Redskins

Clemson edges LSU 25-24 on last-second FG

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Clemson edges LSU 25-24 on last-second FG

ATLANTA (AP) Chandler Catanzaro was not about to let a blocked extra point earlier in the game get in the way of his last-second, game-winning field goal.

Catanzaro kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give No. 14 Clemson a wild 25-24 victory over No. 9 Louisiana State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night.

``I was ready when the opportunity came to me,'' Catanzaro said. ``It was next-kick mentality. I was so thankful for the opportunity.''

Catanzaro, a former walk-on from Greenville, S.C., made 16 of 17 field goals in the regular season.

``I didn't have any doubt,'' Swinney said of the junior kicker. ``He's just a clutch player all the way.''

The kick gave Clemson its first 11-win season since its 1981 national championship team.

And Tigers coach Dabo Swinney thinks this is only the beginning.

Trailing 24-22, Clemson (11-2) took possession on its 20 with 1:39 remaining. Tajh Boyd passed to DeAndre Hopkins for 26 yards on a fourth-and-16 play during the decisive 10-play drive.

Clemson reached 11 wins for only the fourth time in school history and the first time since the 12-0 1981 team.

``You can't win 12 until you win 11,'' Swinney said. ``You can't win a national championship until you learn how to win games like this.

``This was a landmark win.''

Boyd completed 36 of 50 passes for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He set career highs for attempts and completions while winning the game MVP award.

``Tajh Boyd was phenomenal,'' LSU coach Les Miles said. ``I did not expect the heroic, if you will, efforts that he had.''

Hopkins had 13 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns. After the big fourth-down catch, he added receptions for 7 and 13 yards in the final drive. LSU safety Greg Reid was flagged for pass interference while defending Hopkins.

Jeremy Hill ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns for LSU (10-3), which carried a 24-13 lead into the final quarter.

After Hopkins' second TD catch, LSU got the ball with 2:43 remaining and threw three straight passes. Only one was complete in the three-and-out series that took only about 1 minute off the clock, leaving Clemson with enough time for its winning drive against LSU's exhausted defense.

Hill did not have a carry in the fourth quarter.

``We had to throw the football,'' Miles said. ``We were not running the football. They were in a position where they outnumbered us in the run.''

LSU's three passes allowed Swinney to save his timeouts.

``I had three timeouts,'' Swinney said. ``If he runs it three times, I can call timeout, timeout, timeout.

``I think (Miles) was trying to win the game. I think he felt confident in the plays. I know he knew he needed to get a first down, because if he gets a first down I have to start burning timeouts.''

Boyd said having 1:39 to stage the final drive ``is like having 10, 15 minutes for us.''

``When I saw that clock and that we had three timeouts I said `Let's get it.'''

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was sacked six times and completed 14 of 23 passes for 120 yards. He also threw for a touchdown and an interception.

``It's a tough thing to figure our pass protection was as poor as it was,'' Miles said. ``That's the piece that needs fixing and frankly we've got some young players here we'll address and improve and make some strides going forward.''

LSU scored 10 points off Clemson's two lost fumbles, including one by Sammy Watkins on the second play of the game that set up Hill's first touchdown.

Hopkins scored on an 11-yard reception in the second quarter and a 12-yard grab in the fourth. LSU's Bennie Logan blocked Catanzaro's extra point attempt following Hopkins' first touchdown.

Clemson had a chance to tie it after Hopkins' second TD, but Boyd's pass for the 2-point conversion was incomplete.

Michael Ford had a 43-yard kickoff return for LSU to open the second half. On first down, Hill broke through the line for a 57-yard touchdown run. His 12th rushing touchdown broke Dalton Hilliard's LSU record for a freshman set in 1982.

Clemson lost Watkins to a right ankle injury on his early fumble. X-rays were negative.

Clemson already was without backup receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for the game for failing to meet academic requirements.

Clemson's second costly fumble came midway through the third quarter. Andre Ellington ran for 8 yards but lost the ball on a hit by defensive end Sam Montgomery. Reid recovered the fumble at the Clemson 29, setting up Drew Alleman's 20-yard field goal.

The injury to Watkins left the spotlight on Hopkins, Clemson's leading receiver. He had catches of 17 and 12 yards as Clemson pulled even with an 11-play drive capped by Boyd's 11-yard touchdown run.

After LSU regained the lead on Mettenberger's 6-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry, Hopkins had a 31-yard catch to set up his 11-yard score late in the second quarter.

Hopkins' sliding grab gave him TD receptions in 10 straight games to set an Atlantic Coast Conference record. Virginia's Herman Moore had touchdown catches in nine straight games in 1990.

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The Redskins' loss to the Bears needs to be remembered as the humiliation it was

The Redskins' loss to the Bears needs to be remembered as the humiliation it was

The 31-15 final score suggests that the Redskins were beaten soundly on Monday night by the Bears, but not dismantled. Don't fall for that.

