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Redskins spoil Broncos' holiday weekend with 16-point drubbing

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Redskins spoil Broncos' holiday weekend with 16-point drubbing

LANDOVER, Md. — The Redskins welcomed the Broncos to town on Christmas eve and sent them packing with a 27-11 win that felt a lot bigger.

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 Here are my observations from the Redskins' holiday romp.

—The Broncos got their running game going in their third possession and moved in for a field goal. The defense did get a red zone stop when the only pass of the 33-yard drive went for two yards on third and four.

—The Redskins got their initial first down of the game late in the first quarter when Kirk Cousins scrambled for seven yards on third and four. But the drive died after an incompletion on a long pass for Doctson and a false start that turned third and seven into third and 12.

—The Redskins’ stats after that drive:

—A nice drive by the Redskins was stopped after Josh Doctson had both hands on the ball in the end zone but he couldn’t hold on. Maybe a defender knocked it out but he should have been able to hang on. They had to settle for a field goal to make it 3-3.

—The Broncos came into the game with the second-worst turnover margin in the NFL and they have the Redskins an opportunity when Preston Smith sacked Brock Osweiler and got the strip. Zach Vigil recovered the fumble at the Denver 38. It took five plays for the Redskins to move in for a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder. 10-3 Redskins.

RELATED: REDSKINS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

—Denver drove into Washington territory near the end of the first half but the Redskins stopped the drive with their second takeaway of the game. DJ Swearinger made a juggling interception.

—For the second time in three weeks, the Redskins benefitted from an opposing player not having his head in the game near the end of the first half. Today, with time running out and the Broncos out of timeouts, Isaiah McKenzie caught a pass near the sideline with a clear path to get out of bounds to set up an short field goal. But he cut back into the middle of the field, got tackled, and the Broncos couldn’t get a snap off before the clock hit 0:00. Two weeks ago in Los Angeles, a back made a similar mistake during a run near the end of the half.

Denver Broncos.

—The Broncos got their running game going in their third possession and moved in for a field goal. The defense did get a red zone stop when the only pass of the 33-yard drive went for two yards on third and four.

—The Redskins got their initial first down of the game late in the first quarter when Kirk Cousins scrambled for seven yards on third and four. But the drive died after an incompletion on a long pass for Doctson and a false start that turned third and seven into third and 12.

—The Redskins’ stats after that drive:

—A nice drive by the Redskins was stopped after Josh Doctson had both hands on the ball in the end zone but he couldn’t hold on. Maybe a defender knocked it out but he should have been able to hang on. They had to settle for a field goal to make it 3-3.

—The Broncos came into the game with the second-worst turnover margin in the NFL and they have the Redskins an opportunity when Preston Smith sacked Brock Osweiler and got the strip. Zach Vigil recovered the fumble at the Denver 38. It took five plays for the Redskins to move in for a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder. 10-3 Redskins.

—Denver drove into Washington territory near the end of the first half but the Redskins stopped the drive with their second takeaway of the game. DJ Swearinger made a juggling interception.

—For the second time in three weeks, the Redskins benefitted from an opposing player not having his head in the game near the end of the first half. Today, with time running out and the Broncos out of timeouts, Isaiah McKenzie caught a pass near the sideline with a clear path to get out of bounds to set up an short field goal. But he cut back into the middle of the field, got tackled, and the Broncos couldn’t get a snap off before the clock hit 0:00. Two weeks ago in Los Angeles, a back made a similar mistake during a run near the end of the half.

— A 36-yard off-schedule Cousins pass to Ryan Grant got the Redskins into scoring position. But on second and goal, Cousins tried to force the ball to Josh Doctson in a crowd in the end zone and safety Will Parks had an easy interception.

—The Redskins kept moving on offense and they got on the board this time. A 36-yard pass from Cousins to Grant set up another Hopkins field goal to make it a two-score game at 13-3.

—As those of us in the press box were having a running debate about Josh Doctson’s effectiveness both for the game and the season. The he scored one of the easiest touchdowns you’ll ever seen when the Broncos blew coverage and was wide, wide open for a 48-yard touchdown.

— From halftime until there was 4:21 left in the game, the Redskins defense held Denver to 36 yards of offense and got a takeaway:

 https://twitter.com/CraigHoffman/status/945035126551072768

—A garbage time Broncos touchdown ruins the Redskins chance of not allowing a TD in consecutive games for the first time since at least the merger.

Fan analysis

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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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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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.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

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

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: