LANDOVER, Maryland — The day before hosting the New York Giants with the NFC East lead on the line, safety Dashon Goldson and some other members of the Washington Redskins spoke up at a players-only meeting.
"Everybody got stuff of their chest," Goldson said. "How they were feeling. What they thought about the team and where we're at and what we need to do to progress."
"To believe in what we've got," Goldson said. "We've got the talent here. It's just the mindset."
Hard as it might be to fathom, given just how many problems the Redskins have had this season, they currently reside atop their decidedly mediocre division, pulling even with the Giants at 5-6 after holding on to beat New York 20-14 on Sunday despite Odell Beckham Jr.'s latest "How did he do that?!" touchdown catch.
Saturday's gathering of players — no coaches allowed — was not the only one the Redskins have organized this season, but it might very well have been the most important one.
"There were some things that needed to be said, and we came out and showed it today," receiver Pierre Garcon said. "The guys responded."
Goldson said the meeting was his idea.
"We're just so much up and down," he said.
That is certainly true.
The Redskins are 5-1 at home, 0-5 on the road. Their previous two games included a 33-point victory, followed by a 28-point loss. They have yet to win twice in a row this season, something they hope to rectify in Week 13, hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
"Coach said it before: We're in a series of one-game seasons. ... It's going to be another dogfight," Washington left tackle Trent Williams said. "Dallas isn't going to come in and lay down."
Here is what else to know about Washington's victory over New York:
NFC LEAST: The Giants wasted a chance to take a comfortable lead in the division. The Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) and Dallas Cowboys (3-8) — both routed on Thanksgiving Day, and both missing their starting QBs — are the other members of the mediocre quartet. "We 'sleptwalked' — whatever the word is," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
COUSINS KEEPS STEADY: Kirk Cousins outplayed Eli Manning, going 20 for 29 for 302 yards, with a 63-yard TD toss to DeSean Jackson and a 1-yard sneak for a score. Most importantly, Cousins did not throw an interception, while Manning had the 20th three-pick game of his career. During the Redskins' current five-game home winning streak — the team's first that long in a single season since 1991 — Cousins has 10 TDs, zero interceptions and a 121.2 passer rating.
SO MUCH LOSING: The Redskins already have surpassed their victory total from last season, when they went 4-12. That was their sixth last-place finish in the past seven years. So even though they're still under .500, moving atop the standings means something at this point. "We're just in the driver's seat right now," defensive end Jason Hatcher said. "We've just got to continue winning games and driving the car — right into the playoffs."
WHAT A CATCH!: After New York trailed by 20 points, it made things interesting in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to Beckham's 21-yard touchdown reception. Racing down the left sideline, he launched himself at the 2 and, parallel to the ground, fully extended his body and used his left hand to corral the football. It was part of a nine-catch, 142-yard day. "Speechless. Can't blame anybody. That's just an effort that nobody can stop," Williams said. "That man's amazing."
EYES ON DESEAN: Washington's Jackson said he and Beckham are pals and spoke during the week leading up to their teams' game. "We have a mutual respect for each other," Jackson said. He also got plenty of attention Sunday, including for the way he strutted along the goal line before stepping into the end zone at the end of his long scoring play and because he returned punts for the first time this season. "I just do what comes to me. A spur-of-the-moment thing. I just felt like doing it," he said about his TD celebration. "You never know what you get with me."
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