Sunday, October 2, 2016

My 'Skins get ugly win over Browns — but I'll take it

Hey, CCCers! Long time, no hear, right? It's been quite a while since I've been motivated enough to post anything here. But I guess it took a win from the Washington Redskins to inspire me — and hopefully get me back in the op-ed writing groove. HTTR, baby!

It had been too long since I’d seen my Washington Redskins play a 1 o’clock Sunday game.

As you can imagine, living here in Huron County means I don’t get to watch my team much during the NFL season. In fact, since I don’t have ESPN on my cable TV package, I had to go to Bluto’s Sports Bar & Grill to catch the Week 1 game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. I left midway through the third quarter of what obviously was another debacle on “Monday Night Football.”

Back to Sunday’s game 31-20 win over the Cleveland Browns (0-4), I was pleased to see the Redskins win their second consecutive game and improve to 2-2.

But their first home victory honestly was pretty ugly. There were way too many missed tackles and I was horrified to see how Washington’s defense simply disappeared for a long stretch of the game.

Somehow, despite how much the D resembled Swiss cheese — with big holes that allowed Cleveland’s runners gash the ‘Skins, it was Washington’s defense that helped grab a victory from the jaws of defeat. Two stripped fumbles and Josh Norman’s first interception as a Redskin swung the momentum heavily into Washington’s favor in the second half.

After running back Matt Jones found his way into the end zone, I started rooting for the clock. (I do the same thing in the third quarter when I cover high school games for the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper; but then I’m the scoreboard’s biggest fan due to tight deadline issues for Friday night football.)

Yup, Washington’s inept run defense and/or yet another costly pick by streaky quarterback Kirk Cousins means the Redskins quickly could have transformed into the Deadskins.

When this game was scheduled, sports writers and commentators started salivating over the storyline. Robert Griffin III, once considered Washington’s potential savior who was a human highlight machine his rookie season for Washington, would be playing at FedEx Field as the Browns’ starting QB.

But RGIII sadly has lived up to his reputation of being injury-prone and downright fragile. Instead of the intriguing story of Griffin facing off against his one-time backup, Cousins, during Sunday’s game, he remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Somehow, I hope RGIII can find a way to stay healthy and once again will become the dangerous QB he was four seasons ago. 

Now keep in mind Sunday's game is the only time I will root against Cleveland this season. That’s right, this lifelong Redskins fan cheers for the Brownies as his second team.

But as Week 4 approached, I was nothing but “HTTR” (short for “Hail to the Redskins,” Washington’s catchy fight song) — even wearing my ‘Skins cap and fleece when I covered the St. Paul-Plymouth game.

Honestly, rooting for the orange and brown hasn’t been too different than doing so for the burgundy and gold. There’s been a lot of bad, forehead-smacking football played for many years in Landover, Md. and Cleveland.

Washington hasn’t quite had the coach carousel the Browns have had — but it’s been close ever since Norv Turner finally got fired. Both teams have questionable owners and make more poor draft choices than good ones.

And keep in mind the Redskins have had quite a bit of QB drama also. For now we finally have found our franchise QB in “Captain Kirk” Cousins (who I saw play live during his coming-out party against the Browns his rookie season while filling in for the injured Griffin). But I can’t be the only ‘Skins fan who hopes each week “Good Cousins” will show up a lot more than “Bad Cousins.”

I’m not sure what’s been worse the last 12 years I’ve lived up here: Watching the Browns pile up losing season after season on TV or following the score ticker each Sunday, hoping beyond hope my 'Skins will get one in the “W” column.

Needless to say, this week will go a lot easier with a win. It’s a rarity since the Redskins and Browns disappoint me on a startlingly regular basis, so I’ll gladly sing “Hail to the Redskins” for good reason while I can.

Follow REFLECTOR staff writer and CCC blogger/webmaster Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at "Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger."

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column also appeared in the Oct. 3, 2016 issue of the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper.

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