Here is my six-pack of observations on the Redskins’ division-clinching 28-18 win over the Cowboys.
—I’ve said it here before but Rob Jackson is the perfect example of a player who got an opportunity and was able to take advantage of it. He has four interceptions this year, all of them clutch. He picked off one in the end zone against the Bengals, his pick against the Giants set up a critical field goal, his interception just after halftime against the Browns led to the go-ahead touchdown, and last night his play won the division. Just like the rest of the defense, he struggled early but found his stride later in the season. Some fans are already concerned about what will happen next year when Brian Orakpo is back but there is plenty of time for all of that to sort out.
—And, while Jackson deserves the credit for making the play, that is just a throw that Tony Romo just can’t make. And he shouldn’t have made it because Perry Riley was headed straight towards him like a QB-seeking missile. And it was Riley who put an exclamation point on the win by planting tight end James Hannah into the FedEx Field turf with an emphatic tackle on the last play of the game. When London Fletcher retires, the middle of the defense will be in good hands with Riley roaming there.
—Couldn’t help but notice the lack of celebration in the Redskins’ locker room. There was some emotion, they certainly were happy and proud of winning the division after being 3-6 and left for dead. But I didn’t get the sense that anyone was going to go home and pop the champagne corks. Griffin summed up the mindset of the team. “After we go out and do what we want to do and win the Super Bowl, then I’ll celebrate with everybody,” he said.
—You have to love what Alfred Morris does on the field and how he carries himself off the field. “I’m never a star; I’ll never be a star,” he said. “Other people might think I’m a star but I’m just Alfred . . . I’m still going to be that guy.” It’s hard to see “that guy” ever, say, dressing up in costumes before midweek press conferences like Clinton Portis, the guy whose single-season rushing record Morris broke this year. Nor will he be passing out under a table at a formal dinner and telling a Supreme Court justice to “loosen up” like John Riggins did. But, like Portis and Riggins, he won’t let the first would-be tackler bring him down and he’ll move the pile for a few extra yards.
—Kyle Shanahan called 42 runs and 19 passes. Those of you who believe that Kyle is too pass happy should take note. The Redskins did what they needed to do, attacking the weak, injury depleted Cowboys front seven. Shanahan attacked them with the blunt instrument wearing No. 46 again and again and again and mixed in a little bit of No. 10 dashing to the outside.
—The two teams that nobody wants to play in the playoffs are meeting on Sunday. The Redskins have won seven straight while Seattle has taken five games in a row and seven of their last eight. The Seahawks have allowed fewer points than any team in the league and are ninth in scoring. True, they are not as impressive on the road as they are in their noisy home field but they will be an extremely tough out.