The Redskins enter their bye week 1-3, with their lone victory an unconvincing 24-14 result against the lowly Oakland Raiders.
And yet, it is possible the next game Washington plays could be for first place in the NFC East and the fast track to an automatic playoff bid.
Mora once yelled at a reporter for bringing up the playoffs in the midst of a losing streak, but the Redskins are ready to embrace this improbable series of events.
“Nobody wants to be 1-3 four weeks into the season, don’t get me wrong, but we have to make the best of our situation — and it’s a good situation for us right now,” quarterback Robert Griffin III said. “If we come back after the bye and get a win, we’re right back in first place or second place, so it’s a great scenario.
“All you have to do is win the division to get into the playoffs, and that will be our focus moving forward — just keep winning games, and keep ourselves in a good situation.”
Their optimism is fueled by the train wreck that is the NFC East.
The Dallas Cowboys lead the division at 2-2, but nobody expects them to beat Peyton Manning and the red-hot Broncos next week.
Philadelphia is 1-3, having beaten only the Redskins, and the New York Giants are in even worse shape, having finished their September slate at 0-4.
The Giants host the Eagles this week, and a Giants win, combined with a Cowboys loss, would enable the Redskins to play for the NFC East lead on Oct. 13 in Dallas.
Of course, all the fancy scenarios in the world won’t mean anything without better execution, and the Redskins will work out today in Ashburn before going their separate ways for the bye week.
“This is a long season,” coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. “Don’t get carried away with things that happen very early or very late. Just stay the course, understand your goals and objectives and try to get better each day.
“A lot of those games can go either way, and people get healthy or get injured — a lot of things go into it.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s unit is one that appreciates the long-term outlook. Washington’s defense kept the Raiders within reach while the offense again sputtered through the first half.
“We feel good about the win, but we have a lot of work to do,” receiver Pierre Garcon said.
INJURY UPDATE: The Redskins did get some more good news Monday when the injury report came back on running back Alfred Morris.
Morris left Sunday’s game with a rib bruise, but he broke no bones and expects to play against Dallas.
“Nobody likes an early bye week, but at the same time, for me, it’s perfect,” he said.
Defensive lineman Chris Neild was also in for treatment Monday, and received an MRI on his injured calf. He told ESPN radio he had a mild strain and will be day-to-day.
Tight end Logan Paulsen had yet to be evaluated for his left knee injury when Shanahan spoke with reporters.