|It had been six years since the Redskins started a season 1-0 as they did Sunday with a 24-6 dismantling of the Cardinals, so for the next few days, I wholeheartedly approve of any fans who decide to take a peek at accommodations in Atlanta for the first weekend in February. Maybe don’t buy your plane tickets just yet.
As dominating as Alex Smith and the Redskins looked in Arizona, I, backup QB of this newsletter Scott Allen, was left wondering, perhaps like many of you, is Washington really this good, or are the Cardinals really this bad? Is it okay to chug that pitcher of burgundy Kool-Aid, or should I reach for that bottle of chill pills?
Chug: The Redskins’ defense almost had its first shutout since 1991 and held an opponent to six points or fewer for the first time since 2012!
Chill: Washington deserves some credit for contributing to Sam Bradford’s ugly performance, but it’ll be a month before the Redskins face a worse quarterback. Opposing QBs on the horizon include Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, who led an incredible comeback against the Bears on Sunday night, Drew Brees and Cam Newton.
Chug: Adrian Peterson looked terrific and Chris Thompson, back from injury, somehow looked even better against the league’s sixth-best rushing defense from a year ago!
Chill: Peterson had 134 yards rushing in his Cardinals debut last year and 21 yards the next game. Vegas oddsmakers project Arizona to win about six games this season. My friend Neil Greenberg projects them to win four.
Chug: The Eagles looked pretty mediocre on Thursday with Nick Foles filling in for Carson Wentz, the Giants lost to the Jaguars and the Cowboys looked completely inept against the Panthers. The NFC East will be wide open!
Chill: It’ll be a few weeks before the playoff contenders start to separate themselves from the pretenders. Last year is a perfect example. The Redskins followed up their Week 2 win in Los Angeles against the Rams by dominating the Raiders at home in Week 3. The win over Oakland seemed a lot more impressive at the time, but the Raiders finished 6-10 and the Rams went 11-5.
Barry Svrluga writes more eloquently about what to make of Sunday’s win in today’s Post:
“There is no context to an NFL season on Sept. 9, none. Three weeks from now, we might realize this game said more about the Cardinals — who played both stupidly and flaccidly, to remarkable degrees, under first-year Coach Steve Wilks — than it did about Washington. Health will still be the largest factor in determining success this season, and other than injuries to a couple of rookie wide receivers, the fragile parts here — tight end Jordan Reed, running back Chris Thompson, tackle Trent Williams — did their jobs and emerged unscathed.
But for one Monday morning around the water cooler, you can talk — with confidence, backed by actual evidence — about the best version of what Washington could look like. For the first 30 minutes, the difference in these two teams was just staggering. One looked like a juggernaut, the other a joke. Blink your eyes, shake your head and remember: Washington was the juggernaut.”
For Gruden, the Redskins and their fans, it sure beats the alternative. You can find me @ScottSAllen or via email. Dan will be back tomorrow, provided his car doesn’t break down again. — Scott Allen