It was December 9, 2012. The Washington Redskins defeated the eventual Super Bowl champions, extending the winning streak to four straight games.
That’s what consistent teams do in the NFL. They find ways to win regardless of the circumstances.
It was this game when I realized that this winning streak wasn’t a fluke. The Redskins were a dangerous football team and more importantly a steady organization building from the ground up, which is something I haven’t said too often.
Under the ownership of Daniel Snyder, the Redskins franchise has had little to celebrate, as dysfunction was more of a commonality than victories.
All of that seemed to change last season. The Redskins had a head coach with a potential Hall of Fame resume, they had their version of Terrell Davis (Alfred Morris) and, most importantly, they had a marquee quarterback in Robert Griffin.
Then January 6 happened.
A home playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks was supposed to be a jubilant event, and for the first three quarters it mostly was.
Then again, the dysfunction and overall stupidity came back to the haunt this organization that night.
To put it simply, the Redskins relapsed and everything that was wrong with this team came back to fruition.
Poor coaching and execution, devastating injuries, the inability to protect a lead on their home turf and the field conditions were atrocious.
And two weeks into this season, it’s been more of the same. Robert Griffin is nowhere near where he was last season. Opposing coaches are reading this team like a book. The defense is on pace to become the worst ever.
They haven’t competed. They haven’t hustled. They have no confidence and have zero urgency. Through eight quarters of football, my beloved Burgundy and Gold has no heart.
There’s a lot of parity in the NFL year after year, but the Redskins are the division champions. They won 10 games in the 2012-13 season and have brought back virtually the same roster and coaching staff.
How in the world is this happening? Are they cursed? Has Mike Shanahan lost his mind? Is Griffin ever going to be the same again?
The rational part of me is trying to relax. It's two games into the season. They have a long way to go, and I have to remind myself that they were 3-6 at one point last year.
The irrational part of me (this weighs more unfortunately) is already pressing the panic button. The Redskins have had poor records in the past, but they have at least been able to compete, which this team hasn’t yet.
The Redskins need to do two things if they want to salvage their two embarrassing losses. One is to wake up, and the other is to make the necessary adjustments.
Making adjustments is a quintessential part of the NFL and not just through the team’s overall scheme and play-calling, but by adjusting the general demeanor.
This, of course, is easier said than done, and this goes beyond Griffin. This team needs to rally around one another, or it is going to be just another failure—leading to a media upheaval, frustrated fans and a locker room that lost its spark.
This Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions is a major test for the Redskins. Are they ready to play playoff football again? Do they have the mental fortitude to dust off the first two weeks? I really hope they do.