Oct 29, 2010 - Standing at 4-3, with just a game separating them from a much-needed bye week, the Washington Redskins are at a critical juncture in the 2010 season. This week's contest against the lowly Lions wouldn't figure to be must-see TV, but for anyone who watched this team last season, Sunday's game means a heck of a lot.
The Redskins head into Ford Field with sour memories from their last visit to Detroit. When the Redskins left Michigan last year, they had just suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of a Lions team who had gone winless in their previous 19 games. The Redskins had already shown themselves to be a mediocre team before losing to Detroit, but falling to the NFL's saddest of sad sacks confirmed that Washington wouldn't be scaring anybody in 2009.
That excruciatingly painful three-hour event essentially spelled the end of the Jim Zorn era. AsChris Horton was whistled for a pass interference call to set up a key Lions' touchdown, all Zorn could do was raise his hands in disbelief as he watched his team do the unthinkable and walk off the field losers to the Detroit Lions.
Zorn lost more than a game that day; he lost his locker room. The players quit on him just three weeks into the season and went on to finish 4-12. 2009 featured medicine balls, slip-n-slides, and a bingo caller turned offensive coordinator as the Redskins further embarrassed themselves with several catastrophic performances on national television.
One could argue the swinging gate snafu against the Giants and a pair of humiliating losses to theEagles and Cowboys were sparked by that fateful day in Detroit. The Redskins were the laughingstock of the league week in and week out and all Zorn could do was hold on for dear life. The press conferences were full of optimism, but it was the kind with a false ring to it. Zorn grimly attempted to convey his hopes for 2010, yet everyone knew he was a dead man walking.
With Zorn in over his head, the team eventually collapsed completely under the scrutiny, injuries and mounting defeats. For the last three weeks of the 2009 campaign, Washington played perhaps its worst stretch of football in 20 years, and Zorn was out the door after a loss to the Chargers' scrubs.
Now, a year removed from the Detroit game, the Redskins return with a different attitude. They may not be among the NFL's most skilled squads, but they are tougher mentally and eons more confident under the new regime.
You tell me with a straight face last year's edition of the Burgundy and Gold would stand toe-to-toe with Colts or beat the Packers in overtime and I'll give you one of those fun-size Snickers for your Halloween stash. They would have been run off the field. This year; different story. The 2009 Redskins went winless in the division. This year they are already 2-0 and also boast a 4-1 conference record to boot.