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The Redskins just obliterated the Raiders on Sunday Night Football

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The Redskins just obliterated the Raiders on Sunday Night Football

Here are my observations made during the Redskins’ impressive 27-10 win over the Raiders:

First quarter

—Derek Carr’s first pass of the night was deep and it hung up in the air long enough for rookie safety Montae Nicholson to pick it off. He made a return into Raiders territory but intended receiver Amari Cooper just grazed him on the way down and Washington got the ball at its own 33. A good, athletic play by Nicholson.

—The Redskins turned that takeaway into seven points. The big play was a 26-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Vernon Davis that converted a third down. In all it was five Samaje Perine runs and three Cousins passes. The last one went to Chris Thompson on third and five and it went 22 yards for the touchdown. The running back was uncovered coming out of the backfield.

—It should be noted that the five Perine runs in that drive only gained nine yards but they kept the Raiders defense guessing.

—The Redskins got two sacks and an interception in the Raiders’ first two possessions. In Oakland’s first two games Carr had been sacked just twice and he had not thrown an interception.

—A sloppy series for the Redskins in their second possession. A couple of penalties and a pass completed for a loss of three led to a three and out when they had a chance to really grab the momentum.

—Preston Smith brought Marshawn Lynch down on a third and two, fighting off the back’s signature move, the stiff arm, to do it.

MORE REDSKINS: Several Redskins take a knee during anthem

Second quarter

—While the Raiders were struggling without a first down, penalties and a sack ended Redskins’ drives to try to extend their lead. Carr is 1-5 passing and the Raiders don’t have a first down three minutes into the second quarter.

—The Raiders had Lynch in the backfield on third and one near midfield but Kendall Fuller was all over Seth Roberts and he got the interception. Odd play selection.

— The Redskins got going after the Fuller interception. It was two Perine runs for a first down and then Cousins to Ryan Grant for 14. Perine went up the middle for eight and the Terrelle Pryor got both feet in on a sideline pass for 12 yards to the Oakland 27. Jamison Crowder made a nice grab to convert a third and six. On third and nine at the 18, Cousins eased a nice pass to Vernon Davis in the end zone. The veteran celebrated with the now-legal jump shot over the goal post.

—A Ryan Kerrigan tackle for a seven-yard loss on a run and a hard open-field tackle by Zach Brown on third down gives the Redskins a shot at a score with 1:42 left in the half.

— Chris Thompson had a 13-yard run and a gain of 23 on a screen pass to start off the Redskins’ last drive of the half. He was great with the ball in his hands on both plays, picking up blocks and gaining everything he could before going out of bounds. But a replay review negated a first down and the Redskins punted it away and took their 14-0 lead into the locker room.

— In the first half, Cousins was 17-19 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. The machine says that’s a 139.7 passer rating. That’s two touchdowns and two incompletions. Redskins lead in first down 11-2, net yards 223-47, and time of possession 20:20-9:40.

Third quarter

— A holding call set up a first and 20 on the Redskins on their first possession of the second half. Chris Thompson got 16 of it on pass and the got the last four for the first down on another reception. On the next play, Cousins launched a deep one to Josh Doctson. He grabbed the ball away from the cornerback and nonchalantly stepped into the end zone to complete the 52-yard touchdown play. The PAT put the Redskins up 21-0. It was Doctson’s first catch of the season.

—The defense knew how to respond to the big lead. Kerrigan got a sack for a loss of five, D.J. Swearinger flew in and knocked down Lynch on a run and then Jonathan Allen got another sack. A poor punt and an 18-yard return by Crowder set the Redskins up in Oakland territory at the 41.

—That drive ended with Dustin Hopkins having plenty of leg on a 52-yard field goal but it was wide left.

—At the midway point of the third quarter the Raiders’ deepest drive was to the Washington 48 just before the Fuller interception.

—The Raiders went three and out but Crowder muffed the put and Oakland was in business at the Washington 18. It was costly as two plays later Carr went to Jared Cook for 21 yards and a touchdown. The visitors had life at 21-7.

—It looked like the Redskins were going to have to punt the ball back to the Raiders but on third and 19 a screen to Thompson picked up 74 yards to the Oakland 10. It’s that kind of night for the Redskins’ offense.

—They tried a gadget play on third goal at the four but a shovel pass to Crowder lost a yard. I’m not sure about that. Hate to say it but wouldn’t a fade have been better? The ensuing field goal did make it a three-score game at 24-7 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

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

Fourth quarter

—The Redskins continue to stop the Raiders on third downs with big hits. It looked like Michael Crabtree was going to haul in a pass for a nice gain on third and 11 but the ball tipped off his hands and Nicholson made sure he didn’t get a second chance with a good smack.

—The Raiders got another red zone turnover when Perine coughed it up and the Raiders recovered at the 12. A pass interference call gave the Raiders a first down at the Redskins’ four.

— After the penalty, Deshazor Everett nearly intercepted the first-down pass, Bashaud Breeland got two hands on the second and pressure forced a third-down incompletion. A field goal pulled the Raider to within two touchdowns. A top-notch defensive stand.

— Following the Raiders field goal, it was Cousins to Crowder for 30 yards to get into Oakland territory at the 44. Then it was Thompson for eight and then for seven, Mack Brown for 11 into the red zone, Brown for six, and Thompson for no gain. After Cousins ran for two yards on third and four, a Hopkins field goal restored the Redskins’ three-score lead.

—It was nothing doing for the Raiders as a holding call left them with a fourth and 23. The pass was complete but Seth Roberts was well short of the first down and Kendall Fuller forced a fumble that Martrell Spaight recovered.

