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The Redskins just obliterated the Raiders on Sunday Night Football

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USA TODAY Sports Images

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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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.

 

 

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Need to Know: Fan questions—What's the plan at cornerback, losing the locker room

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Fan questions—What's the plan at cornerback, losing the locker room

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 16, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Cardinals at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 8
—Redskins @ Giants (12/17) 15
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 131

Fan questions

Today's questions are from my Facebook page.

I don’t think that he is but it is a valid concern. This is what happens when you lose two in a row and neither game is competitive. As we sit here right now I think that Gruden still has the respect and the collective ear of the players. But if there is another game like the ones against the Chargers and Cowboys, things could start to erode. They are still pretty high up on the slippery slope but things can fall apart quickly with a push in the wrong direction.

First, you go for the best available player but in the first round. If a few guys are close, and they often are, you will tend to go towards the position of greatest need. However, it’s hard to pinpoint the area of greatest need before going through free agency, where gains and losses have a big effect on needs. But looking at it right now and projecting what I think is likely to happen in free agency, I think that inside linebacker could be a good place where need comes together with draft position. To throw out one name, I think Roquan Smith of Georgia might be a nice fit with a pick in the 10-12 range.

I think that Kendall Fuller is best suited to the slot. He has really found his niche there and with receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Keenan Allen frequently lining up in the slot it pays to have a strong corner there. Quinton Dunbar could be an option on the outside if Moreau isn’t up to speed in time. It seems likely that Bashaud Breeland will be gone; he will get a pretty lucrative deal and it will be hard for the Redskins to carry two high-priced cornerbacks.

I’m not sure if they’re sold on the current stable of running backs but I think they are willing to settle for them. Just look at the history. They have not spent a first-round pick on a running back since the 1970 merger. The highest they have taken one is in the second, most recently Ladell Betts in 2002. Since then, the highest they have taken a running back is in the third round (Matt Jones, 2015). I don’t see them taking a first-round back or even a second rounder. Sure, you can find game-changing backs later in the draft, like David Johnson in the third. If they should happen to stumble on such a back, great, but getting one of that caliber doesn’t seem to be part of the grand plan.

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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