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Needing perfection, Redskins drop chance to win vs Patriots

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Needing perfection, Redskins drop chance to win vs Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA—The Redskins went in to face the undefeated, defending champion Patriots and the result was about what everybody expected. Tom Brady was masterful, the Redskins were stymied on offense, and New England remained unscathed in the loss column with a 27-10 win.

The Redskins had plenty of problems of their own making. Receivers dropped at least half a dozen passes. They missed at least that many tackles. A lot of the miscues came in the early going while the Patriots were pulling out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Kirk Cousins’ numbers did not look good. He completed 22 of 40 for 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Some of it was on him, some of it was on his receivers’ problems with catching the ball. Again, the Redskins could not get their running game going, gaining 37 yards on 15 carries.

Key Play: The key was really a sequence of plays in the first quarter. The Patriots drove for a touchdown on their initial possession and then they recovered a surprise onside kick. They drove into Redskins territory but CB Will Blackmon forced Julian Edelman to fumble and Blackmon himself made the recovery.

The Redskins couldn’t stand the good fortune. On their first play from scrimmage Kirk Cousins fired a pass to Pierre Garçon for what should have been a nice gain. But the ball bounced off of Garçon’s hands and Logan Ryan picked it off, returning it to the Redskins 28. Six plays later LaGarrette Blount powered up the middle for the touchdown. It was 14-0 and the Patriots had established control.

Injury Update:

Chris Baker left the game in the first quarter with a chest injury. He returned to the game shortly after leaving.

LB Keenan Robinson left the game with a stinger in the third quarter. He returned to the game in the fourth quarter.

S Dashon Goldson left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Edelman 8 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick)

Drive: 13 plays, 84 yards, 5:59

Key plays: Two Dion Lews runs for 17 yards for 16 yards got the drive going. On fourth and two from the  Redskins 33, Tom Brady went to Julian Edelman for five yards and a first down. A few plays later Brady went to Edelman in the flat and he dove to get the ball across the goal line.

Patriots 7, Redskins 0 9:01

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Blount 5 run (Gosktowski kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 28 yards, 1:59

Key plays: Right after the Redskins recovered a Patriots fumble, a Kirk Cousins pass bounced off of Pierre Garçon’s hands and was intercepted by Logan Ryan, who returned it to Redskins 28. Brady converted a third and seven with an 11-yard pass to Danny Amendola. A few plays later LaGarrette Blount went up the but for the touchdown.

Patriots 14, Redskins 0

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Second quarter

FG Gostkowski 21

Drive: 10 plays, 61 yards, 5:03

Key plays:

The Patriots started from their own 42 after the Redskins turned it over on downs. Blount ran twice for six and 10 yards to get into Redskins territory. A few plays later, it was Blount again, going up the middle for 14 yards then Brady went to Rob Gronkowski to set up first and goal at the seven. But an illegal formation penalty set them back and they had to settle for the field goal.

Patriots 17, Redskins 0

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FG Hopkins 23

Drive: 16 plays, 75 yards, 7:43

Key plays: The Redskins started with possession on their own 20. On third and seven, Cousins went to Garçon for nine yards. A Matt Jones reception and run got them into Patriots territory. Then it was Cousins to Jamison Crowder for 16 yards down to the 30 A few played later on third and one from the 21, Jones went up the middle for two yards and the first down. On third and goal from the Patriots 13, Cousins went to Andre Roberts for eight yards to the five. They had to settle for the field goal.

Patriots 17, Redskins 3

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Third quarter

FG Gostkowski 20

Drive: 9 plays, 54 yards, 4:28

Key plays: The Patriots got the ball after recovering a Matt Jones fumble at their own 43. On the first play, Blount went up the middle for 13 yards into Redskins territory. A couple of plays later it was Brady to Edelman down to the 18. The moved to a third and goal at the one, but Stephen Paea trapped Blount for a two-yard loss. Gostkowski came in and booted the field goal.

Patriots 20, Redskins 3

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Fourth quarter

Patriots 27, Redskins 3

Key play: Brandon Bolden 18 Yd pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick)

Patriots 27, Redskins 10

Key play: Jordan Reed 3 Yd pass from Kirk Cousins (Dustin Hopkins Kick)

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

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Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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