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Dustin Hopkins produces more magic in win over Tampa Bay

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Dustin Hopkins produces more magic in win over Tampa Bay

Bashaud Breeland's fourth-quarter tackle of Doug Martin before the Tampa Bay running back could get into the end zone was massive. So too was Jordan Reed's touchdown catch with 24 seconds left to go in the game.

But momentum really started to shift in Washington's favor when Dustin Hopkins executed a surprise onsides-kick to quickly give his team the ball back after they had just cut their deficit to 24-14 in the third stanza. The offense then marched down the field again and immediately scored to get within three points.

After the win, the kicker talked about how important it was for him to keep his composure during the incredibly important turning point.

"I was definitely, before that, trying not to get wrapped up in the moment," he said. "And make sure I didn't overkick the ball."

The man who Jay Gruden has referred to as "magic" says that he practices those types kicks a lot, but he isn't quite ready to give himself the praise that Washington's head coach has been heaping on him recently. He did admit, however, that the Redskins noticed something about the Buccaneers' return team that made them think that particular play could work against them.

"When another team allows you to have that opportunity — you see something in the game plan that opens up — then you work on the kick to try and make it work," he said.

Gruden expanded on that idea in his press conference. 

"We worked on it all during practice and we saw the look a couple times," he said. "We kicked off before that [and] we liked the opportunity to take a shot with it. It was a great kick, great kick by [Hopkins] and a big play, big play in the game."

Hopkins' job wasn't done after the gusty call, though. After Reed caught the game-tying pass late in the fourth, he had to come on amidst FedEx Field's hysteria and knock in an extra point to put Washington up 31-30. For him, he made sure to keep everything as routine as he could.

"I'm not trying to think about where we are in the game or anything like that," he said. "I'm just trying to treat it like another extra point and go through my mental cues…To be a part of [the comeback] with a couple of kicks was huge."

Since arriving in D.C. after Week 1, Hopkins has been money. He's missed just one field goal on 12 attempts and is perfect on PAT's. Being a kicker in the NFL this year has been tough, but for Hopkins, he's made it look quite easy. And on Sunday, he changed the entire complexion of the matchup with a simple flick of his right foot. Not bad for a guy who was taking part in only his sixth career game.

MORE REDSKINS: JORDAN REED MAKES HUGE DIFFERENCE VS. TAMPA

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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Another Thanksgiving game for Redskins

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Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

Redskins release official 2018 regular-season schedule

The 2018 NFL regular-season schedule is finally here.

We’ve known who the Redskins will play in the 2018 season and where the games will be played since the regular season ended.

Now we know the when.

Here is the Redskins 2018 schedule; games are at 1:00 Eastern unless otherwise indicated.

The first thing that jumps out is the Thanksgiving game. This will be the third straight year that the Redskins have played on Thanksgiving. Two years ago they lost at Dallas and last year the got a win over the Giants at home. 

Three Thanksgiving games in a row for a team that is not the Lions or Cowboys, the two teams that traditionally host on Turkey Day, is not without precedent although it is unusual. Besides Dallas and Detroit, only two teams have played in three straight Thanksgiving games since the 1970 merger.

The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between the played at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Washington Redskins 2018 Regular-Season Schedule

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9. 4:05 PM at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Sunday, 9/16 vs Indianapolis Colts
Week 3 Sunday, 9/23 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 4 BYE
Week 5 Monday, 10/8. 8:15 at New Orleans Saints 
Week 6 Sunday, 10/14. vs Carolina Panthers
Week 7 Sunday, 10/21. 4:25 vs Cowboys
Week 8 Sunday, 10/28.  At New York Giants
Week 9 Sunday, 11/4. vs Atlanta Falcons 
Week 10 Sunday, 11/11. At Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Week 11 Sunday, 11/18. vs Houston Texans 
Week 12 Thursday, 11/22 (Thanksgiving).  4:30 at Dallas Cowboys 
Week 13 Monday, 12/3. 8:15 at Philadelphia Eagles 
Week 14 Sunday, 12/9. vs New York Giants 
Week 15 Sunday, 12/16. At Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 Sunday, 12/23.  At Tennessee Titans (Time TBD)
Week 17 Sunday, 12/30. vs Philadelphia Eagles

2018 REDSKINS SCHEDULE NOTES:

  • If the Redskins are going to take advantage of home cooking, they will need to get off to a good start. They have five home games in the first half of the season. After Week 9 they have just three home games and they face a stretch of four road games in five weeks in late November and December. Three of the teams in that stretch, the Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans, made the playoffs and won at least one game. The Eagles, of course, won it all. The other road game in that stretch is against the Cowboys, who finished 9-7 last year. 
     
  • The Redskins will open on the road for the first time since 2014 when they opened in Houston. This year they will have to travel west to Arizona and try to win to remove the goose egg in Jay Gruden’s 0-4 opening-game record as coach of the Redskins.
     
  • They get an early bye, in Week 4. That will be their earliest bye week since 2007 when the bye also came in Week 4. 
     
  • On the plus side, their two games in Florida come at times when hot weather is unlikely to be a factor. Their game in Tampa comes in November and the contest at Jacksonville comes in mid-December. 
     

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