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Redskins' third quarter woes not an issue vs. Bucs

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Redskins' third quarter woes not an issue vs. Bucs

For one game at least, the Redskins got the job done in the third quarter.

The 15 minutes after halftime have been a graveyard for Redskins leads, a nightmare of poor tackling, blown coverage, ineffective rushing and turnovers. Add it all up and counting all possessions that started in the third quarter (including those that ended in the fourth), the Redskins had been outscored 78-3 in their first six games.

They were much better yesterday. In their first six games they had averaged 50 yards of offense in the third quarter. Yesterday they more than doubled that, putting up 104. Most of the improvement there came from the passing game, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 97 yards compared to an average of 38 going into the game.

On the other side of the ball, they had given up an average of 145 yards in the third quarter and they yielded 82 yesterday. After six teams averaged 90 yards passing and 54 rushing in the third quarter, the Bucs managed just 56 in the air and 26 on the ground.

But certainly more important than the yardage numbers is the turnover stat. In the first six games Washington gave the ball away five times in the third quarter and had no takeaways to balance them out. Their opponents had scored a touchdown after all five of the turnovers. Yesterday they didn’t turn the ball over in the third. Technically they didn’t get a takeaway either but they did manage to steal a possession.

After they executed a four-play, 60-yard drive to cut the Bucs lead to 24-14 and make a comeback look like a possibility, Jay Gruden called for a surprise onside kick.

Gruden has called Dustin Hopkins’ onside kicks “magic” during the week before the game and he figured this was the right time to try to try and execute one.

"We worked on it all during practice and we saw the look a couple times," he said. "We kicked off before that [and] we liked the opportunity to take a shot with it. It was a great kick, great kick by [Hopkins] and a big play, big play in the game."

Hopkins said that his biggest challenge was to make the play look like it was a regular kickoff right up until the last possible moment.

"I was definitely, before that, trying not to get wrapped up in the moment," he said. "And make sure I didn't overkick the ball."

It could have been an easy recovery as the Bucs return team was setting up to block. But there was a brief scramble and safety Trenton Robinson pounced on the ball at the Washington 49.

Seven plays later, Cousins threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reed and Hopkins’ point after made it a three-point game and the comeback was underway in earnest.

Had the Redskins not turned around their third-quarter woes they like would not have been able to turn what had started out as an ugly game into a historic comeback win. It’s only for one week but it’s a start. 

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR, so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

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.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199

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Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Miami tagged Jarvis Landry, but what does that mean for the Redskins?

Everything in the NFL feels like a powder keg, but the reality of Tuesday's opening of the franchise and transition tag period will play out as much more of a slow burn.

Few teams ever actually make moves on the opening day of the tag period, though the Dolphins bucked that conventional wisdom and used the non-exclusive franchise designation on wide receiver Jarvis Landry. 

Astute Redskins fans know the tag system all too well. Landry can now sign a one-year, fully guaranteed contract with the Dolphins worth more than $16 million, the average of the top-five paid receivers in the NFL.

They can also trade Landry and the compensation discussion with a non-exclusive tag begins at two first-round draft picks, though it can eventually be settled for much less. 

RELATED: BEST AND WORST OF REDSKINS' FIRST-ROUND DRAFT HISTORY

What, if anything, does Miami's move mean for the Redskins? Let's take a look:

  1. Not gonna work here - Landry never really seemed like a great fit for the Redskins as a free agent, and that was before the franchise tag. He's a really good slot WR, but Washington already has that in Jamison Crowder. Whether or not Landry actually gets a deal done with the Dolphins or gets traded, it seems highly unlikely the Redskins are his next team. 
  2. "Spirit of the tag" - Miami putting the tag on Landry so early in the process signals that the team might be trying to trade him instead of actually trying to sign him. If that's the case, and plenty of people are suggesting just that, it would seem to be in contrast with the "spirit of the tag." The idea is that a franchise or transition tag is supposed to be used as a tool by an NFL franchise to get a long-term deal done with one of their own players facing free agency. Using the tag as a mechanism to pull of a trade seems very different. Why does any of this matter for Redskins fans? As reports emerged that Washington might look to use a tag on Kirk Cousins and work to trade him, the Cousins camp has made clear they would file a grievance against that technique. Why? Because it would violate the spirit of the tag. Well, it sure looks like Miami is doing the same thing, and as of now, nobody has complained. The situations aren't identical; few resemble the Redskins long, slow, awkward dance with Cousins. But it's certainly worth monitoring. 
  3. Wide Receiver$ - The Redskins could use a veteran wideout to help their young group of Crowder and Josh Doctson. Well, with Landry getting tagged, the price tag just went up. The player that seems to make the most sense in Washington would be Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson. Coming off a knee injury in 2017, some thought Robinson could be signed on a somewhat team-friendly deal. If Landry can get franchised after a season where he didn't even get to 1,000 yards receiving, any thought of a team-friendly deal for Robinson is dead. Make no mistake, Landry and Robinson are good players, but the ever-increasing NFL salary cap will make both young receivers very well paid. 

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