Here's a look at the first half of the season for the Washington Redskins and a preview of what to expect in the second half:
The Redskins won three of four games between Weeks 2 and 6 and could have won the fourth. They looked ready to make noise in the NFC East. Then, the injuries hit. That, plus an inconsistent run game and a lack of production by their wideouts, altered the first half. Yet they’re 4-4, which shows resiliency and resolve -- and good depth. They’re 2-2 on the road vs. teams with a combined 25-9 mark. They have quality wins at the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks, but lost three games to two teams with MVP candidates: Kansas City and Philadelphia. Grade: Thanks to injuries, average.
Midseason MVP: Running back Chris Thompson. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is as important as anyone and played well, especially considering tight end Jordan Reed's health and the lack of production by the outside receivers. But it was Thompson who provided the big plays in multiple wins. He has 704 yards from scrimmage -- his big-play ability saved the offense after losing wideout DeSean Jackson. Thompson has a shot to become the fourth back in history to have 100 carries while topping 1,000 yards receiving. Linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Zach Brown deserve mention here, too.
Best moment: The diving catch by receiver Josh Doctson to the 1-yard line at Seattle, setting up the winning touchdown. After playing a good game with a banged-up roster, it appeared the Redskins would leave with nothing but an unwanted moral victory. But Doctson came through, catching the pass from Cousins. The defense stood out almost all game, but this moment will be remembered most in one of Washington’s best wins in recent memory.
Worst moment: There are two, starring Doctson again on one. In Kansas City when Cousins threw to Doctson in the end zone; he twisted, jumped and caught the ball -- but then lost it when he extended his left arm to soften a fall to the ground. Yes, a difficult catch, but had he held on, the Redskins could have beaten the Chiefs -- and their season would look different. Symbolically, the worst moment happened late vs. Dallas when the Redskins were forced to use a line that included two players signed within the past week, an undrafted rookie and another rookie sixth-round pick. It summed up what has become a ridiculous situation with injuries.
Second-half outlook: The Redskins are still in a tough spot because of injuries, especially along the offensive line. But it's not just the line, and that's why their outlook isn’t what it could have been. They still have games remaining against the Giants (two), Arizona and Denver. Upsetting Seattle restored hope for the second half. But they must have key players stay healthy and get consistent production from their wideouts to make legitimate noise. Cousins will be pivotal and can make himself look really good by leading a run. A lot will be placed on his shoulders, especially with a lackluster ground game. It's a tough spot for any quarterback, but the Redskins will need him to be terrific or clutch -- or both.