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Instant Analysis: Redskins finish strong, snag first win of season over the Rams

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Instant Analysis: Redskins finish strong, snag first win of season over the Rams

LOS ANGELES—The Redskins picked up their first win of the season, against Sean McVay's Rams team, despite a number of injuries to key offensive players. Here are Rich Tandler's observations by quarter. 

First quarter

—Rookie Montae Nicholson saw his first snaps of the year on defense early. He was in for the first couple of plays before Deshazor Everett came in for him.

—On their first possession, the Redskins called seven passes (including a sack) and six runs. Rob Kelley picked up 23 yards, only seven fewer than he had for the entire game last week. They converted three third downs, as many as they had the entire Eagles game. The result was a 41-yard Hopkins field goal.

MORE REDSKINS: Must See Photos NFL Week 2: Redskins 27 Rams 20

Second quarter

—The Redskins drove 65 yards on six plays, all of them on the ground. Kelley got things started with runs of 19 and 21 yards. Chris Thompson ran for nine and then seven, diving in for a touchdown on the second carry. After two possessions, the Redskins had 82 yards rushing,

—On the Rams’ first play from scrimmage after the touchdown, Josh Norman stripped Todd Gurley and Terrell McClain recovered at the Los Angeles 30.

—The Rams forgot to cover Thompson coming out of the backfield on the next play and he scampered down to the eight. But a run and two incompletions forced the Redskins into a field goal try. Hopkins made it to put the Redskins up 13-0.

—About 18 minutes into the game the Redskins had outgained the Rams 143-31 and had nine first downs to one for Los Angeles. They had 93 rushing yards to 11 for the Rams.

— Goff scrambled and found Gerald Everett for 69 yards down to the Washington 6. Goff had too much time to throw, a receiver was bound to break free. The QB found him and threw a strike. Zach Brown ran him down at the six but three plays later Todd Gurley scored and suddenly, the Redskins’ failure to get into the end zone after the Rams fumble looked big.

—A well-designed play got Gurley wide open on a third and four and he rolled to the Redskins’ 29. In the first quarter the Redskins got pressure on Goff. But as the second quarter wore on, he had more and more time to throw. He took advantage of it and got the Rams down for a field goal to make it 13-10.

—The Redskins scored quickly, answering the Rams field goal. Chris Thompson ran a draw with perfect timing and scampered 61 yards for a touchdown. Thompson made all 75 yards on the drive, catching two passes for 14 yards before taking the handoff and darting up the middle for the score.

—The Redskins finally got to Goff as they tried a two-minute drive. Preston Smith got him on first down and Ryan Kerrigan knocked the ball out on third down. The Rams recovered but we’ll see if a tone was set for the second half.

—Cousins had an unimpressive first half. After completing his first four passes he was 5-11. He finished the half with 9-15 for 81 yards, a 74.6 passer rating.

—The Redskins still had a huge edge, with 225 net yards to 148 for the Rams. But after converting their first three third downs they were 0-4 the rest of the half. The good news is that the Rams only converted three of seven, too.

Third quarter

—A moment to mark on the Redskins’ first possession of the second half came when a good Cousins pass slipped through the hands of Thompson, who was running down the middle at full steam. If not a touchdown, it’s at least a first down in the red zone for the Redskins. Instead, they ended up punting.

—No, the pass rush momentum generated at the end of the first half did not carry into the second. Goff had plenty of time to convert a third and 5 on a pass to Sammy Watkins and then a pass to Everett. A few plays later they got pressure but Goff got off a pass to Todd Gurley, who hurdled a defender and then extended the ball over the goal line to make it a tight game again.

—The Redskins moved on their next possession, getting three second-down conversions on a 17-yard pass to Crowder, a pass interference flag, and an 11-yard Perine run. But a 51-yard Hopkins field goal attempt went off the right upright and the Redskins not only came away empty but they left the Rams with good field position at their own 41.

—The missed field goal didn’t hurt that much except in terms of field position. The Rams went three and out but the Rams downed Johnny Hecker’s punt at the six.

