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A day of ups and downs for the Redskins

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A day of ups and downs for the Redskins

ATLANTA—When Scot McCloughan came in as the Redskins general manager, the talked about having a tough team. Jay Gruden has talked a lot about resilience lately. The Redskins displayed both attributes by the bushel in the Georgia Dome today but they couldn’t come away with a win.

They seemed to have today’s game with the Falcons under control at times. A few times it looked like they were sure to win it. At others it looked like there was no way they would be able to rally. Here is a look at the game’s ups and downs.

Up: The Redskins did what they have been doing all year, putting together a long drive and capping it with a score. This one went 12 plays and culminated in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Derek Carrier to give the Redskins a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. I looked like the Redskins were having one of those lucky days as Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant dinked makeable field goals off of both the left and right uprights.

Down: Bryant did manage to his a couple of field goals, though, and the Redskins were clinging to a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter. Then the Falcons got a little luck as Devonta Freeman fumbled trying to get it into the end zone but Julius Jones recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown that put the Falcons up 12-7 with 9:14 left to play.

Up: The Redskins bounced back immediately, taking just three plays to regain the lead. A 26-yard pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder got things going. Then Cousins went for Rashad Ross on a deep pass that drew a pass interference flag. That set up Matt Jones’ two yard touchdown run on the next play and the Redskins were up 13-12.

Things were looking even better after Bashaud Breeland picked off a Matt Ryan pass and made a nifty 28-yard return to the Atlanta 21. They burned off over three minutes of clock before Dustin Hopkins’ field goal put them up by four with 2:38 left.

Down: But they don’t call Ryan Matty Ice for nothing. He engineered an 80-yard drive. It looked like Freeman scored the game winner with 51 seconds left when he lunged into the end zone after catching a slant from Ryan. But the ball popped loose when he hit the ground and a replay review overturned it. No matter, Freeman scored on a run with 24 seconds left to put the Falcons up 19-16. So all the replay reversal did was allow the Falcons to burn more time off of the clock and create an even more desperate situation when the Redskins got the ball at the 20 after the kickoff.

Up: But it turned out that the Redskins had just enough time. A 20-yard pass from Cousins to Carrier got it going and then a deep pass over the middle to Pierre Garçon got them to the edge of field goal range. After Jamison gained seven yards on an out pattern, Hopkins came in and booted a 52-yard field goal to send it into overtime.

Things were looking good in overtime as the Redskins moved to midfield. They were a few plays away from perhaps a field goal to take the lead our a touchdown that would win it.

Down: The one last down moment was the dagger. On second down, Cousins had pressure in his face and pass to the right sideline in the direction of Ryan Grant. But the receiver slipped to the ground, allowing Robert Alford to get an easy interception and a 59-yard return for the TD to end it.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins lose a heartbreaker as Cousins throws OT pick-six

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198