After throttling the Giants last week, it would be easy for the Redskins to laugh at the Cardinals and look ahead to Dallas. According to some of the veterans in the locker room, that’s what this team would’ve done in recent years.
And it would’ve cost them the game. But this is not your Redskins of recent years.
This is team with some resolve, and it showed as time ticked down in the fourth quarter. With 1:39 left and a rack of timeouts, the Cardinals only needed to get into field goal range for the win. On the first play of the drive, Kevin Kolb found his man over the middle in Cardinals receiver Chansi Stuckey. Turning upfield, Stuckey picked up the first down.
But Redskins reserve corner Byron Westbrook was in the area, and keyed in on making the big play. Securing the tackle, he ripped the ball out of Stuckey’s hands. When safety Reed Doughty recovered the ball, it sealed the second victory for Washington in as many weeks.
The 76,330 fans roared in appreciation,before joining in a chorus of “We Want Dallas!”
The same sentiments of “this is a different team in 2011” were echoed in the locker room after the game, and there’s an unwavering conviction in the company line. This isn’t a team that’s surprised by their success, and it’s not just the rookies or the veterans that are feeling the vibe.
The Cardinals gave this team a battle, and for the second week in a row, the Redskins had to find a way to win from behind. But it never felt like the game was out of reach, and when they needed a big play, the team responded.
“It felt like we were still up, if that makes any sense,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said in the locker room. “Because we shot ourselves in the foot.”
It was only a flesh wound.
This was a great game for running back Tim Hightower, because it was a grudge game for him, and he got his feet under him this week. He gashed his former team for 106 all-purpose yards and showed that he can be a game-changer in Washington.
Meanwhile, Vonnie Holliday, the man he was traded for, managed only one tackle and one pass defensed in his return to Washington. Nothing against Holliday, but the numbers don’t lie.
Hightower’s partner in crime, Roy Helu, also showed that he was capable of dominating off the bench. He finished with 13 touches for 112 yards, and was voted your MVR(edskin) with 45 percent of the vote. Keeping both backs healthy and having a battering ram in Ryan Torain for November and December should ensure the effectiveness of this unit for the season.
Next week, the Redskins take their show on the road to Dallas on “Monday Night Football.” The Redskins have managed to fly under the radar so far, but when the lights come on in Big D, there will be no hiding from the national spotlight. Rookies like Ryan Kerrigan and Roy Helu proved their worth today, but will need to step up again in hostile territory. There’s no question that this team has a bright, bright future, but the team seems focused on the next team up.