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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win

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Five takeaways: A lot to like about the Redskins' dominant primetime win

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 27-10 win over the Raiders:

This was the Redskins best defensive performance since 1992. That was the last time they held an opponent to under 128 total yards. They were physical, smart, determined and they made plays. If not for two turnovers they would have had a shutout. Oakland did not cross the Washington 48 without the benefit of a gift. Just dominant. 

With a strong defense, you can do what you want to on offense. I asked Kirk Cousins how much running for a couple of yards a pop as Samaje Perine was doing early in the game helped the offense. He answered in part by saying that the offense can afford to run for a low average per carry when the defense is playing so well. That's true. A punt isn't a bad play when you are confident that you are likely to get the ball back three plays later. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Best photos from NFL Week 3, Redskins 27 Raiders 10

Chris Thompson just keeps getting better every week. His patience when he has the ball in his hands and his ability to burst into the opening when it's there are textbook excellent. Oh yeah, his open field speed, which he gets to show off after being patient and cutting, is also amazing. Even the smaller plays, like two near the end of the half, when he wove his way through the cracks in the defense and then got out of bounds after gaining everything he could, are fun to watch. He is the Redskins' offensive MVP so far. 

Doctson showed why the Redskins drafted him on one flash. Nobody is going to give Josh Doctson an MVP award but we did see his potential when he went up and took that deep pass away from David Amerson for the touchdown. Plays like that make you see why the Redskins drafted him in the first round and why they have been patient with him. He will need to develop consistency but in the meantime, splash plays like that help a lot.

It’s hard to find fault in this one. Normally in these posts, I try to find a positive in a loss and something to be critical of in a win. But it’s really hard to find much to be critical about in the immediate aftermath of this one. Jamison Crowder’s muff of a punt certainly was an issue and perhaps Samaje Perine could have made more out of the line’s blocking for him. But from the defense to Cousins to Thompson to Zach Brown to D.J. Swearinger and many more, it was as dominant a game as we’ve seen from this team in a while. Can they keep it up? Tune in next Monday from Arrowhead Stadium and we’ll find out.

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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How Redskins' injuries are plunging Kirk Cousins' stats

How Redskins' injuries are plunging Kirk Cousins' stats

Kirk Cousins just did something he has never done before, and it’s not something good.

The Redskins quarterback passed for 196 yards against the Cardinals on Sunday. That comes on the heels of a 151-yard passing performance against the Chargers. This marks the first time that Cousins has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in consecutive games since he was named the starting quarterback just before the start of the 2015 season.

The closest he has come to posting sub-200 yard games before came in his first two games as the starter, when he threw for 196 against the Dolphins and 203 against the Rams the next week.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

Cousins has finished with fewer than 200 yards in seven games in the last three years, but there should be an asterisk next to one of those games. In the meaningless 2015 season finale in Dallas, he threw for 176 yards before departing the game midway through the fourth quarter.

Cousins’ lack of yardage in a given game does not necessarily spell doom for his team. The Redskins are 4-3 in Cousins’ “off” games, including 1-1 in the last two weeks.

What has the issue been with Cousins the last couple of weeks?

Against the Chargers, he was off-target on some basic throws, and the offense never got going. In the Cardinals game, he was more accurate, completing 69 percent of his passes. But he kept his throws short as the Redskins got up 14-3 in the second quarter, and they were not aggressive on offense.

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM THE REDSKINS' WIN

But in both games, what was showing was the lack of offensive talent Cousins has around him due to injuries and free agency. Against the Cardinals, he was operating with just two of the Week 1 starters on the offensive line. Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed did not play in either game. This season's replacements for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon — the two 1000-yard receivers who departed as free agents — have not been adequate. Chris Thompson, Cousins’ security blanket, has been on injured reserve for a few weeks.

The replacements have been playing hard, and they have made a few plays. But consistency is the key, and the substitutes haven’t been able to provide it. Cousins has had four games with more than 300 yards passing this year, but given the current state of things, it would be surprising if he got another one of those this year.

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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If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

If the Redskins lose Kirk Cousins, Sunday was an ugly look into QB abyss

For whatever reason, a vocal subset of Redskins fans do not want quarterback Kirk Cousins to return in 2018. That group got an ugly reality check on Sunday.

Cousins' performance was not particularly great (18 of 26 for 196 yards and two TDs), but on the other side of the football came an actually bad performance. 

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS-CARDINALS

Blaine Gabbert threw the ball 41 times for the Cardinals, completing just 16 passes, and the Arizona offense did not score a single touchdown. In fact, with Gabbert at the helm, Arizona hasn't scored a TD in two weeks. 

The debate about Cousins no longer seems to be about his ability. It's clear he's an NFL starting caliber quarterback. That can't be argued.

The debate about Cousins comes from his value. He will undoubtedly be overpaid in the coming offseason, whether that's on a $34 million franchise tag or a lucrative long-term deal. 

Cousins is not the best passer in the NFL, but for a brief period of time, it seems likely he will be the highest paid passer in the NFL. 

That's not Cousins' fault. Market economics dictate that; for those that are upset, take it up with 18th-century author Adam Smith. 

Back to Gabbert.

Some Redskins fans suggest the team could get much of Cousins production at a fraction of the price if they went with a less costly QB option in 2018. That might be true, but it's also a significant gamble. 

Washington backup QB Colt McCoy is better than Gabbert and would be a better option. Lots of QBs are better than Gabbert. The larger point goes to disprove the theory that there isn't risk in letting somebody like Cousins walk. 

RELATED: REDSKINS MAKE MOST OF 'MEANINGLESS' GAME

Names will pop up about potential replacements for Cousins, guys that would carry a much lesser price tag. Andy Dalton and Tyrod Taylor are two that pop to mind. 

Those options might be reasonable, but neither Dalton or Taylor are as good as Cousins. Look at the stats from the last three years, since Cousins was named starter. They just aren't.

And, if Cousins again chooses not to enter into long-term negotiations with the Redskins, the organization should look at drafting a passer. The team needs to look at its long-term future, that's only fair. 

The notion, however, that any QB out there could come in and help the Redskins needs to be dispelled. 

Gabbert disproved that by himself on Sunday.  

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