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Redskins use fantastic second quarter to beat Bills, 21-16

Redskins use fantastic second quarter to beat Bills, 21-16

The Redskins’ starting offense, playing as a unit for the first rime this preseason, got off to a slow start but Kirk Cousins and company got rolling in the second quarter and posted 21 points. It was enough for the Redskins to outlast the Bills and leave FedEx Field with a 21-16 win in preseason game No. 3.

Buffalo had a chance to take the lead late but an apparent touchdown pass was negated by a pass interference call and Kendall Fuller interception a final, desperation pass.   

In the first quarter, Cousins completed three of nine passes for 17 yards with an interception. That added up to a passer rating of 2.8. To be fair, Cousins was victimized by a number of drops by his receivers.

But he got rolling in the second quarter, throwing touchdown passes to Jordan Reed, Ryan Grant, and Pierre Garçon. By the time the half was over he was 12 for 23 for 188 yards and had a passer rating of 101.3.

Rookie running back Robert Kelley may have locked up a roster spot with a strong performance. He had some tough yards, blocked well, and gained 51 yards on 12 carries in just over a half of work.

The starting defense was solid throughout although Bills starting QB Tyrod Taylor played just two series and completed five passes.

One goal in the preseason is to get out without injury concerns and the Redskins didn’t fare well in that department, although no injuries appear to be serious. The worst appears to be rookie running back Keith Marshall’s sprained elbow. He was supposed to compete with Kelley for carries but he went out after just one carry.

RELATED: RECAP OF KIRK COUSINS' NIGHT

Injury Updates:

Ryan Kerrigan left the game with a groin injury in the first quarter. He did not return.

RB Keith Marshall left the game in the first quarter to get X-rays on his left elbow. Was ruled out with elbow sprain.

OT Morgan Moses left the game in the second quarter with an a left ankle injury. He did not return.

CB Quinton Dunbar left in the second quarter to get his left shin X-rayed. He did not return.  

C Spencer Long left in the third quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

FG Carpenter 28

Drive: 6 plays, 21 yards, 2:50

Drive summary: The Bills got a short field after Kirk Cousins looked left and then threw to the right. Corey White made the interception from his back after the ball was tipped. A Tyrod Taylor pass to tight end Jim Dray got a first down at the 25 but they couldn’t keep the drive going and Dan Carpenter came in a booted the field goal.

Bills 3, Redskins 0        

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Second quarter

FG Carpenter 52

Drive: 8 plays, 50 yards, 3:56

Drive summary: The Bills got a scoring drive going with E.J. Manuel at quarterback. He got things going on the first play with a 21-yard completion to Chris Gragg. An roughness penalty on DeAngelo Hall turned a third and long into a first and 10 in Redskins territory. Dan Herron ran around right end for 12 yards, getting the Bills into position for the Carpenter field goal.

Bills 6, Redskins 0        

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Grant 38 yard pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 4 plays, 70 yards, 2:39

Drive summary: The Redskins put together a quick drive to take the lead. First Cousins threw a short pass to DeSean Jackson, who zigged and zagged his way down the field for 39 yards to the Buffalo 34. A couple of plays later Cousins threw to Ryan Grant a benefitted from some more YAC as the receiver spun away from a would-be tackler and dashed to the end zone.

Redskins 7, Bills 6        

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Reed 20 yard pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 9 plays, 69 yards, 4:21

Drive summary: The Redskins got some help in the form of Buffalo penalties in the course of this scoring drive. A defensive holding call negated an interception and a third-down sack turned into a first down when the Bills were called for roughing the passer. The Redskins earned some yards when Cousins threw to Pierre Garçon, who dodged a tackler and scampered 15 yards for a first down. A few plays later Cousins threw to Reed, who had gotten past the defense and easily made it across the goal line.

Redskins 14, Bills 6      

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Garçon 9 yard pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 5 plays, 40 yards, 0:48

Drive summary: The Bills were trying to get a two-minute drill going but after a completion Will Blackmon stripped TE Nick O’Leary and Greg Toler made the recovery at the Buffalo 40. They got close on a 22-yard connection between Cousins and Vernon Davis. Then on third and goal at the nine Cousins threw a nice fade to Garçon, who got both feet in in the left corner of the end zone.

Redskins 21, Bills 6      

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FG Carpenter 52

Drive: 5 plays 41 yards, 0:29

Drive Summary: The Bills got that two-minute drive on their second try. Manuel scrambled for 18 yards and then Manuel threw to Boom Herron for 18 to the Washington 34. Then Carpenter booted the long field goal to let the Bills steal some points with two seconds left in the half.

Redskins 21, Bills 9

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Third quarter

Williams 37 yard run (Carpenter kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 46 yards, 1:19

Drive summary: This was a quick one for the Bills thanks to a 36-yard punt return by Walter Powell. Three plays later Jonathan Williams went up the middle on third and one, broke some tackles, and dashed in for the score.

Redskins 21, Bills 16   

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Fourth quarter

No scoring

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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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USA TODAY Sports

As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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