This was a game Washington needed. The NFC East is so bad that even with only two wins on the season Washington is not out of it, but each week they fail to make up ground puts them further behind and much closer to being out of it. It is easy to call this game a must win as it is every remaining game on Washington’s schedule it is rare for teams to turn around a season much like Washington did last season at 3-6 and it is even more rare to see a team do it two seasons in a row.
It has become hard to believe in Washington finding success this year, and in order to do so they had to beat San Diego. With under a minute to play and San Diego just having a touchdown overturned they had first and goal on the one yard line. This is as close to an automatic touchdown as teams get in the NFL, and yet San Diego couldn’t convert. The Washington defense put up a goal line stand when they were needed most to force San Diego to kick a game tying field goal. When overtime started Washington got the ball and the win as they drove down the field on ten plays.
This was a game that could have gone very differently for Washington and stood as the symbolic end of, if not their season, their hopes. As it stands Washington is two game behind Dallas with one head to head meeting left on the schedule. At 3-5 they have their work cut out for them, and have close to zero room for error, but if the NFC East plays out as many expect Washington may only need nine wins to take the division and with both games against the Giants, one against Minnesota, Dallas, and the Eagles 6-2 to finish the season isn’t outside the realm of possibilities.
They are going to need more performances like today where Griffin completed 23 of 32 passes for 291 yards and Alfred Morris rushed for 121 yards on 25 carries. Let’s not forget the hero of the game, Darrel Young who scored three touchdowns while rushing for 12 yard on five carries. In total Washington had 291 yards through the air and 209 on the ground. They had 13 runs for a first down and 12 passes. It was a balanced attack and it helped to put them into a position to win.
The defense should also get some credit. It was, after all, their goal line stand that forced overtime in the first place. Without that stand Griffin, Morris, and Young’s efforts would have been wasted in another Washington losing effort. Winning the turnover battle is very important in the NFL and with Rivers’ two interceptions to Griffin’s one Washington’s defense was able to do that as well. If this game had ended with a larger margin of victory the fact that Washington held San Diego to just 69 yards rushing would be important, but Rivers was able to pass for 341 yards against the much maligned Washington secondary. All in all a victory is a victory, and a victory in a must win game keeps Washington in the hunt.