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Redskins can't cool down red-hot Case Keenum; outgunned by Vikings

Redskins can't cool down red-hot Case Keenum; outgunned by Vikings

The Redskins were looking to string together quality wins with the Vikings at FedEx Field in Week 10. 

But the Redskins ran in to a red-hot Case Keenum and Adam Thielen, and did not have enough firepower to fight back.

The end result was a dissapoiting 38-30 Loss , which moves the team to 4-5, while the Vikings improve to 7-2, having now won five games in a row.

Here are Rich Tandler's observations made during the Redskins’ loss to the Vikings, focusing on the key matchups of the game with Josh Norman against the Vikings’ trio of receivers and the Redskins’ offensive line against the stout Minnesota defensive front.

First Half

Redskins offense
— The big news pregame was that Everson Griffen, the Vikings defensive end with 10 sacks to his name was inactive. On the other side of the ball, all of the Redskins’ first string offensive linemen were active. All started except for Spencer Long. Chase Roullier started at center in his place.

— On the first series, the line was able to open holes for both Rob Kelley (2 carries, 10 yards) and Chris Thompson (1 for 6). They also gave Cousins plenty of time to complete four of four passes to four different targets. Cousins had all day to put up a nice touch pass that Maurice Harris snagged with a diving, one-hand catch for a TD.

—On the Redskins’ third series, Spencer Long came in at center. That’s unusual, we will see if that is it for the game or if Roullier comes back in. Update: Roullier came in shortly after that and finished the game.

—Cousins stated to feel some pass pressure on the Redskins’ third possession. It was mostly from up the middle. But the drive was kept alive when tackle Linval Joseph was flagged for roughing the passer on a third-down incompletion. The protection held up well on a fourth and two play, giving Cousins plenty of time to complete a pass to Chris Thompson that was good for 27 yards to the eight. That got the Redskins a field goal.

—The Redskins got their running game going after Minnesota took a 14-10 lead. It was Samaje Perine in for the injured Rob Kelley picking up 26 yards on six carries. Chris Thompson also found some running room. A holding call nearly derailed the drive but the line gave Cousins time to find Jamison Crowder for 32 yards and first down. They finally were able to get just enough push on a QB sneak to retake the lead.

Redskins’ defense
— On the Vikings’ third play, Josh Norman was in coverage on Stefon Diggs. The receiver got a step on his defender and Case Keenum had plenty of time to loft a pass that Diggs hauled in for 51 yards down to the two yard line. Two plays later, the Vikings were in the end zone. They were playing in press coverage and Diggs got past him.

— Norman nearly came up with a pick of a pass intended for Laquon Treadwell. Keenum had lots of time but no receivers open. He threw low to Treadwell down the middle and Norman nearly made the diving catch. Later in the drive on third and goal at the four, Diggs made a nice move to get free of Bashaud Breeland in the end zone and Minnesota took a 14-10 lead.

— Adam Theielen had two big catches and they weren’t necessarily on the defensive backs. It looked like they were in zone coverage in both plays and it appeared that Zach Brown was not in position to make a play on either one. It’s hard to say for sure but don’t automatically assign responsibility for wide receiver catches to the defensive back who was the closest.

— Thielen got the touchdown on that drive, getting a well-thrown pass just out of the reach of Norman, who nearly batted the pass down.

RELATED: MAURICE HARRIS MAKES CATCH OF THE YEAR

Second Half

Redskins offense
— Down 35-17, the Redskins got moving in the third quarter. Again the line opened running room for Perine and Thompson and Cousins had time to throw. On third a four a 36-yard pass to Crowder he had plenty of time. He also had time to throw after the first and goal but the Turf Monster got Josh Doctson on what would have been an easy touchdown and Crowder dropped one in the end zone on third down.

—The Redskins got into the end zone on a two-yard drive following a Swearinger interception. It was a little scary as the Vikings defense got some push on first down and batted down Cousins’ first-down pass. Then Cousins made it into the end zone on a read option. He lost the ball after he scored and it was originally called a Vikings TD the other way. It was adventurous but the Redskins manage to make it a one-score game.

