The Redskins are 6-7 and still alive in the postseason chase largely because of the fact that several reserves emerged on Thursday night.
The most prominent backup forced into action was quarterback Todd Collins, who rose to the occasion in a key NFC game at FedExField.
Collins, the 13-year NFL veteran who hasn't started an NFL game in 10 years, stepped in for the injured Jason Campbell and was exceptional in the Redskins' 24-16 win over the floundering Chicago Bears.
Collins threw two touchdowns passes and really gave his team a spark as the Redskins put an end to a four-game losing skid.
"Todd immediately hit some things when he first got in there," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "That kind of gives you some confidence. He is very poised in there.
"It's hard for [the pass rush] to get to him because he is so smart and quick. He knows exactly where to go with the ball."
As a team, the Redskins are coming off an emotional stretch in which they played two games in five days, wrapped around the funeral of Sean Taylor in Miami. By coincidence, Taylor's image was on the tickets for last night's game.
In that tough stretch, the Redskins needed some key reserves to step up as needed.
Collins wasn't the only backup who stepped up in the win over Chicago, a team that looked far removed from their Super Bowl run of just one year ago.
In this one, the Redskins received solid contributions from a host of unheralded players.
-- Tight end Todd Yoder outran Chicago linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer on a crossing route, and then he beat safety Danieal Manning at the goal line for a 21-yard TD grab from Collins in the second quarter.
Yoder hadn't caught a touchdown this season. His last catch came at New England, which seems like centuries ago.
His touchdown catch from Collins seemed to get the veteran quarterback into the flow, and in a hurry.
-- Reserve cornerbacks John Eubanks and Leigh Torrence both produced four tackles for a secondary that was depleted after Fred Smoot was carted off with cramps.
-- Special teams received a huge boost from the likes of Anthony Mix and Matt Sinclair. Both Mix and Sinclair came up with a pair of tackles in helping the Redskins contain the explosive Devin Hester.
Overall, it was a night when the Redskins saw about a half-dozen of their backup players become players of impact.
"I really appreciate our players," Gibbs said. "They have great character. They keep swinging and going hard. I thought [the Bears game] was a very emotional effort."