|QB Robert Griffin III's performance against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving has the Redskins thinking playoffs. (AP)|
Five days ago, the Redskins weren't thinking playoffs. That would have been silly considering their 3-6 record. But now? There's a chance they could be playing for first place in the NFC East in their next game (if New York loses to Green Bay on Sunday night). After their 38-31 win over Dallas on Thursday, the Redskins can legitimately target the postseason.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III tossed four touchdown passes for a second consecutive game and now has 16 for the season, with only four interceptions. Yeah, he's pretty good. Griffin's play-fake on the 68-yard TD pass to WR Aldrick Robinson froze the safety and led to an open target. Griffin made several throws that were perfect, including a back-shoulder toss to Santana Moss for a 6-yard touchdown. But he didn't do it alone. RB Alfred Morris rushed for 113 yards and continued to show an ability to create cutback lanes with his patience and ability to press the hole. WR Pierre Garcon had five catches for 93 yards including a terrific 59-yard catch and run for a touchdown on a throw that was behind him. His playmaking ability makes a huge difference in the offense. The line, particularly C Will Montgomery was solid. Previous game's grade: A
For the first half, the Redskins played at an A+ level, holding Dallas to three points and creating two turnovers that led to 14 points. But the second half featured some old issues, starting with allowing too many big plays. The offense provided them a 22-point cushion and they surrendered all but seven of it within a few minutes, starting with an 85-yard catch and run by WR Dez Bryant. The Redskins did a good job for much of the game applying pressure on QB Tony Romo with a heavy dose of stunts. But the Redskins didn't close strong and that could be something to watch down the stretch. Previous game's grade: A
Special teams: B
They continue to receive that grade because they do enough well but provide few big plays for the offense. However, PK Kai Forbath deserves a ton of praise for his 48-yard FG late in the game that all but clinched the win (following a great drive). Forbath's kickoffs had enough hang time to prevent good returns by the Cowboys. Of his seven kickoffs, Dallas started at its own 20 or worse five times and it started none beyond the 24 as the coverage again was sound. P Sav Rocca was excellent with a 45.2-yard average on five punts (and two inside the 20). But Brandon Banks continues to do nothing on returns and fielded one punt in the end zone. It led to Washington starting from its own 7-yard line. Previous game's grade: B
The Redskins' game plan took advantage of a Dallas defense that can be overly aggressive and a little undisciplined. And the third-and-inches call in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 29-yard touchdown pass to TE Niles Paul is a prime example. Dallas oversold to stop the run and it was an easy score. Defensively Jim Haslett had a good game plan, with the stunts in particular, but they still need to limit big plays and quick scores late in games. It's hurt them in other games. But give the staff credit for two straight wins after their situation looked hopeless. Neither Philadelphia nor Dallas are elite teams, but the Redskins handled their business the way a team should. Previous game's grade: A
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner. Follow him on Twitter @CBSRedskins or @John_Keim.