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First team offensive and defensive units struggle again in Week 2 of preseason

First team offensive and defensive units struggle again in Week 2 of preseason

LANDOVER, MD — The Redskins’ first-team offense struggled early once again, but they eventually managed to get their feet under them and put some points on the board.

The Packers got a touchdown drive out of Aaron Rodgers and they came away with a 21-17 win in what was the second preseason game for both teams.

Kirk Cousins and company went three and out on each of their first three possessions. The second one started in the red zone after a fumbled punt and the Redskins mustered a field goal. But there wasn’t much for the FedEx Field fans to cheer about.

They finally got a first down on their next possession. Washington didn’t get into the end zone until the final drive of the first half, a march that came against backup defenders. On a fourth and goal play from the four Cousins found Jamison Crowder at the goal line for the touchdown.

RELATED: Don't be fooled by the 1st Team's touchdown

Cousins’ numbers didn’t look bad when his night was finished. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 144 yards and the touchdown, a passer rating of 93.4. But, again, it should be noted that his most productive drives came against backup defenders.

The Redskins’ second-team offense got on the board in the third quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Colt McCoy to Niles Paul. Rookie running back Samaje Perine, who ran for 45 yards on eight carries, was the key in that 40-yard drive.

The first-team defense for Washington gave up a 75-yard touchdown drive to Rodgers. It looked like they had the drive stopped early but Rodgers pulled one of his favorite tricks, catching the defense with 12 men on the field, turning a fourth down into a first. Rodgers was six of eight passing on the possession and he ran twice for 15 more yards. The touchdown came on a three-yard pass to tight end Martellus Bennett.

The Redskins’ backup defense allowed reserve quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Taysom Hill to put together touchdown drives and that was the difference on the scoreboard.

RELATED: Terrelle Pryor's contract situation sounds a lot like Kirk Cousins

Injury update

OT Morgan Moses left the game in the second quarter after being shaken up but he returned quickly.

Scoring drives:  

First quarter           

FG Hopkins 34

Drive: 4 plays, 0:17, 0 yards

Drive summary: The Redskins had a golden opportunity after the Packers fumbled a punt and Niles Paul recovered at the Green Bay 16. But after three incomplete passes the Redskins had to go for three and Dustin Hopkins put it through.

Redskins 3, Packers 0

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Bennett 3 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)

Drive: 15 plays, 75 yards, 7:41

Drive summary: The Packers got their drive started with some Aaron Rodgers artistry. Or a cheap trick, whatever you want to call it. He went no huddle on third and five and on a replay review the Redskins were caught with 12 men on the field. One pass to Davante Adams and two to Jordy Nelson got the Packers into Redskins territory. On third and six, Rodgers scrambled for 13 yards to the 13. A hands to the face penalty set up a first and goal at the four. On second down, Rogers threw a fade to TE Martellus Bennett, who fought the ball away from ILB Zach Brown.

Packers 7, Redskins 3

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Second quarter

Jones 5 pass from Hundley (Crosby kick)

Drive: 7 plays, 73 yards, 3:49

Drive summary: After going three and out his first series, QB Brett Hundley heated up for the Packers. A pass to Trevor Davis got a first down at the Green Bay 44 and then he went deep to Jeff Cass for 38 yards to the Redskins six. On third down, Hundley found RB Aaron Jones wide open for an east touchdown.  

Packers 14, Redskins 3

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Crowder 4 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 10 plays, 78 yards, 1:55

Drive summary: The Redskins’ first-team offense remained in the game and started a drive with 2:08 left in the half. On third and seven, Cousins threw a nice pass to Vernon Davis, who had a step running down the right sideline. He pulled it in for a gain of 43 to the Packers’ 32. Two plays later Cousins to Josh Doctson picked up another first down at the 15. The Cousins flipped to Chris Thompson for s first and goal at the two. On fourth down from the four, Cousins fired to Jamison Crowder at the goal line for the touchdown.

Packers 14, Redskins 10

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Third quarter               

Paul 16 pass from McCoy (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 40 yards, 2:43

Drive summary: The Redskins started in good field position after Kendall Fuller returned a punt 12 yards to the Green Bay 40. A few plays later Samaje Perine converted a third and two with a 14-yard scamper around right end for a first down at the 14. On third and eight at the 16, Colt McCoy found Niles Paul on the left side of the end zone for the touchdown.

Redskins 17, Packers 14

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Fourth quarter             

Hill 23 run (Crosby kick)

Drive: 7 plays, 65 yards, 3:12

Drive summary: Taysom Hill came in at quarterback for the Packers. He converted a third down with a 17-yard pass to Jeff Janis and he moved the chains on fourth and one with a nine-yard scramble. On second down at the 23, Hill found running room up the middle and went in for the score.