—The Raiders finished the game zero of 11 on third downs. They got over 100 yards of offense on the night only during a garbage time possession in the last minute.

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

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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Can Brandon Scherff do something that no Redskins O-lineman has done since 1991?

Can Brandon Scherff do something that no Redskins O-lineman has done since 1991?

Those who doubted the wisdom of the Redskins drafting a guard with the fifth overall pick in 2015 (yes, I was one of them) should be preparing to eat their words.

On draft day and during the two and a half years since then, there has been plenty of talk that the Redskins would regret taking Brandon Scherff, who played tackle in college but seemed destined to play guard in the NFL, so early. Not that anyone thought that Scherff would be a bad NFL player but given that they left DL Leonard Williams and edge rusher Vic Beasley on the board, he needed to develop into an All-Pro caliber guard to justify such a high pick.

Well, don’t look now but Scherff is making his way towards becoming one of the best guards in the game. Not just Pro Bowl good; he checked that box last year. Scherff could become the first Redskins position player to be named a first-team All-Pro since Darrell Green and Jim Lachey earned the honors in 1991.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

Asked about Scherff’s play this year, Jay Gruden was effusive in his praise.

He’s reacting. He’s anticipating. He’s pulling. He’s pass-blocking. He’s run-blocking. He’s double teaming. He’s doing everything you want him to do out in screens, out in space. He’s the best guard out in space by far in this league. It’s fun to watch him.

You can listen to Gruden’s full comments on Scherff in the video above.

Gruden is not exactly an unbiased observer. But other, more neutral analysts also have been heaping praise on Scherff.

An article on Pro Football Focus said that Scherff had an “elite” game against the 49ers, not allowing any pass rush pressures and dominating as a run blocker.

RELATED: IN A MUDDLED NFC WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

Two other analysts clipped some plays from the 49ers game to illustrate just how well he was playing.

This one from Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network shows one play, the 49-yard screen pass to Chris Thompson on which Scherff threw a key block.

I’m not sure what the scouting credentials Brandon Thorn has but he did put together a nice collection of clips of Scherff making quality blocks both in space and in the interior vs. the 49ers.

Will Scherff earn All-Pro honors? That could depend on how well the team does. While the All-Pro teams are supposed to be individual honors, it’s tough for an offensive lineman to get many votes if he’s not on a winning team, especially on like Scherff who would be trying to break into the club for the first time.

But the Redskins are not really worried about All-Pro votes. If he keeps playing the way he’s playing and he gets no such consideration it will be fine with them.

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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Need to Know: Redskins to face Eagles’ clutch Carson Wentz, productive Zach Ertz

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Need to Know: Redskins to face Eagles’ clutch Carson Wentz, productive Zach Ertz

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 20, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences, open locker room, after practice approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 9
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 16
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 34

Injuries of note:
Not practicing
: OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Ty Nsekhe (core muscle)
Limited: CB Josh Norman (rib), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle), OLB Ryan Anderson (back), S Stefan McClure (knee). OL Tyler Catalina (concussion protocol).
It was encouraging that Breeland and Norman practiced although Jay Gruden noted that they both took place only in individual drills. See the full injury report here.  

First look at Redskins vs Eagles

Number that pops out—LeGarrette Blount, who had a career average of 4.4 yards per carry coming into the year, is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, fourth in the NFL. Not bad for a guy who is supposed to be a lumbering power back. The key to stopping him is the same as it always has been, getting the north-south runner to go east-west. The Redskins did a solid job against him in Week 1, limiting him to a 3.3-yard average on his 14 carries.

The clutch gene? Carson Wentz is the MVP favorite right now and the thing is that his stats are very good but not very impressive. He ranks 10th in net yards per attempt, 25th in completion percentage, eighth in yards per game, and seventh in passer rating. But he gets it done when it counts. Seven of his 16 touchdown passes have come on third down. His passer rating of 130 on third down is 10 points better than the second-best in that category, a guy named Tom Brady. As a result, the Eagles get first downs on 53 percent of their third-down passes, also best in the league.

Third down passing the key—The Redskins allow conversions on 35.7 percent of third-down passes, 16th in the NFL. If this game ends up with third downs near the Redskins’ season performance they will be in good shape. If the Eagles convert half of their third downs or more, the visitors will be in trouble.

Protecting Kirk Cousins—The Eagles have 14 sacks on the year. They got four against the Redskins in the season opener so they have 10 in their five games since. Their leading sacker is Brandon Graham, who has four on the season. Two of those came in the opener so he has two in the other five games. He will again be lined up against Morgan Moses, who had one of his worst games since becoming a starter against Philly. If Moses plays as well as he has since Week 1 Cousins could have time to have one of his usual big games against the Eagles.

Yes, Ertz is a pain— This is kind of hard to believe but Zach Ertz, who has been in the league since 2013, is third all-time in tight end receptions against the Redskins with 54. He’s behind only Jason Witten and Jackie Smith and ahead of Jeremy Shockey, Mark Bavaro, and Jay Novaeck. Ertz has played nine games against Washington; Witten has played 28 and Smith played 27. So if it seems like Ertz is always a thorn in the Redskins’ side, it’s because he is.

Potpourri: Wentz is the Eagles’ second-leading rusher with 133 yards on 32 carries . . . The Eagles have the third-best special teams DVOA in the league. On punt returns, they are averaging 16 yards per and giving up an average of 5.6 yards. That’s a lot of hidden field position.

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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From the locker room

Josh Norman talking about how it felt when he put some stress on his broken rib during practice on Thursday.

Posted by Rich Tandler on Thursday, October 19, 2017

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