It isn’t often Cowboys fans would find any reason to thank the Redskins for anything but losing. But, this week may be different. While the Cowboys were shutting down Chip Kelly and his vaunted offense and laying sole claim to first place in the NFC East, the Washington Redskins were in a shootout with the Chicago Bears. It was a back and forth affair that the Redskins eventually won 45-41.
So, what is good about the Redskins come from behind win? Well, here’s a couple of things to consider:
1. Jay Cutler – I think it is in poor taste to cheer any players injury. I’m not suggesting we do that here and I hope Jay recovers quickly. But, the fact of the matter is that Cutler’s injury could be a boon for the up-and-down Cowboys. Looming in the not-too-distant future is a December 9th road game in the unfriendly confines of Soldier Field – a tough environment any time but downright brutal in the outdoors in December on a Monday night in the Windy City. And, it’s December where the Cowboys record of late is not stellar.
As many fans and experts look forward and try to predict the season, the Chicago game was most often put down as a likely loss for Dallas. Now, with Cutler predicted to miss a minimum of 4 weeks with a torn groin muscle (just sounds really painful), the Bears are sitting at 4-3. Week 8 is their bye week thankfully, but they face games against the Packers, Lions, and Ravens the 3 weeks after that. If Cutler does miss only 4 weeks – unlikely if you saw him as he left the field yesterday – he would return to face a brutal stretch of his own with 4 of the next 5 games on the road. The sole home game in that period is the MNF game against Dallas. Even if he makes it back for that game, he’s likely very rusty. With that type of injury, he isn’t going to be doing much physical activity as he waits for his body to heal.
2. Playoff relevance – Remember the last time Jay Cutler missed significant time? In 2011, the Bears were 7-3 and playing well. After Cutler went down, they won only one more game and finished 8-8 missing the post season. The Redskins appear to be improving, but right now as the Cowboys seek their first post season appearance since 2009, the Bears were likely a bigger threat to Dallas either making the playoffs (if a wild card berth were in play) or actually facing Chicago in a playoff game. With the Cowboys holding a 1.5 game lead on the Redskins and another head-to-head game still to play, Dallas is still in the driver’s seat in the division. The remaining Dallas Cowboys schedule certainly isn’t easy, so this result could end up being very important.
3. Lance Briggs – see Jay Cutler. If Cutler is a key player on offense, Briggs is the heart and soul of the defense. He was also dinged up on Sunday and will likewise miss up to six weeks with a fractured shoulder.
You could also add the overly aggressive play of starting Washington safety Brandon Meriweather as a plus. He earned a two-game suspension as a repeat offender and will miss two key contests against Denver and the Chargers. He will be sorely missed. If the Cowboys can take care of business while the depleted Redskins are likely losing the next two, any hopes of an RGIII-led late season surge can be put to rest. But, for the record “Thank you Washington”. Now, no let up – Go Cowboys!