COMMENTARY | On Sunday, the Washington Redskins went from being on the brink of losing their season to one game out of first place in the division.
Oh what a difference a win makes.
Robert Griffin III did not throw an interception, the defense got back on track, every other team in the NFC East lost, and the Redskins are heading into the bye week on a high note.
With their win over the Oakland Raiders, the Redskins have completely turned things around and are ready to be the dynamic team we saw last year, right?
Not so fast. The Redskins still have a long way to go.
There is no question that Sunday's win was absolutely vital, but take a step back and look at just what the Redskins accomplished and who they did it against.
Oakland came into this game with only one win on the season, a 19-9 snoozefest against the winless Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, stretching into last season, the Raiders have a mere two wins in their last 13 games.
The Redskins did hold Oakland to only 298 total yards, by far the lowest total the defense has allowed this season and below Oakland's average of 351.3 yards per game. That feat was made much easier, however, with both the starting quarterback and running back sidelined by injury.
Terrelle Pryor started all three of Oakland's prior games, but was inactive against the Redskins, leaving Matt Flynn to start in his place. Starting running back Darren McFadden went down early in the game after just five carries, taking away the two key players on the Raiders offense.
Sure, the Redskins did not embarrass themselves defensively, but it may have been a different story had Pryor or McFadden been able to play.
Offensively, you could hardly call this a great performance by the Redskins. Griffin completed 18 of 31 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown. He did not turn the ball over which is an important step forward, but passing consistency remains an issue. He still looks uncomfortable in the pocket and was burned for an ill-advised intentional grounding on a 2nd and goal from the Raiders' four. He still has yet to return to season's form.
Let's also not forget that the Redskins still started slowly yet again and found themselves behind 14-0 thanks in part to a blocked punt.
The Redskins needed 60 minutes to put away one of the worst teams in the NFL in an ugly game. It was a win, but it did not come easy and did not look good.
This is not meant to take anything away from the Redskins, but it is foolish to believe that the team has finally figured everything out.
"It's just a win," Santana Moss said after the game Sunday. "Honestly, you're not gonna sit here and be like 'We're world beaters.' We won one game."
That 'one game' won't mean anything if the Redskins do not start playing better.
Later bye weeks seem like that would be more beneficial for teams, but perhaps it is coming at the perfect time for this team. They still have things to figure out. The good news is that the division appears to be just as lost as they are. The New York Giants are perhaps the most disappointing team in the league, Chip Kelly's system in Philadelphia has had little success, and Dallas looks like the same old under-achieving Cowboys.
Despite the terrible start for the Redskins, their season is far from over thanks in large part to their terrible division.. If they believe the effort they put forward in Oakland will be good enough to win the division, however, they're wrong.
JJ Regan is earning his master's in journalism at American University and is a current freelancer for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Follow him on Twitter @TheDC_Sportsguy
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