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Biggest observations from Redskins' stunning win against the Seahawks

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Biggest observations from Redskins' stunning win against the Seahawks

SEATTLE—Here are my observations made during the Redskins’ stunning 17-14 win over the Seahawks.

First half

—The Redskins’ pass blocking held up well in the early going. But there was a mixup in protection as Cousins went back to pass from the end zone. Linebacker Bobby Wagner came in on a delayed blitz and after Cousins looked away from his first option, Wagner was in clean for the sack and safety. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Seahawks couldn’t add more points after taking the free kick as Blair Walsh was wide left on a 44-yard field goal try.

— After Blair Walsh missed his second field goal of the game, the Redskins were able to piece together a drive. It was largely the Vernon Davis show as he caught a pass for 10 yards to convert a third down and then for 23 and 11 yards. Josh Doctson’s first reception of the game was good for a first down in the red zone. After looking out of sorts ever since the safety, Cousins was steady in leading the 13-play drive. With linebacker Ryan Anderson as the lead blocker at fullback, Rob Kelley powered into the end zone to give the Redskins a 7-2 lead.

—Whenever you watch a Seahawks game you see teams pressuring Russell Wilson but nobody can get home for the sack of the slippery Seahawk. Such was the case in the first half as the Redskins had defenders running free in the Seattle backfield but Wilson able to dodge them every time. He was able to either scamper for some yardage or get a pass off. Wilson is as frustrating to defenses as any player in the NFL.

—The Redskins’ offensive line deserves some credit for the moment not being too big for them in the first half. They had no false starts in one of the loudest environments in the NFL and they did not draw a holding flag.

RELATED: Redskins nearly turned Seahawks' Super Bowl LI fail into the greatest two-point conversion​

Second half                                                  

— Cousins had the one hot streak during the Redskins’ first-half touchdown drive but before that and to this point late in the third quarter. Perhaps it’s not fair to blame the Redskins’ issues with moving the ball all on Cousins. The Seahawks do have some good defensive backs and a wide-open receiver has been hard to come by. In any case, the Redskins are having a hard time moving the ball and with the score 10-2, they are one instance of Wilson magic from a tie game.

—The Redskins inability to possess the ball caught up with them as the Seahawks cranked out a 66-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. Seattle had only a slight edge in time of possession at the end of the first half. Now, with 11:48 left in the half, the Seahawks have a 28:14 to 19:58 advantage. It was 10 minutes to five in the third quarter alone. Wilson’s pass on the two-point try was intercepted and after a few laterals, the Redskins nearly had two points of their own. But the excitement ended at around the 10 and the Redskins were clinging to a 10-8 lead.

—The Redskins pieced together a nice drive starting with just under eight minutes left but they couldn’t quite finish it off. The burned the clock down to 2:22 left. The Seahawks got into Redskins territory when the defense lost Jimmy Graham but Wilson found him for a gain of 21. A few plays later Doug Baldwin got wide open and Wilson found him for 30 yards and the go-ahead TD.

—Cousins got the last-gasp drive going with a 31-yard pass to Brian Quick on the sideline that gave the Redskins a first down at the 38. Then Cousins found Josh Doctson running down the left side and the receiver made a diving catch at the one. On the next play, Rob Kelley got it in for the touchdown. The conversion gave the Redskins a 17-14 lead. That was some clutch play by Cousins and a great catch by Doctson.

—The defense was on the spot during Seattle’s final drive. Pressure helps but it’s hard to bring Wilson down so you keeping defenders in coverage may be the way to go. But they have to stay with their men. The Seahawks got into Redskins territory but they finally got a sack of Wilson. They had a final shot with four seconds left. A Hail Mary was incomplete and the Redskins walked off with a shocking win.

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

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

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

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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.