New York.
It seemed like things were going to go the Redskins' way when they had reached New York's 28-yard line and Robert Griffin III took off on a run. He got about 15 yards down field when he fumbled after being hit.
Normally when your star quarterback fumbles, it's a bad sign. However, the ball popped in the air and right into Joshua Morgan's chest, who snagged the pigskin and took it 13 yards to the house to give the Redskins a 7-3 lead.
From there, the contest went back-and-forth with the Redskins pulling a 17-16 victory, but after the fumble, it seemed that the win would be the Redskins'. Those are the types of plays that get a team into the playoffs.
6. Cousins Comes Up Big
After defeating the Giants on Monday Night Football, the Redskins needed another big win to keep pace with New York.
It wouldn't be easy with AFC North leader Baltimore in town, and the game was fought back-and-forth all afternoon in Landover.
Robert Griffin III left the game twice with his first professional knee injury on the final drive of regulation for the Redskins. On backup quarterback Kirk Cousins' first attempt, the Redskins drew a defensive pass interference penalty to keep the game going.
When Griffin left a second time, Cousins completed the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with just :29 left on the clock, but the Redskins were still down by two points.
On the next snap, Cousins dropped back to pass on the two-point conversion and took off running up the middle and jammed his way into the end zone to tie the game at 28-28.
Cousins wouldn't need big heroics in overtime as Richard Crawford returned a punt to the Ravens' 24-yard line to set up Kai Forbath's game-winning field goal.
5. Turkey Day Trample
The Washington Redskins, before 2012, had never won a game on Thanksgiving Day.
However, the emergence of Robert Griffin III and the gang was evident on one of the largest scales in front of a national audience in the second quarter of the matchup.
It seemed that it would be a route at halftime, but Dallas ended up making it close. What most people will remember, though, is that the Redskins dominated the first half of the game.
The highlight of the game was a six-yard touchdown pass from RGIII to Santana Moss to make the score 28-3 heading into the locker room.
That was of course preceded by a 58-yarder from Pierre Garcon, a one-yarder from Alfred Morris and a 68-yarder from Aldrick Robinson. The Redskins were cruising, and you would be hard pressed to find a 15 minute stanza where Redskins fans felt more satisfied.
Think about outscoring Dallas 28-0. In their stadium. On Thanksgiving.
There were games that were overall more satisfying, but if we were ranking single quarters, this would be No.1.
4. Welcome to the NFL
After months of waiting, Redskins fans were finally able to see their new weapons in action.
It's hard to imagine a better start than the one that Robert Griffin III and Pierre Garcon had. Just 12 minutes into the contest, Robert Griffin III connected down the middle to a streaking Pierre Garcon who took off past the secondary after hauling in the pass en route to an 88-yard touchdown.
The Redskins hung 10 points on the board in each of the game's four quarters, and it seemed that fans wouldn't have to wait long for Griffin and the offense to produce results on the scoreboard.
Granted, we didn't know New Orleans would struggle the way they did, or that their defense could possibly be that bad. But not many Redskins fans were expecting a win in Week 1 with a rookie quarterback in a stadium as hostile as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The phenom had arrived on the scene, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns (and no interceptions), all while running for another 42 yards. All of a sudden, expectations were high, and the rest of the season didn't disappoint.
3. The Scamper
Things were a little dim in Washington at the time.
The Redskins had just dropped to 2-3 the previous week after losing to undefeated Atlanta, and Robert Griffin III left that game with a concussion.
Worried about taking another hit, fans were on edge about what might happen if their star quarterback took another shot (they would find out in the Baltimore and Seattle games).
So when RGIII took off on a 3rd-and-6 with under three minutes left while trying to nurse a five-point lead, fans were screaming for him to slide after crossing the first-down marker.
Instead, he turned upfield, found a seam and sprinted by the entire Minnesota defense for a crowd-shaking 76-yard touchdown run. The score sealed the deal for the Redskins and they were back into the mix at 3-3.
If this wasn't the ultimate vindication for trading away two first-round picks (three if you count the 2012 pick the Redskins included), I'm not sure what was.
Because if Rex Grossman could do that, then I would eat my hat.
2. The Announcement
A lot of Redskins fans will remember where they were on March 10, 2012. It was a late Friday night, so some of your memories may have been a little hazy, but you know when you learned about it.
It was announced that the Redskins had struck a deal with the Rams to acquire the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, while shipping away their first rounders in 2012, 2013 and 2014, as well as the second round pick in 2012.
The common Redskins fan laughed because they had considered it highway robbery of the St. Louis organization.
The Rams may give up on Sam Bradford sooner rather than later, and this deal may come back to haunt them, but at the time, they considered themselves owners of a franchise quarterback and had no need for the No. 2 selection.
When the Cleveland Browns could not pull the trigger on a deal with St. Louis, the Redskins were more than happy to compensate them for the opportunity to draft Robert Griffin III. Or Andrew Luck. Who knows how seriously the Colts considered the other option of RGIII?
Since then, the Redskins have been more marketable than ever, and RGIII's jersey has become the top-selling in the NFL. And for good reason.
There was hope again in the nation's capital.
1. Dallas Gets Rom-Owned
Once again, the NFC East race essentially ended thanks to a Tony Romo mistake.
With the Redskins up 21-18 late in the fourth quarter, Romo and the Cowboys had a chance to tie the game or take the lead and capture the division when they took the ball over on their own 15-yard line.
The first play of the drive was a 14-yard gain to Jason Witten, and all of a sudden, things were looking bleak for the Redskins.
However, on the very next snap, Romo faced pressure up the middle and quickly tried to float a pass out onto the flat to DeMarco Murray, and it floated right into the hands of linebacker Rob Jackson.
The interception meant that the Redskins were in control, and barring a Dallas miracle, would win their first division title since 1999.
Washington followed it up with a 25-yard touchdown drive, capped off by Alfred Morris' 200th yard and third touchdown of the game with just over a minute left, and it was over. The Redskins had won the NFC East. At home. In primetime.
How 'bout them Cowboys?
Korey Beckett is a Featured Columnist for the Washington Redskins and Bleacher Report's Fantasy Football/NFL Draft coverage. Like him on Facebook here
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