by Rick Snider

The conversation on the Washington Redskins has changed. Instead of another embarrassing nighttime loss, Washington showed a national audience it can be a playoff contender.

The Redskins defense knocked the snot out of the favored Oakland Raiders, who are expected to be among the AFC’s top Super Bowl contenders. Washington made Oakland look feeble in the Redskins’ 27-10 victory on Sunday.

Forget early projections of 5-11 or picking seventh in the 2018 draft by national publications. Even 106.7 The Fan broadcaster Chris Russell’s potential 5-11 walk-of-shame looks unlikely. The Redskins (2-1) appear headed for at least another eight- or nine-win season for the third straight year, which hasn’t happened since 1989-92.

It was one of the Redskins’ best victories in FedEx Field’s 20 years. Maybe the 77,123 in attendance was only 60 percent home fans, but visiting black-clad fans barely rumbled. The Redskins owned the night.

Short three starters, including tight end Jordan Reed and running back Robert Kelley, Washington withstood special teams and offensive gaffes for 10 Oakland points with a smothering defense. The Raiders never got into “Beast Mode” on offense. Instead, they were the prey.

Certainly, quarterback Kirk Cousins delivered his best game of the season. He completed 25 of 30 for 365 yards with three touchdowns and a 150.7 rating. Worth every dollar of that $24-million deal on this night.

Receiver Josh Doctson stole an interception on the Raiders’ two-yard line that became his first catch of the season and a 52-yard score. That agility is why the Redskins drafted Doctson in the first-round last season and waited and waited through several injuries.

It was only one victory, but a big one that many didn’t expect. Instead of a potential 0-3 start with a date at Kansas City (3-0) on Oct. 2, which many feared after a lopsided opening loss to Philadelphia, Washington is suddenly good enough to shrug off bad expectations. And should they beat the Chiefs, it would seem that anything is possible.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.


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