— The line was holding up well as the Redskins drove into Vikings territory. But on third and one at the 33, Chris Thompson was stuffed going up the middle. On fourth and one they tried to send Thompson wide right but Linval Joseph busted through the line and dropped the runner for a loss. That seemed to end the competitive phase of the game.

— The interior offensive line was an issue all day. In particular, nose tackle Joseph was a play killer, with some tipped passes and that key stop at the end. On the plus side, they allowed only one sack in the late going and the Redskins did get a bit of a running game going.

Redskins defense
— The Adam Thielen show continued in the second half. On the first series of the half Norman had tight coverage on a first and 10 play but he backed off just before the snap. Thielen got open deep anyway and Keenum lofted a perfect pass for a gain of 49. The Redskins have a killer combination of loose coverage and no pass rush going on right now.

— If you had D.J. Swearinger as the Redskins defender who was going to make a play, you win. Keenum threw his first bad pass of the day, off of his back foot under pressure from Ziggy Hood. The ball looped downfield and Swearinger got the pick at the 19.

— Double your money on that Swearinger bet. He jumped a pass intended for Kyle Rudolph at the Vikings 33 and returned it to the two. Two plays later Kirk Cousins scored on a read option and the Redskins were back within a score.

—In the end, it was Thielen who torched the Redskins, although Diggs did have his moments. Thielen had eight receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. Norman got burned his share of times but he also got to the Redskins when they were in zone defense. A lack of pass rush didn’t help. The Redskins rushed Keenum on occasion but they got no sacks and few hits or hurries. That’s not going to get it done.

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Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

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Need to Know: Five potential Redskins first-round draft picks

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 17, 56 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 48
—NFL Draft (4/26) 99
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 235

Five possible Redskins first-round draft picks

As you can see from the “Days until” counter above, the NFL draft is 99 days away. A lot will happen between now and then but let’s look at some prospects who will fit the Redskins and who should be available at pick No. 13.

ILB Roquan Smith, Georgia—If you watched Georgia at all during the national semifinals or finals, you had to be impressed with his instincts, speed, hard hitting, and solid tackling. Even if free agent Zach Brown stays, the Redskins could pair him up with Smith and have a dynamic pair of inside linebackers for the first time since they started running the 3-4 in 2010. The problem for the Redskins is that his high-profile performances in those big game may have pushed Smith into the top 10.

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma—A quarterback should be the choice early in the draft unless Kirk Cousins is signed to a long-term deal. Mayfield is an unconventional type of QB at about 6-1. There’s a lot to like about him, though—mobility, playmaking ability, and deep ball accuracy. He seems to have learned from his off-field mistakes, including an arrest about a year ago (apparently for yelling). In any case, if he is on the Redskins’ radar they will thoroughly vet him between now and draft day. Other QB possibilities are Josh Allen of Wyoming and Lamar Miller of Louisville.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama—Hey, why not another wide receiver, which would be the second one in the first round in three years, and another member of the Crimson Tide after taking Alabama players 1-2 in 2017. I know that people would cringe at another round 1 WR but after Terrelle Pryor flamed out last year it certainly is a need. Ridley would represent a solid value at No. 13.

DL Vita Vea, Washington—This pick would solve a couple of problems. At 6-4, 332 Vea has the size and strength needed to play nose tackle, solving another problem that has been around since 2010. What might make him worth a first-round pick is that he doesn’t have to go to the bench in nickel. Vea is versatile enough to rush the passer and play three downs. Start a line with Vea, Jonathan Allen, and Matt Ioannidis, mix in a few quality rotational players, and get Jim Tomsula to coach them up and you will have a top-notch D-line. As of right now, Vea is considered to be more of a late first-round player but a lot can change in the next 99 days.

RB Derrius Guice, LSU—Dreams of getting Saquon Barkley at No. 13 are just that and trading up far enough to get him would cost way too much draft capital. But Guice is a good mix of speed, power, agility, and receiving ability. With the exception of Alfred Morris’ first couple of seasons, the Redskins have been ordinary at best since the prime of Clinton Portis a decade ago. Many were impressed with Sony Michel of Georgia, who could be available in the second round.

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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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one: