SPORTS

Washington Redskins playoff chances slim, so enjoy the RG III ride

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Today’s first order of business is a cold and clinical exercise in buzz kill.

The Washington Redskins are not going to make the playoffs this season.

Sure, there’s an outside path – and it resembles the outer loop of the Beltway at 8 a.m. on a weekday.

So we’re not going there, not even with a semi-winnable game for the Redskins later this week on Thanksgiving day – appropriately against traditional NFC East rival Dallas at the Cowboys’ oh-so-sparkling and perhaps over-the-top cathedral that doubles as a football stadium.

If Washington were to win, now we’re really talking buzz kill – for Jerry Jones, anyway.

So yes, win at Dallas and the Redskins are 5-6, and mathematically still in the postseason conversation. And yes, the division leading New York Giants will visit FedEx Field Dec. 5, and if the Redskins win that one, then the rest of the division-loaded schedule looks doable in an as-of-now down season for the NFC East.

So there you go. Playoffs, baby.

Just stop it. Just. Stop. It.

In today’s NFL, where parity is considered a sacred thing – unlike a player’s safety, but that’s a column for another day – and so-called upsets happen every single weekend, the Redskins’ only hope is for all the stars to align in just the right way and for a mostly dysfunctional defense to look up synergism in the dictionary and for the yellow-flag panhandlers to cease and desist and for the remaining six opponents to play as dreadfully as did the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday’s 31-6 Redskins win.

Good luck with all that.

Not going to happen. It’s fine and even good to hope, but you have to pick your spots, and in this case the best cause for hope is this: rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

No, we didn’t forget about him. Hardly.

What this guy has done and continues to do is so obvious that to attempt to explain it is to insult even the average fan’s intelligence. You could call it “lightning in a bottle,” but that wouldn’t be a good thing for Redskins fans because it might remind them on the bolt on the side of the San Diego Chargers helmets, coached by one Norv Turner, and well. . .

Say what you will about the directionless Eagles, but all Griffin did was throw four touchdown passes, complete 14 of his 15 attempts, attain a perfect passer rating and rush for 84 creative yards -- creative in the sense that Griffin already seems to have gotten a handle on the speed of NFL defenses. Whereas vintage Michael Vick used cat-quick moves that set up a sudden dart upfield, Griffin is more like Steve Young in that he’s willing to more or less pause, look, pause, pump, look and then run toward the appropriate gaps.

But just as Vick does, or did, Griffin also has that uncanny knack for escaping certain-sack situations.

“I like what I saw,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said afterward.

And that’s the thing. Griffin isn’t being dismissed around the league. He simply isn’t. Anything but. Almost everyone agrees he’s the real, as they say, deal.

Long-suffering Redskins fans (it’s strange to type that, having covered the Gibbs Super Bowl years for two newspapers) have had stops and starts and stops the past two decades, but RG III is not Steve Spurrier, he’s not Joe II and he certainly is not Donovan McNabb. In other words, he’s not the shiny new toy that turns out to be not so shiny.

Again, it says here the Redskins will not make the playoffs. But that’s no reason not to relish the rest of the season.

Don’t crunch playoff numbers.

Be happy to witness the future that is anything but a fool’s folly.

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ABC7 web reporter and columnist Skip Wood spent the better part of 15 years covering the NFL for USA TODAY.

 

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