Think the Redskins took some solace in watching the Giants win the Super Bowl on Sunday night in the knowledge that they swept New York twice this season?
Think again, at least in the case of special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander.
Along with safety Reed Doughty, offensive captain Santana Moss and defensive captain London Fletcher, Alexander is one of just four men who played for Washington in its December 2007 victory at Giants Stadium over the eventual Super Bowl winners and the pair of triumphs over the champs in 2011.
And watching Big Blue beat New England for the second time in the Super Bowl in five years only made Alexander more upset about Washington’s 5-11 season.
“It didn’t make me feel good to see the Giants win the Super Bowl,” Alexander said in a telephone interview. “It made our season more frustrating. To me, it shows how inconsistent we are. We beat the Giants twice, pushed the Patriots and hung in there with the Niners (whom the Giants edged in the NFC Championship Game), but that’s meaningless.”
But ‘Zo, doesn’t beating the Giants 28-14 and 23-10 tell you that the Redskins could be the champs in 2012?
“Sure, we could say we could be where the Giants are, but they won their last six games,” Alexander responded. “We won five games all year. (Giants quarterback) Eli (Manning), (receivers Hakeem) Nicks and (Victor) Cruz played so well. Their D-line came on strong and their rushing game, which was last in the league, got hot at the right time. We beat the Giants twice, but that’s not something to be proud of because we went 5-11. We can’t keep playing up and down to the other team’s level. We’ve been doing that as long as I’ve been here.”
Indeed, Washington lost to NFC North cellar-dweller Minnesota a year after beating Super Bowl champion Green Bay but losing to then-lowly Detroit. In 2009, the Redskins came within a missed chip shot field goal of upsetting Super Bowl champion New Orleans but lost to those Lions and to hapless Kansas City. In 2008, Washington topped Arizona – which led the Super Bowl with less than a minute to go – but lost to bumbling Cincinnati. And in 2007, the Redskins beat the Giants in December, two weeks after losing at home to Buffalo.
“We’re too inconsistent,” Alexander lamented. “I’m sick and tired of losing. That’s why I can’t look back at our season, realize we beat the Giants twice and see that as a bright spot. There’s such a thin line between winning and losing in the NFL. Any given Sunday any team can beat any other team. But on the pivotal plays that decide games, teams like the Giants make the play seven times out of 10 and we make the play maybe three times out of 10.”
But for all of his frustration with being an important cog for a team that has endured three straight double-digit losing seasons and four consecutive years in the NFC East basement, the 28-year-old Alexander remains hopeful.
“I like the direction we’re headed in,” he said. “We have a lot of young guys playing well. I’m already looking forward to next year, but that has to change for us to get to where we want to be. I think we’re a year or two away and I hope I’m still here when we get there.”
The Giants rose to the occasion when it really mattered and we don’t do that.
David Elfin has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1975. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the author of the new book: “Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History.” A pre-game regular on 106.7-The Fan the last two Redskins seasons, he has been its columnist since March.