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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 and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals


Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown may want to power through his myriad of injuries but he won’t be able to do it this week.

Brown is one of two Redskins who have been declared out for the game against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden listed his injuries as toe/ankle/Achilles/hip. This will be the first game that Brown has missed with the Redskins and his first since he was with the Titans in 2014.

Also out is safety Montae Nicholson, who will miss his fourth straight game with a concussion.


Listed as questionable are OT Morgan Moses (ankle), OT Trent Williams (knee), OLB Ryan Anderson (ankle), WR Ryan Grant (ankle), WR Maurice Harris (concussion), DE Terrell McClain (toe), and C Chase Roullier (hand).

Williams’ status for Sunday is very much in doubt. His usual pattern since sustaining a knee injury in Week 4 has been to sit out the first two days of practice and then participate in the third. However, he was not on the field on Friday during the portion of practice that was open to the media. Jay Gruden said that he did join the team at some point but he didn’t indicate that he took part in any football activity.

He has missed three games and it would not be surprising if he missed a fourth on Sunday. If Williams can’t go, Ty Nsekhe will start at left tackle.


Roullier has been out the last three games with a broken right (snapping) hand. He has had the cast off of it for a couple of weeks now and he could be ready to go on Sunday.

Harris was out of the game against the Chargers last Sunday with a concussion. He has been practicing on a limited basis all week. The chances that he can pass the concussion protocol seem good, although with concussions it is always difficult to know for sure.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

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Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown missed practice for a second straight day on Thursday, putting doubt into his availability for the game against the Cardinals.

Brown is leading the league in combined tackles and, probably, in injuries.

The team’s injury report says that he is dealing with four of them—toe, Achilles, and ankle with an illness piled on top of those.

“They’re hindering him quite a bit,” Jay Gruden said of Brown’s laundry list of ailments.

“Sickness is starting to clear up a little bit but he’s still a little sore. We’ll see if he makes any progress tomorrow. It’d have to be pretty significant, but we’ll have to wait and see.”


The illness might clear up but the other injuries are unlikely to go away until a few weeks into the offseason. He is getting treatments that include massage, laser, and acupuncture but rest is the only thing that will get rid of the problems.

Some have wondered why Brown persists with multiple injuries and the team now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. For one thing, playing is what he does.

“I like to play the game,” said Brown last week.


“I like to play the game with passion and I hate to lose. I try my best to help people do better, just trying to help some of the young guys. At the end of the day, you rest when the season’s over.”

There are financial considerations as well, on a couple of different fronts. Brown will be a free agent in 2018 and he is risking further injury that could lower his value on the market. He says that does not factor into is thinking.

“Last two years I was on the free agent market, it’s the way I play,” he said. “If that was the case I would have just shut it down already.”

There are other, more immediate financial considerations as well. Brown has per-game roster bonuses of $15,625 that are paid if he is on the list of 46 active players. And he has incentive bonuses of up to $2.3 million according to Over the Cap. It’s safe to say that at least some of those bonuses will be attainable only if Brown is able to play effectively in all or nearly all of the scheduled 16 games.


Brown hasn’t spoken about the incentive bonus money being important and, given his answer to the free agency question, he probably wouldn’t. But this is not a player who has made a ton of money in his career. According to Spotrac, if he hits on his roster bonuses and on his likely to be earned incentives this year he will have about $7.7 million in career earnings. That’s a good chunk of money but once you take away taxes, a cut to his agent and other various and sundry expenses it’s not “set for life” money. It’s likely that his bank account would notice whatever he can collect in incentives.

Gruden has said that Brown is a player who could go on Sunday even with only one practice under his belt. We will know a lot more about his status this afternoon when his practice status for Friday and his game status for Sunday will be announced on the injury report.