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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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Five final thoughts on Redskins vs 49ers

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Five final thoughts on Redskins vs 49ers

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 15, eight days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff, 12 noon, NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. 49ers, FOX, 1 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 15
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 22
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 39

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. 49ers

—The 49ers have a quarterback who gets rid of the ball quickly. Brian Hoyer only takes an average of 2.93 seconds from snap to pass (per Pro Football Focus). The way to combat that is to take the shortest path to the quarterback by getting pressure up the middle. Per PFF, only three 3-4 defensive ends have more quarterback hurries than the 10 that Matt Ioannidis has and Jonathan Allen has seven, including four against the Chiefs. If they can continue to get that pressure it could be a long day for Hoyer.

—When I took a first look at the Niners earlier this week I said that it looked like LB Ruben Foster, a reported first-round target of the Redskins last April, would not play due to an ankle injury. But Foster is listed as questionable and the 49ers suddenly released four-time All-Pro LB NaVorro Bowman on Friday so one can reasonably surmise that the rookie will suit up. Foster only got 11 snaps in the 49ers season opener before leaving with the injury so he is very green. But as Allen has demonstrated in Washington, it doesn’t necessarily take Alabama defenders long to adjust to the NFL.

—All week, my Twitter timeline has been peppered with questions about whether Mack Brown will play since Rob Kelley (ankle) is doubtful. He could get a crack today. One of the few areas where San Francisco is in the top ten statistically is average yards per opponent rushing attempt. The 49ers are eighth, giving up 3.6 per attempt. Samaje Perine, who is expected to start, is averaging 3.1 per carry. If he doesn’t improve on that significantly in the early going, or if he loses the handle on the ball again, we could see Brown getting a shot.

—A key for the Redskins will be getting the 49ers to continue to struggle on third down on both sides of the ball. On offense, San Francisco converts on just 29.7 percent of their third downs, 31st in the league. Defensively, opponents have racked up first downs at a 47.4 percent clip. That’s also 31st in the NFL. If the Redskins can convert nearly half of their third downs tomorrow and if the defense can hold the line to less than a third, Washington should be in very good shape.

Prediction: You could argue that if not for failed red zone trips against the Eagles and Chiefs the Redskins would be undefeated. The home team should be able to handle San Francisco. Their ability to get touchdowns and not field goals when they get into the red zone will be the difference between a win that has fans saying, “is that all you got?” and a blowout that would give credence to the top-10 power rankings around the internet. I don’t think they will hang half a hundred up like they did the last time a bad 49ers team came to Washington but there is no reason why this shouldn’t be an easy win for the home team.

Redskins 38, 49ers 14

Predictions season record: 1-3

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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Kirk Cousins must step up and a look at progress and setbacks during the Redskins week that was

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USA Today Sports Images

Kirk Cousins must step up and a look at progress and setbacks during the Redskins week that was

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 14, one day before the Washington Redskins play the 49ers at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 9
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 15
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 22

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the top posts and hot topics from the past week on www.RealRedskins.com and www.NBCSportsWashington.com.

Five who must step up the rest of the season—I drew some heat for including Kirk Cousins on this list. And although his last two games have been solid, his body of work for the season is not quite up to his standards and not quite what the Redskins need. Against the Eagles and Chiefs, the Redskins had the ball with a chance to win in the late going and didn’t get it done. While the quarterback is not completely responsible for getting it done in those situations he gets the credit when they do pull out the game and he gets a lion’s share of the blame when they don’t. That effect is magnified when the QB is taking up 14 percent of the salary cap. 

Redskins looking to snap 12-year streak vs. 49ers—We don’t write much about point spreads but the fact that the Redskins are double-digit favorites for the first time this decade (last in 2009) was an interesting reflection on the state of the team, at least how the team is perceived. And their struggles when they have been heavy favorites is also reflective of how the team tends to play down to the competition.

Redskins player one-liners—offense—Come for talk about the underachieving (except for Ryan Grant) receivers and stay for looks at the state of the offensive linemen.

Progress in some areas, others still lagging—The Redskins went into the offseason looking to improve the performance of the defense on third downs and the production of the offense in the end zone. At the quarter pole of the season, they have achieved one but not the other.

First look at Redskins vs. 49ers—Maybe the Niners should have won a game or two this year instead of being 0-5. Pro Football Reference pegs their “Expected W-L”, based on their points scored and give up, at 1.6-3.4. Forget the concept of decimals here, round them to the nearest whole number and you get 2-3. But don’t let that make you think that they are a good team; they’re not. If the Redskins really are taking that next step into the top 10 teams in the league, as Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric and some power rankings have them, they should easily handle Kyle Shanahan’s squad.

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.

Check out what was happening on Friday at Redskins Park via this Twitter Moment.

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Tandler and Finlay with your Fast Friday Redskins news roundup.

Posted by Rich Tandler on Friday, October 13, 2017

From the locker room

Most of the time players express confidence about their ability to play when talking to the media. Not Trent, not here.

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