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Skins Win with 10 Surprises

The Washington Redskins got into the holiday spirit, delivering their success-starved fans a little badly-needed Christmas cheer with an improbable 20-17 overtime win over the Jaguars. But it took 10 decidedly un-Redskins-like surprises to make good on Sunday’s bonus stocking stuffer and complete Redskin’s fans Christmas lists:

#1 – Swing Away Merrill
Graham Gano made an early 48 yard field goal on the Redskins first possession of the game look oh-so-easy. The Redskins wouldn’t need the leg of 'he who remains tenuous’again until overtime. But his smooth as silk effort on field goal #1 was surprisingly effortless and started things off positively for the Skins.

#2 – Hands of Lead?
We may have to change his name. Carlos Rogers hands are still pretty heavy, but they weren’t stone today. Rogers interception of a David Garrard pass set up the Redskins first touchdown of the day and provided them with an early 10-0 lead.

#3 – Cooley-ing Off
Not all of the Sunday surprises were of the gleeful variety. Chris Cooley had the worst first half of his career dropping pass after Grossman pass, beginning with a gimme touchdown pass so easy, Joey Galloway could’ve reeled it in. He made a few clutch passes and worked hard to erase the bad memories in the second half, but it was still about as ugly a game as you’ll ever see from a guy as capable as Chris Cooley.

#4 – Sleepy to the Rescue
Cooley was rescued from total scapegoatdom by fellow tight end Fred Davis, who after Cooley’s dreadful drop of a certain touchdown, held on to a similar pass for a score a play later. It wasn’t surprising that Davis made the catch, just that these Redskins were able to blow a huge opportunity, then turn around and erase it with a score a play later. Our Redskins just don’t do that kind of thing.

#5 – Ruh-Roh Shaggy
One of the biggest first half surprises was that the other guys were missing makeable field goals, not our Redskins. Scobee’s wide-left attempt from 44 yards was surprising, given he hasn’t missed a first half field goal in all of 2010, and has made 83% of his kicks lifetime. A missed first half field goal might not seem like a noteworthy event, but in this one, it was the difference maker.

#6 – Not this Time
After a solid first quarter, the Redskins went soft, giving up a TD and game momentum in the second. Taking the field for the second half, Redskins fans everywhere braced themselves for the inevitable 80 yard 6 minute drive the Skins in their boundless generosity usually provide the opponent. Instead, the defense set the tone for the rest of the game, surprisingly forcing the Jaguars into a 3 and out to begin the second half.

#7 – Slobberknockin’
After 4 successive punts to lead off the first half, Jacksonville tied it up at 10-10 courtesy of a 34 yard field goal. It was hardly shocking that the Redskins had been unable to widen their lead, put the Jaguars away, or keep them from coming back to even the score. What was surprising was the Redskins next possession, a 14 play, 72 yards, 7:50 minute smash-mouth drive from days gone by, featuring 10 ram-it-down-your-throat rushing plays, and a critical 4th and goal from the Jaguars 1 yard line.

#8 – Gut Check
Points had been hard to come by. With the Redskins facing 4th and 1 from the 1 yard line, the 'smart’ call for Kyle Shanahan was to kick the field goal. But Shanahan eschewed smart for gutsy and had Ryan Torain leap over his hodge-podge offensive line for the go-ahead touchdown. The Redskins had gone down for the standing eight, stood right back up again, and delivered their own right cross. Not something you see every Sunday, and they did it to a playoff-contending Jacksonville team in their own house.

#9 – Barnes-burner
How many times have Redskins seen this movie? Redskins play gamely, lead or trail closely the entire game, only to give up the game-tying field goal late in the 4th quarter. The script then calls for loss of the coin toss and giving up a quick easy game-winning score in overtime. It’s what we do. But on a day filled with surprises, it was only fitting it end with a final one. When Kevin Barnes stepped in front of a David Garrard pass deep in Jaguar territory, the Redskins had the ball and were only an easy field goal away from victory.

#10 – Picture Perfect.
With the game in the balance, Graham Gano stood waiting for the overtime snap. Snap…hold…the kick is up…and it’s good. The Redskins didn’t commit a penalty. They didn’t snap the ball over the holder’s head, bobble it, or experience any other kind of colossal meltdown. They just forced their opponent into a mistake, and made them pay for it.

On a day where some of the worst officiating of the year was on display, including several calls that all by themselves could’ve cost these Redskins the game, the burgundy and gold had a few surprises of their own up their sleeves.

Including a surprising win to place joyfully in their fan’s Christmas day stockings. And a lump of unwanted coal in that of play-off hopeful Jacksonville Jaguars fans.
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