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Five takeaways from the Redskins' sloppy 33-19 loss to the Cowboys


Five takeaways from the Redskins' sloppy 33-19 loss to the Cowboys

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 33-19 loss to the Cowboys:

You can't be that imperfect when you have to be perfect—The Redskins went into this game needing to play mistake-free football due to their major injury issues. They went out and committed enough mistakes to lose a game even at full health. The blocked field goal in the second quarter that turned a potential nine-point lead into a one point deficit was the most glaring. The Redskins never led after that. Then two third-quarter fumbles let Dallas stretch its lead. On top of all of that, there were some dropped passes—a third-down drop by Josh Doctson when the game still was competitive—and some ill-timed penalties that contributed to making the mountain too high for the Redskins to climb.

The patchwork O-line did as well as could be expected—They weren't a new edition of the Hogs or anything but they didn't embarrass themselves either. T.J. Clemmings, Chase Roullier, Tyler Catalina, and, for most of the second half, Arie Kouandjio gave Kirk Cousins time to throw and stayed away from making penalties. The first flag against the O-line came late in the third quarter and it was on Morgan Moses. The four of them gained some valuable experience and the Redskins’ offensive line has some more proven depth than it did before. You just don’t want all four of them in the game at the same time if you can help it going forward.


The Redskins can't win unless they run—Even if I didn’t see this game, all I would have needed was a look at the rushing stats and I could have told you that the Redskins had lost this game. The running back carried 12 times and in all they gained just 49 yards rushing against the 24th-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. This team, like most in the NFL, can’t win if they can’t run.  

Defense fought well—Some might look at the 33 points the Redskins gave up and think that the defense played poorly. But Dallas got one touchdown after the blocked field goal fiasco gave them the ball at the two and another on the late pick six that Cousins threw. Add in the two fumbles that set up field goals in the third quarter and you have 20 points that were handed to the Cowboys on a silver platter. They weren’t dominant by any stretch, giving up 307 yards including 150 on the ground to Zeke Elliott. But they didn’t break often and the unit played well enough to win the game.

The Redskins are where nobody wants to be—They are going to Seattle to play in a must-win game. Maybe it’s not really a must-win but they will be in a desperate spot if the fall to 3-5. We don’t yet know who will be back from the injury list or who might be added to the list after tonight (Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, and others are possible candidates to miss a week or two). Maybe Brandon Scherff will be ready to play and Ty Nsekhe will be back to add some depth to the line. But even an intact Redskins team would have a tough time winning in Seattle. But it’s where the Redskins find themselves after being too banged up and making too many mistakes to steal a division win in Week 8.

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

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”


Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”


Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

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

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This group Redskins postgame interview was so much better than any group celebration from this year


This group Redskins postgame interview was so much better than any group celebration from this year

Get out of here with being thankful for good health and family and all that other nonsense.

The thing you should've been most grateful for on Thanksgiving was the tremendous group postgame interview the Redskins did after beating the Giants 20-10 at FedEx Field.

This year, group celebrations are the thing to do in the NFL, and they've been fine. The Steelers' choregraphed hide-and-seek was cute, and the Eagles have actually looked like the best baseball team in Philadelphia at times this season.

But those collective efforts have NOTHING on Kirk Cousins hand feeding Brandon Scherff a giant turkey leg or Ryan Kerrigan and Jamison Crowder cheers-ing with their own massive legs:


Can we all take a moment and look at how happy Morgan Moses is to rip a bite off of his drumstick?:

And please check out DJ Swearinger piggy-backing on random-signing-turned-starting-center Tony Bergstrom:

Four days after walking off the field following a sickening loss in New Orleans, the Redskins got to shove meat down their gullets. Winning in the NFL is more fun than losing in the NFL.