Fourth quarter

—The Redskins missed another opportunity on a third and four when Cousins scrambled and tossed to Thompson just before crossing the line. But the pass was just too long for Thompson to handle and the Redskins again had to give up the ball while nursing just a three-point lead.

—A pass on a fake punt turned a punt from the Washington 45 into a first down at the 17. It was fourth and six and Johnny Hekker passed to Josh Reynolds for 28 yards and a first down at the 17. An offensive pass interference play negated a goal to go situation. The Rams had to settle for a game-tying 40-yard field goal. Still, Sean McVay’s gamble paid off for three points.

—The Redskins got into a hole when trying to answer that field goal when a holding penalty set up second and 18. But a draw to Perine gained 12 and a pass to Crowder picked up eight and the Redskins kept possession.

—A couple of Perine runs and a 23-yard pass to Pryor got the Redskins into the red zone with two and a half minutes left. On third down at the 12, Cousins threw a touchdown pass to Ryan Grant near the left sideline in the end zone. After the play survived video review, Hopkins kicked the PAT to put the Redskins up 27-20. Cousins went 3-3 on the 10-play drive, making up for a so-so game up to that point. It was Grant’s first catch of the day and the biggest of his career. The clock showed 1:49 and two timeouts left for the Rams.

—The Rams’ attempt to tie the game lasted exactly one play. Mason Foster picked off Goff’s pass to the right flat and the Redskins ran out the clock.

—The Redskins didn’t make it easy, surviving some key mistakes. But the defense rose up when it had to, the offense did the same, and Washington came out with the W.

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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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

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Who is Nick Rose? Three things you should know about the new Redskins kicker

Here are three things you need to know about Nick Rose, who was signed on Tuesday to replace Dustin Hopkins.

1) His next NFL kick will be his first one

Rose has spent offseason time with the Falcons and 49ers since entering the league in 2016 after his collegiate career at Texas. However, he has never attempted a regular season field goal or PAT, so the first time he does so with the Redskins will be the first time ever for him as a pro.

The 23-year-old certainly has potential: He was one of the nation's top touchback producers in 2014 and 2015 for the Longhorns, so distance on kickoffs and field goals shouldn't be an issue (this video of him nailing one from 80, yes, 80, backs that up). What remains to be seen is whether he can split the uprights for Washington.

For what it's worth, Hopkins was totally inexperienced in the NFL when he first signed with the Burgundy and Gold, too.

MORE: UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS - 'SKINS IN TOP 10

2) He can make kicks in unconventional ways

While this doesn't come across as something Jay Gruden would ever want Rose to try in, say, this Monday's game in Philly, Rose can sink chip shots while simultaneously completing a backflip.

Ever seen Adam Vinatieri do that? Nope, didn't think so.

3) He beat out at least three other candidates for the job

With Hopkins likely done for the year with a hip issue, the Redskins worked out a handful of replacement options on Tuesday.

It was Rose, though, who emerged with a contract. He earned it over at least three other guys, including veterans Mike Nugent and Andrew Franks. Now he must bring that strong leg, as well as some accuracy, when called upon to ensure the 'Skins don't miss out on any points on a weekly basis.

Making kicks in the middle of backflips is fun, sure. But making them in front of national TV audiences instead of a YouTube audience is probably more fun. Let's see if Rose has what it takes to stick around.

RELATED: IN CROWDED NFC, WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

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Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins headed to injured reserve, per sources

Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins will likely not play again this year, a source with knowledge of the situation tells our JP Finlay.

The team placed Hopkins on the injured reserve list, which means he's out at least eight weeks. To replace him, the Redskins signed Nick Rose, per NFL Network.

In his third season with Washington, Hopkins had made nearly 82 percent of his field goals this year. He made 12 of 13 extra points, but missed a very important extra point in Sunday's win over the 49ers.

Hopkins had a very strong leg, capable of touchbacks on kickoffs nearly every time the situation called for it. 

Rose is yet to play in the NFL but spent time with the 49ers. He kicked collegiately at the University of Texas.

As a senior in Austin last year, Rose made 13 of 17 field goals and 38 of 39 extra points.