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Test of Will, Version 2007

Canadian Hog

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Well, we're down that same road again folks. I can't help but reflect on how '05 is mirroring '07.

At 5-6 in '05, I truly thought we were cooked in terms of making the playoffs. If the 5-6 mark after 11 weeks wasn't enough in and of itself, than the heartbreaking manner in which we had lost games should have been the clincher in terms of making this team pack it in for the season. Let's look back...

@ Denver: The Redskins defense fell asleep on a few occasions allowing huge plays for touchdowns. Meanwhile, after a gritty performance in which we held in their against the Broncos, we missed a chance at a 2 point convert late in the game which would have had us headed to overtime where anything is possible.

@ KC: Now here is one that you simply can't stomach. Turnover after turnover costed this team a great opportunity to steal a game in a stadium that few teams manage to do. The Redskins flat out gave this game away.

@ Tampa Bay: After some early turnovers, the Skins managed to screw their heads on straight and take command of the ball game. When faced with a situation where the Redskins were a one yard gain away from icing the game with a fourth quarter lead, we let the opportunity slip away. The rest is history - Chris Simms does his best impression of Joe Montana, we jump offside on an extra point, and a lack of courage on the part of the officials to overturn Mike Alstott's two point convert gives Tampa the victory. This easily could have crushed our teams spirits.

Oakland: Well, if the Tampa game didn't do the trick, this game surely should have sunk us. A third quarter lead of 10 points, the Redskins playing down to the level of their weak competition all day long, and worst of all, our old buddy Norv Turner beats us in front of the same fans he drove nuts for seven seasons. A black cloud over Redskins nation for sure.

San Diego: A fourth quarter lead of 10 points, a flurry of penalties and mental mistakes in the fourth quarter when we had the opportunity to seal the game. This seemed like a bad case of Norvitis all over again. We must have not shaken the ghosts of the past afterall. Many Redskins fans were convinced that if we didn't already figure out every way to possibly lose a game, we did now. The common thought amongst us after this day was "so who are we going to target in the draft this year?"

5 straight wins later and this team found itself in Tampa Bay in the playoffs.

Fastforward to '07...

New York: a 17-3 halftime lead. The coaching staff decides to call it a day on offense in the second half and the Giants storm back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, with a chance late in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime, we stumble in a goal to go situation.

@ Green Bay: another halftime lead, another blown lead. A Santana Moss fumble seals the deal on another game where the Redskins find yet another way to shoot themselves in the foot and spoil a nice defensive effort.

Philadelphia: do I need to recap? The draw, a 22-13 lead with under ten minutes in the fourth quarter....you know the story. It somehow turns into a 33-25 loss.

@ Dallas: a chance to steal a road win after a 4 TD day by Terrell Owens falls short. A late INT in the red zone, and an inability to make plays at the utmost crucial times leads to the downfall of the Redskins in Dallas once again.

In the end, it'll come down to will and heart again.

In '05, we decided we wanted it more than everybody we faced in the final five weeks of the season. It was will that helped us overcome the heartbreaker after heartbreaker.

The same will apply this year....do we want it? Lord knows we've suffered through enough heartbreakers enough to kill the ordinary team. Are we going to fall into the trap of being an ordinary team, or will our will-power and heart prevail like it did in '05? That is the question. There is still enough to play for.

In '05 the 'Skins were tossing around the "5 in a row or we don't go" saying for the road to the playoffs.

Well, in that case, it's never too early to say it together....


* The opinions stated in this post do not necessarily reflect the true feelings of Canadian Hog. In no way, shape, or form, does he believe the playoffs are a viable option right now, considering the overall fortune of his team in his 19 years of experiencing life as a Redskins fan. As we know, it's usually too good to be true. But it doesn't hurt to hope. :)

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