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Need to Know: The 5 most important plays from Redskins' win over 49ers

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: The 5 most important plays from Redskins' win over 49ers

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 16, seven days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden news conference 3:00 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 13
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 20
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 37

RELATED: 5 takeaways from Redskins win over 49ers

Five key moments from Redskins vs. 49ers

Kirk Cousins’ 11-yard TD pass to Josh Doctson — The Redskins got on the board first, an important thing to do when you’re a strong favorite at home. The play capped a 75-yard drive that demonstrated some offensive creativity. It was a strong start for Washington.

Recovering from second and 19 — The Redskins had another solid drive going in the second quarter when Chris Thompson got thrown for a loss of nine yards on first down. In the recent past, the Redskins might as well have punted then and there, given the odds of making the first down were extremely slim. But two Cousins passes to Jordan Reed did the trick and the drive stayed alive. It culminated in Samaje Perine’s first NFL touchdown.

D.J. Swearinger’s penalty late in the first half — The Niners found some life when rookie C.J. Beathard came into the game. He got them down near the goal line with seconds left in the first half. It was about to be fourth down and two but Swearinger drew a personal foul penalty, giving San Francisco a new set of downs. The 49ers eventually got into the end zone as the half expired. Although Pierre Garçon appeared to be taunting Montae Nicholson, who was on the ground after a collision with the ex-Redskin receiver, Swearinger said that he has to be smarter than that. He does.

Vernon Davis’ fumble and the subsequent return — The Redskins were leading by seven in the third quarter and had good field position at their own 37. Davis lost the ball fighting for some extra yardage and Jimmie Ward recovered and returned the fumble to the one. After the next play, it was a tie game. The Redskins knew they were in for a fight.

Davis’ 51-yard catch and run — The Redskins were up by just three midway through the fourth quarter. On first down at the Washington 27, Cousins hit Davis with a short pass down the season. It nearly was a carbon copy of the play in Kansas City with Davis building up a head of steam and cutting across the field all the way down to the San Francisco 22. Five plays later, Cousins kept the ball on a read option and scooted in from seven yards out to give the home team what proved to be (just barely) an insurmountable lead with 3:28 left to play.

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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An ankle injury has ended Terrelle Pryor's first, and probably last, season with the Redskins

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USA TODAY Sports

An ankle injury has ended Terrelle Pryor's first, and probably last, season with the Redskins

As high hopes for the Redskins season seem to be slowly slipping away, the high hopes for wide receiver Terrell Pryor can now officially end.

Jay Gruden announced Monday that Pryor will undergo ankle surgery and be placed on the injured reserve. That means Pryor will not be eligible to play for at least eight games, and considering it’s already late November, that closes the book on Pryor’s 2017 season.

When Pryor signed with Washington this offseason, fans grew quite excited. The 6-foot-5, 240 lbs. wideout went for more than 1,000 receiving yards last year on a terrible Browns team, and most expected that production to increase playing with Kirk Cousins.

It never happened.

MORE: KIRK COUSINS ISN'T THRILLED WITH NFL'S APOLOGY FOR MISSED CALL

In nine games for Washington, Pryor grabbed only 20 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown. What made matters worse for the former quarterback-turned-receiver, Pryor displayed subpar hands, and drops plagued him throughout the season. He was targeted 37 times, and barely caught more than 50 percent of those passes.

As things deteriorated for Pryor, he maintained a respectful professionalism. Eventually his ineffective play led him to the bench and reduced snaps, and in his final game of the season against the Vikings, Pryor did not even land a target.

Signed to a one-year deal, Pryor rolled the dice on a season in Washington to boost his free agent profile in 2018. It didn’t work, and now after surgery, it seems unlikely either the player or the organization would pursue a second contract.

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

NEW ORLEANS — Collectively, the Redskins squandered a great road win on Sunday.

The team coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to pull off an incredible, unbelievable comeback win. 

The Redskins deserve the blame. The players and coaches. But they're not alone. 

The referees made a terrible intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter that cost the Redskins precious time and real estate.

Kirk Cousins very obviously threw the ball away to stop the clock, and the quarterback was very obviously not under duress from the Saints pass rush.

In no fashion was the throw grounds for a flag.

None. 

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LOSS TO SAINTS

Yet, the refs penalized Cousins and the Redskins. As much as replay bogs down the sport, Jay Gruden had no recourse, the flag could not be challenged, and the 'Skins were thrust out of field goal position.

Late Sunday night, a report showed that NFL officials contacted Redskins team president Bruce Allen to say the call was wrong. Whoop de do. That means nothing, and Cousins knows it. 

"Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.," Cousins said Monday speaking on 106.7 the Fan

And he's right.

RELATED: DEAR FANS, STOP WITH THE 'FIRE GRUDEN' TALK

"This is our careers, this is our livelihood," Cousins said. "It is frustrating when a letter is really all you get when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives."

Cousins' future, Gruden's future, countless other players and coaches, they don't get to hang a sign that says, "The NFL blew a call."

For the third straight offseason, Cousins will be without a contract, and a long-term deal remains anything but certain. This loss, and that call, could impact those contract talks. 

This loss, and that call, could impact coaching changes or draft strategy too. By dropping to 4-6, the Redskins seem unlikely to push for a playoff spot now. Might the organization think differently of their franchise QB if the team fails to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons? Sure, that could definitely happen. Should it happen? Probably not. Could it happen? It could. 

Don't misunderstand: The Redskins blew a 15-point lead in three minutes. That's abysmal. That's absurd. One penalty flag didn't change that. 

But it was a huge penalty, and it was a terrible call. 

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Cousins played nearly flawless in New Orleans, connecting for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards. His most important pass, however, was one that was harmlessly into the ground, with no intended receiver. 

"I'm thinking, well [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally throw it over their heads, they're in the area, they're eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I'm not under pressure, it's not intentional grounding," Cousins said. 

It's not intentional grounding. Cousins knows it. The NFL knows it. But it doesn't matter now. 

"The difference between a team that’s patting everybody on the back at the end of the season and a team that everybody gets fired, the difference can be a few plays, it can be a call by a referee," Cousins said. "It's a very fragile thing."

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