- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: Redskins fans, your long national nightmare is over. And I think it means a lot. Certainly not to this season, which is lost to them, but to the confidence of a group of players that have been grinding it out under the weight of mounting negativity. The Redskins' players -- especially the defensive ones -- deserved to know what it felt like to win a game again, and the players who are part of the long-term rebuilding project and will be in Washington next year and beyond will benefit from knowing what it's like to win.
Run, Roy, run: First on the list of praiseworthy performances was that of rookie running back Roy Helu, who banged away and banged away at a very tough Seattle run defense before finally cashing in an acrobatic 28-yard touchdown run that cut the lead to three points early in the fourth quarter. If ever a coach wanted to show his players an example of the importance of sticking with the run even when it doesn't seem to be working, he could show them video of Helu's day. The rookie got the start and showed an ability to handle a full workload. That doesn't mean he'll continue to get them the rest of the way, of course. This is Mike Shanahan, after all. I'm sure he will want to see Evan Royster and doesn't want to get Helu killed if he's part of next year's plans. But the Redskins may have found something special in the run game with Helu.
Great game for Grossman: Yeah, he threw the two interceptions. And yeah, they cost the team points. But that's who Rex Grossman is. You can't have Grossman as your quarterback and not accept the fact that he's going to throw interceptions. His final numbers say he was 26-for-35 for 314 yards and two touchdowns, and if that comes with the two interceptions every week, at this point, I'd say the Redskins would be happy to take it.
Defense, take a bow: You might sit there and say there's no great glory in limiting Tarvaris Jackson. And you might point out that Marshawn Lynch ran for tough yards all day against the middle of the Redskins' defense. But this is a defense that has played well all season, that made the plays Sunday when it needed to make them -- right up until the DeAngelo Hall interception that sealed the victory. One of the touchdowns they gave up came on a short field after a Grossman pick, and other than that they were as tough as they've been and should get more than a few of the game balls.
What's next: On Sunday at FedEx Field, the Redskins will host the New York Jets, who are in playoff mode right now and at one point this year had one of the best defenses in the whole league, though they haven't been playing like it lately.