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Five takeaways from the Redskins' humiliating loss to the Chargers

Five takeaways from the Redskins' humiliating loss to the Chargers

CARSON, CA—Here are five observations from the Redskins' disappointing loss to the Chargers.

If you can’t overcome adversity, this is what happens: The last two weeks the Redskins have faced some tough times. And instead of responding by fighting back against the Cowboys last week and the Chargers today, they have folded. Teams in the NFL are pretty even in terms of talent. Most will go through bad stretches at some point during a given game. It’s how you respond to the challenges when they arise that often makes the difference between winning and losing. The Redskins’ inability to respond left them way in the dust the last two games.

Kirk Cousins isn’t there yet: This was another game where you couldn’t really blame the quarterback for the loss but at the same time he didn’t do enough to pull the team to a win. He made some good throws but two in particular—the one that was tipped and intercepted to set up a Chargers field goal and the overthrow of Vernon Davis on fourth down when the Redskins had a chance to make it a game—were costly. Again, I don’t expect Cousins to put 30 points on the board by himself. But along with the rest of the team, he didn’t do enough in response to adversity.

The defense has fallen apart: This is no longer a fluke, it’s an epidemic. They have allowed 30 points or more in six of their last eight games. Sure, they have been hit with injuries but today they lined up nine Week 1 starters. I’ll bet that compares favorably to many other teams around the NFL. I’m not sure if it needs to be totally rebuilt but it certainly needs another solid draft and a free agent or two.

The Redskins tried to balance the offense: At one point in the third quarter, the Redskins had nearly the same number of running plays as passing plays. That was a good plan but the Redskins just couldn’t sustain anything on offense. They ran just 50 plays and went two for 12 on third down. You just aren’t going to win doing that.

Breeland gets first defensive TD of the year: They could have used it much earlier but Bashaud Breeland got a hold of a pass in the fourth quarter and bolted 96 yards for the Redskins’ first defensive TD of the season. Jay Gruden talked about the need to get big plays, game-changing plays, especially if you can’t convert on third down. If that had come earlier, it would have qualified. As it was, it just made the final score less embarrassing.

RELATED: Redskins fail to be competitive on offense or defense vs. the Chargers

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.

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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

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Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Five pivotal games on the Redskins' schedule

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 20, six days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Five pivotal games on the Redskins’ schedule

All NFL games are important but some seem to be a little more important than others. At first glance at the Redskins’ schedule, these seem to be the five most pivotal games. 

Week 1 @Cardinals—Wait, Week 1 is pivotal? It is if you’re Jay Gruden and you are 0-4 in season openers. Starting off in an 0-1 hole again after losing a winnable game would not get things off to a positive start. 

Week 7 Cowboys—The only Redskins-Cowboys game that Kirk Cousins started in the last three years that Washington won was the 2015 season finale in Dallas, a game that was meaningless to both teams. Alex Smith needs to take advantage of his shot at the Cowboys. Beating Dallas is important for being competitive in the division and for job security in general. This is their shot at them at home.

Week 9 Falcons—Atlanta has been among the league’s big boys the last couple of years. The Redskins get them at home, on grass, when the weather could be turning a little bit chilly. It’s a good opportunity to upset a dome team. The game also ends the first part of the season and the Redskins face a second half of the schedule that has just three home games. 

Week 14 Giants—This is one of the aforementioned scarce home games in the latter part of the season. It’s preceded by road games in Dallas (9-7 last year) and Philadelphia (Super Bowl champs) and followed by roadies in Jacksonville (lost AFC title game) and Tennessee (won a playoff game). Nobody is quite sure to what extent the Giants will rebound from their dismal 2017 season but this game has the feel of a possible oasis surrounded by hostile deserts. 

Week 16 @Titans—If the Redskins are in playoff contention, this game will determine a lot even though its non-conference. As noted, the Titans are looking to improve on their playoff season last year and they will not be a pushover by any stretch. But if the Redskins want to be able to say that they are a better team than they have been the last couple of years, this is the kind of game they should win. 

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.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—OTAs start (5/22) 32
—Training camp starts (7/26) 97
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 142

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