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Lou's View: Redskins Must 'Stick Together'

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One of my favorite movies is "Gladiator" staring Russell Crowe. When Crowe's character Maximus goes from general to gladiator, he tells his fellow fighters before entering the coliseum, 'If we stick together, we will be victorious.'

Wow. Is that not the Redskins right now or what? With only each other to draw strength from, they head into a battle with the odds stacked against them in front of a crowd that is ready to revolt if they do not show up to compete.

The 6-1 San Francisco 49ers are hitting on all cylinders, great on defense, much improved on offense and totally different when it comes to morale.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh has infused the type of optimism that many expected Mike Shanahan to do in Washington.

Two weeks ago, a rookie head coach in Carolina Panthers' Ron Rivera got the better of Shanahan. Could it happen again Sunday with Harbaugh? One thing that will not happen is Harbaugh shaking hands too hard after the game – one hopes he has learned his lesson from the Jim Schwartz handshake fiasco a few weeks ago.

When talking to players in the locker room this week, none of them who have been around believe that this year will not be like others when the team just fell completely flat. Despite all of the injures and the three-game slide, they still believe in themselves – just like the fighters in Gladiator.

Trent Williams' return to the offensive line would help combat a 49ers run defense that is giving up just 73 yards rushing a game. However, it will be the pass protection from Ryan Torain and Roy Helu when extra defenders blitz that will be a big key in keeping the quarterback upright and the Redskins offense in this game.

I asked Torain this week if scoring 21 points, which seems to be the number to have some success in this league, would be enough offensively against a 49ers team giving up about 15 points per game.

His response: "Just scoring more points than the 49ers will win the game."

This is true, but after getting shut out vs. Buffalo, this offense needs to get nasty and not just get by!

Stopping running back Frank Gore will be a challenge for the defense but getting to Alex Smith and forcing him to cough up the ball is the key. He has been sacked 17 times and he can be rattled!

The defense may have to score some points in this one for the outcome to be in the Redskins favor.

Before the season, it was thought the 49ers, making their fourth trip to the Eastern Time Zone on Sunday, would have to show that they are for real. On Sunday, it is the home team who has something to prove. They must prove it big or there could be one angry mob at the coliseum called FedExField on Sunday!

We turn back the clocks for daylight savings time on Saturday. Can the Redskins save any daylight left in their season?


Lou Holder is a long-time sports broadcaster in the Washington, D.C. region. He hosts "Redskins GameTime Live Presented by Verizon" for Redskins.com and the Redskins Broadcast Network.

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