WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Most will say the Redskins beat the Chargers 30-24 in overtime because of their passing attack. And that's fair.
Robert Griffin III was for the most part tossing darts on Sunday, and when his passes were off, Pierre Garcon was hauling them in one-handed. Griffin was 4-for-4 on the overtime drive, playing the part of a calm, cool and collected Pro Bowl quarterback. San Diego didn't properly game plan for Jordan Reed and the tight end found himself opening up the offense in the first quarter and hauling in a critical pass in overtime.
Some will say it was the Redskins running game who propelled the team against San Diego. And that's even more fair.
As long as the Shanahan's control the headsets, Washington will be a run-first football team. The Redskins are a career 10-1 when Alfred Morris gets at least 20 carries, a testament to his bruising style and correct play calling. Darrel Young's three touchdowns now makes the Redskins more difficult to defend in goal-to-go situations.
And is there anybody else in the NFL who could've pulled off RGIII's"jump-scramble" on third and nine? Although I disagree with MikeShanahan calling the acrobatic leap "the play of the game," it wasclassic Griffin wearing his heart on his sleeve in a key moment.
Griffin, Morris and Garcon will receive all the credit. That's just the fantasy football, stat-obsessed, era of the NFL we live in. They were the most impactful players on the field Sunday, but they weren't the most important.
That title belongs to rookie cornerback David Amerson.
For most of the afternoon San Diego rookie receiver Keenan Allen was having his way on Amerson, even juking the Redskin out of his cleats on a late touchdown. But two plays involving Amerson have altered the Redskins season.
His fourth quarter interception on Phillip Rivers was a veteran read. Amerson baited Rivers into the throw, nudged his way in front of Allen and undercut the well thrown ball, halting the Chargers drive -- and eventually gave the Redskins an extra three points.
With under and minute left and Rivers dicing up the Redskins secondary, it looked like a 2-6 record was inevitable. Rivers found running back Danny Woodhead on a dumpoff pass. As Woodhead leapt for the pylon, he was met in mid-air by none other than David Amerson. Originally ruled a touchdown, the play was overturned, and undervalued by the media and fans. With the talent he has on this roster, Mike Shanahan is sitting squarely on the hot seat if Amerson doesn't get to Woodhead in time. A loss to the Chargers and a Thursday night stinker in Minnesota would put the Redskins at an unacceptable 2-7.
With first and goal on the one, the Chargers statistically still had a 99.9 percent chance of winning the game. Some argue the Chargers dropped the ball with play calling. Some argue the Redskins defense pressured Rivers into those bad throws. In the end, it doesn't matter.
What many people don't grasp in the NFL is that it's the unsung heroes who propel average teams to playoff greatness. A play here, a play there, can unknowingly at the time transform seasons. With the ensuing goal line stand, nobody had time to catch their breath and properly recognize Amerson for essentially winning the game for Washington.
A 3-5 record in November shouldn't have Redskins fans as elated as they are. The Redskins overestimated themselves early in the season and were"shell shocked," according to Rob Jackson after the opening loss toPhiladelphia.
Washington was never supposed to be under .500 in 2013. All of the Redskins wins have come down to the wire. Putting it politely, the franchise quarterback is having an up and down season. The front seven hasn't terrorized opponents like they should be. Alfred Morris only has two 100-yard games. The second best receiving option on offense is a third round pick from Florida. Special teams have been a disaster in all eight games.
But 3-5 tastes much better than 2-6. Griffin and the read option jolted the league last year, but the Redskins are watching the playoffs from home without timelyinterceptions by Rob Jackson, or punt returns from Richard Crawford.
If more unexpected players can step up in critical moments like David Amerson, the Redskins season has barely begun.