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With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

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USA TODAY Sports

With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — It took a while, longer than likely anyone expected, but Josh Doctson's first career touchdown catch may just have been worth the wait.

In the third quarter of the Redskins' 27-10 win over the Raiders on Sunday night, Kirk Cousins lofted a deep ball from a bit beyond midfield toward Doctson, who was being boxed out by David Amerson. And as the pass made its descent, Amerson went up to go snag it.

There was just one problem for the corner: Doctson went up and got to it first.

The result? A 52-yard touchdown that made the score 21-0 in favor of the hosts but, far more importantly, opened — quite forcefully, too — everyone's eyes to the sheer talent No. 18 possesses.

MORE: WHY THE DEFENSE'S EFFORT WAS SO ENCOURAGING

"I just made the play," the second-year wideout said afterward, about as nonchalantly as he made the TD look even though it absolutely wasn't. "It was pretty simple to be honest."

Against the Eagles and Rams in Weeks 1 and 2, Doctson suited up for Washington's offense but wasn't involved at all. And in the early going vs. Oakland, it again looked like he'd walk off the field with the same statline as an inactive player, on the verge of facing more questions about why he isn't producing. 

But that all changed on one jump-ball, which is exactly what his head coach has been anxiously waiting for.

"I think it was some relief for him," Jay Gruden answered when asked about the highlight. "I think the players have seen him do that in practice quite often but nobody else has... It wasn't a perfectly thrown ball, but to give him a chance where he can go up and make a big time catch, hopefully we'll get more of that."

RELATED: REDSKINS PLAYERS SIT AND KNEEL DURING ANTHEM

Doctson's QB, who gestured toward him during the post-score celebration as if to say There's the dude you've all been hearing about for months, certainly appreciated it.

"I do like Josh's ball skills and his ability to catch the ball up in the air and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to give him a chance, they have been asking me to give him that chance and let's give it to him," Cousins said.

As fans of the team know all too well by now, Doctson isn't someone that can be counted on yet. He's oft-injured, and the grab he made over Amerson, while spectacular, was just the third of his career. 

But that sequence provides hope that many more similar to it will follow if he continues to stay healthy and gains more of Gruden's and Cousins' trust this year. He's still far from validating his 2016 first-round selection, but it's now obvious he has the skills to distance himself from those who so badly want to label him a bust.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS' DOMINANT WIN OVER RAIDERS

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

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond. 

The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.

Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it. 

  1. Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come. 
  2. Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions. 
  3. Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-

We didn't spend last week playing checkers.

News & Notes:

  • Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
  • The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed. 
  • D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
  • Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week. 
  • Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.

Want more? Listen up!

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Redskins need to fix problems with slow starts

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usa Today Sports Images

Redskins need to fix problems with slow starts

The Redskins have solved their problem of blowing early leads but not the way they want to get it fixed.

The pattern for most of the season has been to build an early lead, blow it, and either hang on to win or, more often, lose.

Here is a quick synopsis of the games where they lost most or all of a healthy lead.

—In Week 2 against the LA Rams, they had a 13-0 lead in the second quarter. The Rams came back and tied it 20-20 in the fourth quarter before the Redskins won on a late drive.

—On Monday night in Week 4, they led the Chiefs 10-0 in the first quarter before losing 29-20.

MORE REDSKINS: TWO OUT, SEVEN QUESTIONABLE FOR CARDS

—The then-winless 49ers came to town in Week 6 and the Redskins built up a 17-0 lead late in the second quarter. San Francisco rallied to tie it at 17 in the third quarter. The home team reestablished a nine-point lead but they still had to hang on through a final, desperate 49ers possession before claiming a 26-24 win.

—In Week 9 in Seattle, they took a 10-2 lead into the fourth quarter. The Seahawks came back to take a 14-10 lead before the Redskins pulled out a 17-14 win on a late drive and hold.

—Week 11, Saints. You don’t need the details of this one.

But those were glory days compared to the last two weeks. The Redskins did not hold a lead at any time against the Cowboys or the Chargers. The game in Dallas was scoreless going into the second quarter but the Cowboys tore off 17 unanswered points to take control. The Redskins never got to within one score.

RELATED: LOOKING AHEAD: THE 2018 DEPTH CHART

The next week, the Chargers jumped out to a 13-0 lead and the Redskins were fortunate it wasn’t 21-0 as the LA offense was moving the ball at will. The Redskins did drive for a TD to pull within a touchdown at 13-6 but they were close for all of 11 seconds as Philip Rivers threw a touchdown bomb to Tyrell Williams on the next play from scrimmage.

This is not the direction you want to go in at the end of the year. The ideal scenario, of course, is to build a big lead and then hold the opponent at arm’s length the rest of the way. The Redskins will try to accomplish that against the Cardinals on Sunday.

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.