Packers 21, Redskins 17

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MORE REDSKINS: Full in-game updates from Week 2 vs. Packers

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Opposite extremes, but loss of Chris Thompson, Terrelle Pryor tell Redskins story in 2017

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Opposite extremes, but loss of Chris Thompson, Terrelle Pryor tell Redskins story in 2017

The hype train escalated for Terrelle Pryor as soon as he signed in Washington. Folks looked at his 2016 production - 77 catches for more than 1,000 yards - and immediately saw huge potential paired with Kirk Cousins. 

The hype train barely moved when Chris Thompson signed an offseason extension with the Redskins. Despite a breakout season in 2016 - 700 total yards and five touchdowns - most Redskins fans expected similar production from Thompson in 2017.

Once the season started, however, it was obvious both men were on opposite trajectories. In fact, looked at a bit more carefully, it started to show during training camp.

RELATED: WEEK 11 NFL POWER RANKINGS

While fantasy experts predicted monster stats for Pryor, it became clear he and Cousins were not exactly on the same page. Cousins is a precise passer, wanting to know when and where his targets will break off routes and where he can throw the ball to hit an open man. Pryor, for all of his size and physical prowess, is still learning the receiver position, as he played quarterback almost exclusively in his career. 

Watching practices under the Richmond sun, it was obvious Josh Doctson was the team's best wideout. Still, the praise and hype mounted for Pryor.

By Week 1, expectations far outpaced reality, and on the first offensive play of the year Pryor could not find a deep pass from Cousins. In the moment it was just one play. In hindsight, it was a microcosm of everything that was to come. 

When Jay Gruden announced Pryor would go to injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season on Monday, it almost seemed like a fair way for things to end for all parties. Pryor has talent, and maybe in a system less exacting and more volume oriented (like 2016 in Cleveland) he can accel again. It wasn't going to happen in Washington, and as his playing time and targets dwindled, there was no reason for Pryor to play through ankle pain. 

Losing Pryor shouldn't make much of an impact on the final six games of the Redskins season because, well, Pryor didn't make much impact on the first half of the season either.

Losing Thompson is another matter entirely. 

RELATED: NFL APOLOGY LITTLE MORE THAN HALLOW FOR COUSINS

The five-year veteran was in the middle of a career year, leading all NFL running backs in receiving yards and likely on his way to being named the Redskins Offensive MVP. It's hard to overstate Thompson's value to this team. He is the best runner, receiver and pass blocker the Redskins had at running back, and one of the few game-breaking talents on the field. 

Washington likely needs to run the table, win out their final six, to make the playoffs. Doing that without Terrelle Pryor won't be too difficult.

Doing that without Chris Thompson, that's going to be very difficult. 

The 2017 season will be remembered by many as a year where injuries buried the Redskins chances. Early on, Washington looked like a possible contender. 

Losing Thompson, and Pryor, tell that story, but in very different ways. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

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Need to Know: How bad are the Redskins late in each half?

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 21, two days before the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference and open locker room, 11:45 a.m.; the team will conduct a walkthrough instead of a practice.  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 9
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 19
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 26

Quantifying the problem with giving up late points:

Anyone who has watched the Redskins this year knows that they have had problems keeping other teams from scoring points late in the first half and at the end of the game. How bad is the problem? Let’s look at the numbers.

The Redskins have given up 266 points on the season. That’s 31st in the NFL. Of those points, 96 have been scored in last three minutes of the first and second halves. Opponents have put up 12 touchdowns, eight one-point conversions, two two-point conversions, and four field goals.

For comparison, the average NFL team has given up around 40 points near the end of each half. Looking at defensive scores allowed only (two of the late touchdowns against Washington were on returns), the Redskins have allowed 10 touchdowns while no other team has allowed more than seven. The average is 3.96 touchdowns given up late by each team.

You can look at it this way. In the first 27 minutes of each half of their 10 games, the Redskins have given up 170 points, or about .31 points per minute. In the other six minutes of the games, the final three of each half, the Redskins give up 1.6 points per minute played.

How have the Redskins done scoring points late in each half? They have put up five touchdowns and three field goals, a total of 44 points.

How does this affect the big picture? On the season, the Redskins’ net point differential is minus-28. If you take out the late scores, they are at plus-24. It usually works out that the teams that have positive point differentials have winning records and those with negative performances are under .500.

We saw that big picture up close on Sunday. At the end of the first half, it looked like the Redskins were going to get at least a field goal as they had a nice drive going. But the drive stalled, a false start forced them to abandon even a field goal try and the Saints put together a quick drive for a field goal as time in the half ran out. Then, of course, there was the touchdown and tying two-point conversion with just over a minute left in regulation. That’s minus-10 in the last three minutes of a game they lost in overtime.

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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