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Why the Jonathan Allen injury will be tough to swallow for the Redskins

Why the Jonathan Allen injury will be tough to swallow for the Redskins

The Redskins received bad news Monday when tests revealed that rookie dynamo Jonathan Allen will miss at least the next three weeks with a Lisfranc Injury.

Losing Allen will be a serious blow for the Redskins. There's just no way to sugarcoat that. For fans looking for a silver lining, be happy the injury isn't more severe, and hope that Allen can be back inside of a month. 

Allen, spotted leaving FedEx Field in a walking boot on Sunday night after the Redskins 26-24 win over the 49ers, has been a tremendous boost for the Redskins defensive line.

He's started all five games for Washington this season, logged one sack and 10 tackles. 

Even more than his stats, however, Allen has provided a tremendous interior push for the 'Skins defensive line.

RELATED: BEST IMAGES FROM WEEK 6

Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have already combined for eight sacks this year; much of that is thanks to Allen cratering the pocket and forcing quarterbacks to the edge. 

Per Pro Football Focus, Allen ranks as the third-best overall player on the Redskins defense. His partner in crime on the line, Matt Ioannidis, is having a truly incredible second season, and likely owes some of the growth from the 2016 season to playing next to the rookie from Alabama. 

With Allen on the shelf, the Redskins will be forced to rely more on a combination of Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain and Ziggy Hood, and it would seem that Anthony Lanier will see his first action of the season, too. 

The current three to four week timeframe for the Lisfranc injury would mean Allen misses the Eagles game next Monday night as well as the Cowboys game at the end of the month. In three weeks, the Redskins face the Seahawks in Seattle, and Washington is a month out from facing Minnesota at home. 

RELATED: WEEKLY REDSKINS MVP AWARDS

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Week 6 NFC East Update: Giants break through, Eagles fly and trouble looms in Dallas

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Week 6 NFC East Update: Giants break through, Eagles fly and trouble looms in Dallas

The Redskins got an important, if ugly, win on Sunday, but the other NFC East teams in play got victories too. Even the Giants. 

The biggest story in the division, however, didn't play out on the football field. A Texas judge reinstated the suspension of Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, which could have a big impact in Dallas. Here's the NFC East update:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1, 2-0) - The impressive start continues for the Eagles. Philly went to Carolina last Thursday and beat the Panthers 28-23 behind three touchdowns from QB Carson Wentz. Offensively, the Eagles rank in the top-10 in nearly every main offensive category, including third in the league with 383 yards-per-game. Up next: vs Redskins on Monday Night Football.
  2. Washington Redskins (3-2, 0-1) - The Redskins had to beat the 49ers, and while it was hardly easy, Jay Gruden's team got the victory. One odd statistic: The Redskins have only scored 13 TDs this season. That's just one more touchdown on the year than the Giants, and fewer than both the Eagles and Cowboys. Up next: @ Philly on Monday Night Football
  3. Dallas Cowboys ( 2-3, 1-0) - The Cowboys didn't even play this week, but they took a big loss in the court room. A Texas judge reinstated the six-game NFL suspension for star RB Ezekiel Elliott. Now, this suspension has taken a number of legal twists and turns, and more could come, but it continues to be a distraction for Jerry Jones' squad. Up next: @ San Francisco
  4. New York Giants (1-5, 0-2) - The Giants finally broke through with a win — and in an unlikely game at Denver. The Big Blue defense showed up like it was 2016, and the offense stuck with the run game throughout the Mile High contest.

 

RELATED: 5 takeaways from Redskins' win over 49ers

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Why can't the Redskins hold onto their early leads or momentum in second halves?

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USA Today Sports Images

Why can't the Redskins hold onto their early leads or momentum in second halves?

The Redskins barely survived their game against the 49ers on Sunday for a third win in their pockets. Based on the first half, it should have been a relatively clear path to victory. But it also could have easily gone the other way, like their almost-win against the Chiefs two weeks ago, which ultimately became their second loss. 

If there was a pattern in the two games, it was the Redskins’ inability to build on early success. Against the Chiefs, they led 10-0 in the first quarter and were outscored 29-10 the rest of the way. Sunday, the lead was 17-0 with 1:51 left in the first half. but after that, they were outscored 24-9.

In fact, the Redskins have built up double-digit leads before the other team got on the scoreboard in each of their last four games. They led the Rams 13-0 and the Raiders 21-0. In three of those four games — every one except for the Raiders game — the Redskins let the opposition move into at least a tie.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

I’m old enough to remember the preseason, when there was much handwringing over the offense getting off to slow starts. In five regular season games, the Redskins have outscored the opposition by 27-7 in the first quarter and 75-40 in the first half. (Everyone should now nod and say the preseason means nothing, and everyone will remember that right up until the first preseason game of 2018 kicks off).

But the Redskins apparently can’t stand the prosperity. They have been outscored 73-42 in the second half.

If you look at the numbers, a lot of the second-half drop off is about the running game. In the first half, the Redskins have rushed for 375 yards with a strong average of 4.8 yards per carry. After intermission, they have 237 yards and an average of 3.4 per attempt. It should be noted that Jay Gruden is not abandoning the run. They have run 79 times in the first half and 70 in the second — hardly a statistically significant difference on a fairly small sample size.

RELATED: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE REDSKINS' TOO-CLOSE WIN

The Redskins also become easier to run against in the second half. Opponents have 162 yards rushing with a 3.2 average in the first half and 237 with a 4.0 average after that.

It’s not as simple as that, of course. There are moments of defensive lapses — like when coverage broke down and former Redskins receiver Aldrick Robinson was able to get wide open to catch a 45-yard touchdown pass from a scrambling C.J. Beathard, and when Alex Smith scrambled to his right and completed a pass that set up the winning field goal. The Redskins defense needs to play better in those moments.

The offense needs to perform better in the second half. That’s when the defense is supposed to be wearing down. The rushing average should go up, not down. The 49ers defense had been on the field for 68 plays when the Redskins recovered that onside kick. They should do better than three runs for six yards and a punt that gave San Francisco a last chance.

There is talk that the Redskins are a better team this year, and there are signs that they are. But if they don’t learn how to finish off their hot starts their record won’t show much improvement.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.