Mike Wise, now officially cured of the optimism-hating that crippled so many of his columns in the spring, penned a beautifully lyrical ‘tism love note to Jason Campbell in this morning’s paper. This focus on all that was positive from yesterday sounds as if it were written for the virtual pages of DCO itself.
All the points are there: Campbell is brilliant and will be even more so, as he continues to rack up career-best performances; late interception aside, he performed more-than-admirably in front of a raucous crowd of hostile Cowboys’ fans (many of whom may actually have been from Texas) – a crowd that also seemed to be well-sprinkled with burgundy-clad faithful; Sean Taylor would have put second thoughts into TO’s head yesterday, and prevented at least a couple of those showy touchdown grabs. Troy Aikman also jumped on the growing Campbell bandwagon, declaring it was “definitely worth” the Redskins trading draft picks to move up and select JC.
This loss could be a second incarnation of the Ugly Goal Theory (the first incarnation, brought to us by the Capitals, is still fermenting, as they continue to look for that elusive big win streak to break their moderate funk), in that this loss, disappointing though it is, could be that ugly, fluky goal that breaks a long drought (uninspired performances, won or lost) and ushers in a streak (big road wins to secure a playoff spot).
At 5-5, playoffs are still well within reach, and with this courageous loss to build on, the time is ripe for a Wizards-like streak. Going 4-2 the rest of the way to get to 9-7 is no more improbable this year than going 5-0 to close out 2005. I can happen, and it starts in Tampa, where the Redskins are well-familiar with winning playoff or playoff-like games.
This week also brought a couple more vindication points of sorts to the ‘Skins. First, that win against the Jets is looking more like a quality victory and not such a cause for concern (because of the squeaky nature of the win over a 1-victory team). It seems the Jets are a team to be taken seriously after all, beating the critically acclaimed Steelers in overtime. Second, Washington is erased from the record books as this season’s most brutalized Patriots’ victim. That honor now resides in Buffalo, home of the still-Super-Bowl-winless Bills. 52-7 isn’t pretty, 56-10 is less pretty. It’s 49ers vs. Broncos territory.
Back to Wise, his was one of the better pieces to appear anywhere in the DC sports world recently. It makes us want to resurrect the quasi-dormant Manny Acta Optimist of the Week Award and (again) bestow it on this now fully recovered optimism-hater. In fact, it even more makes us want to declare that, from this day forward, the words “optimism-hater” will no longer besmirch the good name of Mike Wise.
Finally, look at the rest of the season through these words of noted ‘tism sage Tom Boswell: “Despite another brutally close defeat…the Redskins actually produced more reasons for hope than causes for fresh anguish.”