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Redskins-Saints First Take

Redskins-Saints First Take

The Washington Redskins have their work cut out for them on Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints come marching in to FedEx Field fresh off of a 24-20 win over Tampa Bay. The Saints scored on a 42-yard pass from Drew Brees to Reggie Bush midway through the fourth quarter to take the lead and they held on when linebacker Scott Fujita spiked a late Bucs rally with an interception at the New Orleans 20 with about 40 seconds left.

Brees and Bush were the top offensive stars for the winning team and they are the players that the Redskins will have to slow down to win the game. Brees averaged well over 10 yards per pass attempt, going 23 for 32 for 343 yards and three touchdowns. Bush caught eight of those passes for 112 yards and he had 14 rushing attempts for another 51.

A little side note here: Many Redskins fans look at Brees with envious eyes, wishing that the Skins had a young veteran quarterback who could pass for over 300 yards in a win and have it be nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps, then, they might be well served to display a bit more patience with Jason Campbell. After three years and 27 starts for the Chargers he was mediocre and seemed to be regressing. The Chargers stuck with him, perhaps against their will—an extended holdout prevented Phillip Rivers from competing for the job—and they were rewarded with a breakout season in 2004, his fourth year in the NFL. Jason Campbell came into his fourth NFL season with 21 starts on his resume.

The New Orleans defense was good but not dominant. Tampa Bay racked up 352 yards, getting good production on the ground out of Earnest Graham (10 carries for 91 yards) and Warrick Dunn (9 for 54). Jeff Garcia was not very efficient, needing 41 attempts to get 221 yards. He was sacked twice.

You can't always tell much from one game, but on first look, it appears that the Redskins will have to post a score in the 20's in order to win on Sunday. For an offense that isn't quite there yet, that will be tough to do.

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When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

When Samaje Perine got going, so did the Redskins' offense

At halftime of the Redskins’ Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, Samaje Perine had three yards rushing and his team had three points. Washington had racked up all of 113 yards.

Coincidence? Not entirely. Although the Redskins are primarily a passing team they need to run the ball to pass effectively.

“We had to get the running game going,” said Jay Gruden after the game.

In the second half, Perine and the offense did get it going. Perine ran for 97 yards and Redskins put up 210 yards and 17 points. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a coincidence.

The Redskins didn’t make any halftime adjustments to get the ground game in gear.

“We just had to stay the course,” said Perine. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, they just came off a big win. We just had to stay the course and then things started going our way.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS OF THE WIN

Perine was more steady than spectacular. His longest run was 16 yards. He came out of the locker room and ran for six and 10 yards on his first two carries. Later in the third quarter the Redskins were backed up at their own 10. Perine ran four straight plays for 39 yards and the Redskins were near midfield.

Although they didn’t score on that drive they did change field position. That was part of the Redskins’ strategy playing with an injury-depleted offense.

“If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good,” said Gruden.

Not only did the running game flip the field, it flipped the time of possession. In the first half, the Giants had the ball for 17:40 compared to 12:20 for the Redskins.

“We had to get on the field and control some of the clock,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “We had to give our defense a rest. Samaje put his foot in the ground and got extra yards when needed and we were able to move the chains.”

Moses wasn’t the only one enjoying seeing Perine pile up some yards.

“As a defensive player, you want to see that,” said safety D.J. Swearinger. “We say, keep running it. Keep running him. Let him keep getting those carries, put a dent in the defense. It was a good sight to see.”

RELATED: FIVE KEY MOMENTS IN RESKINS VS GIANTS

Swearinger got to watch a lot of Perine. The Redskins piled up 22:17 in possession in the second half, while Swearinger and his defensive mates had to defend for just 7:43.

Last night was the second time in four days that Perine has rushed for 100 yards or more; he had 117 in New Orleans on Sunday. No Redskin has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games since Alfred Morris did it in November of 2013.

He will have a chance to extend that streak to three on Thursday against the Cowboys, who are ranked 17th in rushing defense. That would put him in some elite company in Redskins history, including Larry Brown (twice) and Stephen Davis.  A steak of three straight 100-yard games was last done by Morris in 2012.

It may be a little early to look forward, but the Redskins record is five straight 100-yard games, held by Clinton Portis (twice) and Ladell Betts.  

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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This group Redskins postgame interview was so much better than any group celebration from this year

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@sung_minkim

This group Redskins postgame interview was so much better than any group celebration from this year

Get out of here with being thankful for good health and family and all that other nonsense.

The thing you should've been most grateful for on Thanksgiving was the tremendous group postgame interview the Redskins did after beating the Giants 20-10 at FedEx Field.

This year, group celebrations are the thing to do in the NFL, and they've been fine. The Steelers' choregraphed hide-and-seek was cute, and the Eagles have actually looked like the best baseball team in Philadelphia at times this season.

But those collective efforts have NOTHING on Kirk Cousins hand feeding Brandon Scherff a giant turkey leg or Ryan Kerrigan and Jamison Crowder cheers-ing with their own massive legs:

MORE: KIRK COUSINS IS EVOLVING, AND HERE'S PROOF

Can we all take a moment and look at how happy Morgan Moses is to rip a bite off of his drumstick?:

And please check out DJ Swearinger piggy-backing on random-signing-turned-starting-center Tony Bergstrom:

Four days after walking off the field following a sickening loss in New Orleans, the Redskins got to shove meat down their gullets. Winning in the NFL is more fun than losing in the NFL.

RELATED: PLAYERS WON'T TALK ABOUT THE FIELD - PUBLICLY, ANYWAY