What happened at FedEx Field — in front of a national audience, in a game that was needed to turn around the season — was yet another humiliating result and it needs to be remembered and evaluated as such.

31-15 isn't what you need to look at. 28-0 is. That was the advantage Chicago held over Washington late in the first half.

This time, the hosts couldn't even make it to the third quarter before their usual collapse.

Case Keenum's pick-six after an opening stop by the Burgundy and Gold was an enormous buzzkill. That said, it is possible for a group to come back from an unfortunate start. That didn't happen, though.

Instead, Greg Manusky's defense — a unit that was supposed to bring more aggression and play with tighter communication, a unit that was supposed to take advantage of a slumping opponent — allowed three second quarter touchdowns, two of which came on drives that spanned more than 60 yards.

As a whole, the problems that Jay Gruden's squad had in Weeks 1 and 2 returned for a third time. The running game was ineffective. The defense was really ineffective. The Redskins racked up nine penalties. 

On a larger scale, the problems that Jay Gruden's squad has had throughout his entire tenure in D.C. returned for a who-knows-what-number-this-is time. They started slowly. They were destroyed at the end of the first half. They faltered in primetime. They were the ones reacting instead of initiating.

Afterward, the quotes coming from Gruden and his players sounded very familiar. Things need to "get cleaned up." It's only "the beginning" of the year. No one is "jumping ship."

In that respect, this was just another standard loss for Washington. It shouldn't count as one, however. This one was exceptionally awful and unacceptable.

Now, the Redskins stand at 0-3 and arguments can be made for changes at quarterback, defensive coordinator and even head coach. No player at any spot should feel comfortable with their spot on the depth chart.

Just 16 days ago, there was talk about hope and possibly a surprise playoff push. The talk now, sadly, is about plenty of other things, and none of them are good. And right now, this team simply isn't, either.

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Emotional post-game speech by Jonathan Allen tries to keep Redskins together 

Emotional post-game speech by Jonathan Allen tries to keep Redskins together 

Jonathan Allen was blunt and to the point. 

The Chicago Bears had just trashed the Redskins in yet another Monday Night Massacre at FedEx Field. Don’t let the late rally fool you. This game was 28-0 late in the second quarter. It finished 31-15. Washington is 0-3. This is about the time when NFL teams go off the rails. 

Allen gave an impassioned post-game speech demanding teammates stay accountable and united despite their clear frustration, a source told NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay. 

“We’re supposed to be the best athletes in the world,” Allen said. “If you don’t have the mental toughness to stay focused after three weeks in a 17-week regular season, I don’t know what to tell you. Each guy has to be held accountable and just take it from there. There ain’t no magic sauce to get this thing turned around.”

Listed as questionable before the game, playing on a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Allen gutted through the game after missing the Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. 

The Redskins were left seething because they have found different ways to lose every week. They blew a 17-0 lead to the Philadelphia Eagles. They were sloppy and out-manned at the line of scrimmage against the Dallas Cowboys. Turnovers killed them for the first time this season against the Bears in a disaster of a first half. 

Allen insisted the locker room will not fracture. Those could be dismissed as just words, but the expression on his face made you uneasy. He played college football at Alabama. He is not used to losing. 

Neither is wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who caught another touchdown pass and had six catches for 70 yards. It’s been a great individual start to his rookie season, which means nothing to a player who won so many games at Ohio State. 

“I’m a win-loss kind of guy. I scored. We lost," McLaurin said. "I want to be productive for my team, but at the end of the day I want to win and we all want to win. The boxscore doesn’t say ‘Terry had a great game.’ It says ‘The Redskins lost.’ I feel like that. Our team feels like that.” 

The Redskins next travel to New York to play the 1-2 Giants in what absolutely is a must-win game. Jobs are on the line now. Allen and McLaurin said there would be no finger-pointing. Accountability starts with each individual player and they vowed to check their own play. Running back Adrian Peterson echoed his younger teammates.

"Everyone contributes. From Week 1 to now," Peterson said. "If anything you've got to point the finger at yourself. For me, even with everything that happened in the first half, at the end of the day, we were in a position to convert a first down and I didn't execute. And if we do that we're in a position with a fresh set of downs to get seven [points] and now we're down six and it's a totally different ballgame."

But these are all words. They must be backed up on the field in New York on Sunday or they don’t mean much. The Redskins better adhere to the message or the season will slip away from them a quarter of the way into it. Will they? Allen’s manner suggested anyone who isn’t on board will face consequences.       

“Nothing is ever impossible to fix. I don’t care how you lose,” Allen said. “Nothing is ever impossible. Losing sucks. Regardless of how you lose, we lost...[But] they’re going to have to be. It’s not a question of ‘if’ but you’re going to have to be and we’re going to be.”

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