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Sir Winston Churchill once said, “a joke is a very serious thing.”
What the perennial punchline accomplished Sunday against rival Dallas was no laughing matter.
Inserted into the starting lineup over six-time Pro Bowler Donovan McNabb(notes), a move which reportedly stirred widespread concern in the Washington locker room, Grossman instantly gained the respect of his teammates, recording his best effort since 2006. His shocking 32-point fantasy contribution (344-4-2, fl, two 2-point conversions), second only to Michael Vick(notes) among quarterbacks in Week 15, also forced the fantasy community to reassess.
This, after all, was the same worthless embarrassment who once posted a QB rating four years ago in Minnesota equivalent to functioning braincells currently roaming around Albert Haynesworth’s(notes) head (1.3). And that was during his best statistical season. Combustible, not competent, performances are his signature.
However, the ‘Skins offense, previously stagnant under McNabb, appeared rhythmically smooth under Grossman. Chains moved. Long, impressive drives were logged. Points ignited the scoreboard. In a season wrought with turmoil, Mike Shanahan, despite the loss, experienced a small sense of satisfaction. He made the right call. From the Washington Post:
Coaches praised Grossman for doing some of the things that McNabb had struggled with this season: managing the game, reading coverages, making his progressions, spreading the ball around and finding the right receiver based on each look.
"He executed," Shanahan said. "He executed the offense. We have a system. You've got to go through your reads. It's very complicated to tell you what he did. He just executed. There's a lot of different coverage, lot of different blitzes. We have routes called for different coverages. He went out there and performed like a veteran performs. I was really pleased the way he handled himself …"
The reviews from the other offensive players were positive. Tight end Chris Cooley(notes) said the offense Sunday seemed to find the rhythm it had searched for all season. Center Casey Rabach(notes) said Grossman brought a "real upbeat" energy into the huddle. And receiver Santana Moss(notes) said the Washington offense was "light years from where we were two weeks ago."
To be fair, Grossman's banner day came against a Cowboys defense which packed it in weeks ago. Entering Week 15, only fellow Texas representative, Houston, had surrendered more fantasy points to signal callers. Considering the very favorable matchup, his spectacular showing, though improbable, was not impossible.
This week, Rexy may again bring sexy back.
The ‘Skins travel south to face Jacksonville, one of the league’s friendliest pass defenses. On the year, the Jags have allowed 268.4 passing yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game to QBs. Only the aforementioned Texans and Cowboys along with the Pats and Eagles have been more generous. They’ve also given up a league-worst 8.4 yards per attempt. With adequate downfield weapons in Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong(notes) and Chris Cooley and a sound running game spearheaded by Ryan Torain(notes), Washington shouldn’t have difficulty moving the pigskin. Jags corners Rashean Mathis(notes) and Derek Cox(notes), who’ve conceded the third-most 20-yard pass plays this season, will be overmatched. Yes, Grossman is a magnet for turnovers – he totaled three against the ‘Boys – but another top-10 tally isn’t unthinkable.
Most would characterize trusting a temperamental quarterback with a virtual trophy on the line a farce. Critics would say the Noise has better odds of scoring Scarlett Johansson on the rebound. But the constantly chided passer could, unbelievably, have risk-takers laughing all the way to the bank.
Fearless Forecast: 24-39, 292 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns 2 turnovers, 20 fantasy points
Image courtesy of US Presswire