"You lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come. ... Obviously we're not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we've got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season."
Such speeches are common in the NFL, but they're usually spoken in mid-December when a team clearly is out of the running. Redskins players were perplexed that Shanahan essentially was throwing in the towel on the playoff chase with seven games remaining, including five against the NFC East.
Stung by the reaction to his words, Shanahan took to the podium Monday and read his postgame transcript out loud then made a rambling attempt to explain it.
"The remaining seven games that we have, each game is kind of like a playoff game," Shanahan said. "And what you want to do is see how your players respond. ... We will see how they play from now on for the rest of the season, and we'd better get their best shot because they'll be evaluated every game."
Around the league
Colts • Coach Chuck Pagano is winning his battle with leukemia. On Monday, Larry Cripe, Pagano's physician, said that the illness that has sidelined Indy's coach for more than a month was in "complete remission." On Sunday, Pagano watched the Colts win their third straight, 23-20, from the coaches' box and provided inspirational messages to players before and after the game.
Cowboys • Dismissing speculation that he might be interested in Sean Payton, Dallas owner Jerry Jones said he has "a lot of faith" in coach Jason Garrett and has no idea if the suspended New Orleans Saints coach might be available next season. Payton was suspended for the season by the NFL for his role in the bounty scandal.