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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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The pros and cons of each of the Redskins' options with Kirk Cousins

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The pros and cons of each of the Redskins' options with Kirk Cousins

The Redskins are pondering the three options they have to start up the process that will either lead to Cousins playing in Washington in 2018 or saying goodbye to their starter for the last three years. These options carry pros and cons that Schaffer, Allen, and Dan Snyder will weigh over the next 46 days until March 6, the deadline for teams to designate transition and franchise tags.

Here are the three most likely options for the Redskins and the pros and cons of each approach:

No tag, let him hit free agency—This would allow Cousins to become a free agent at 4 p.m. on March 14, when the new league years starts. The Redskins could make him an offer and they could ask the Cousins camp to give them an opportunity to match any offer they might be considering. But Cousins would be under no obligation to do so.
Pros: It would end the uncertainty once and for all. When the process is over, Cousins will either be a Redskin in the long term or be playing for another team. This also is the only way the Redskins can qualify for a compensatory draft pick if Cousins does sign elsewhere.
Cons: The most likely outcome is that the Redskins would be starting over at quarterback in 2018, something they are not ready to do. A large segment of the fan base would be angry if the Redskins just let Cousins walk out the door.

MORE REDSKINS: QUARTERBACKS WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Transition tag: This tag carries a salary of $28.8 million and it allows Cousins to talk to other teams. If he gets an offer sheet from one of them, the Redskins would have five days to match it. If they don’t match, Cousins goes to the other team for no compensation. Another possible outcome could be Cousins signing the tag and staying in Washington for the fully guaranteed $28.8 million salary.
Pros: There also would be a good chance of ending the uncertainty, with Cousins either ending up gone at the end of the process or under a long-term contract in Washington. It also would give Cousins what he wants, the ability to test the open market, while giving the Redskins a shot at keeping him at the same time.
Cons: A team with adequate cap space could front load an offer and make it very difficult for the Redskins to match. There would be no compensation if Cousins left because the Redskins declined to match an offer sheet. And there is the possibility that the QB uncertainty could linger for another year if Cousins signs the tag.

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.

Franchise tag: This tag carries a salary of about $34.5 million. Cousins could not negotiate with other teams as there is no non-exclusive option on a third career franchise tag. At his radio event the week after the season ended, Cousins said that he would just sign the tag and play for the Redskins. They could trade Cousins after he signs the tag, although the salary would make that difficult to do.
Pros: It would virtually assure that the Redskins would have Cousins for 2018. They would have until July 15 to try to negotiate a long-term deal with him.
Cons: You can’t make the case that Cousins, or any player not named Brady or Rodgers, could justify a $34.5 million salary for one year. And since a fourth franchise tag is not permitted, it would almost certainly set up a scenario where Cousins plays one more year and then he is done in DC. That’s not how to get the certainty at the position that Jay Gruden desires.

There is a fourth option, which would be to sign Cousins before the deadline. But earlier this month Cousins said that he would not be interested in doing that; his preference is to wait until March. Perhaps things can change but Cousins was quite definitive in what he said.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

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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