After two horrible performances against the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers over the last two weeks, Washington was already officially eliminated from postseason contention. It is now officially the “playing for pride” portion of the schedule for the Washington NFL team. These last few games are paramount for a lot of people associated with the franchise as more piss-poor efforts could bring significant changes within the franchise.

With that being said, Washington held off a furious late game drive from the Cardinals to win, 20-15, on Sunday and improve to 6-8 for the season.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) turns out of the pocket during the second half of an NFL football game against Arizona Cardinals in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

It wasn’t the most impressive victory, but from a team that has looked so disoriented in the last two weeks, fans will take it.  

Washington was buoyed by the efforts of the pass rush today as little-known Anthony Lanier had one of the most disruptive games by a Washington lineman in recent memory. Lanier — an undrafted talent from Alabama A&M — registered two sacks, a forced fumble and three batted balls as Arizona quarterback Blaine Gabbert was held to 16-of-41 for 189 yards with an interception and a fumble he recovered himself in the fourth quarter.  The much-maligned defense also held the Cardinals to 4-of-19 on third down conversions and an impressive 0-6 on red zone opportunities in which they had to settle for five field goals.

Kirk Cousins was 18-of-26 for 196 yards with touchdown passes to Jamison Crowder and new running back Kapri Bibbs. Bibbs caught his touchdown pass on an outstanding screen ass that fans haven’t witnessed since the season-ending injury to stud running back Chris Thompson.

Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine (32) carries the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against Arizona Cardinals in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington would stall on offense late in the second half, allowing Arizona to linger around longer than they should have.  But, they eventually closed the Cardinals out for the win.

Washington’s level of effort has been questioned from fans and media members—including myself this reporter—recently. But today, the effort seemed to be there throughout. There was passion on the field and on the sideline. And, as fans, all we want to see is a team seemingly caring about the product they are giving paying supporters.

As this season winds down, we can only hope that the team gives consistent effort from the opening whistle.  At this point, pride is all they have to play for.

Dion Johnson

Special to the AFRO