Redskins

Dalton, Green lead Bengals past Chiefs, 28-6

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Dalton, Green lead Bengals past Chiefs, 28-6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Bengals had been written off just two weeks ago, when they were slogging their way through four straight losses that had cynics everywhere saying same `ol Cincy.

How things can change after just a couple of victories.

The first came against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the kind of win that causes people to start paying attention. The second came Sunday, a 28-6 rout of the woefully inept Kansas City Chiefs that has thrust Cincinnati right back into the playoff hunt.

Especially with four straight upcoming games against marginal competition.

``We felt like we gave a couple of games away,'' said Andy Dalton, who threw four TD passes against the Giants and accounted for three more against the Chiefs.

``We had a four-game losing streak. We should have played better during that stretch. But now we've got momentum, and we've got to keep it going. We've had two great wins, full-team wins with everybody doing their part, and we've got to keep that going throughout these last six games.''

Dalton threw for 230 yards, with touchdown tosses to A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu, and also ran for a score. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 101 yards rushing and another touchdown as the Bengals (5-5) handed the struggling Chiefs (1-9) their seventh straight defeat.

``There have been a lot of games - a four-game stretch - where I was not even playing in the fourth quarter,'' Green-Ellis said. ``We were trying to come back and were not running the ball. It feels good to go out there and get some of those things under wraps.''

The Chiefs sure wish they knew how that felt.

Jamaal Charles had 87 yards rushing, but that was the only highlight for a team whose only win this season required a franchise-record 18-point comeback to beat New Orleans.

Arrowhead Stadium was only about half-full most of the game, and a good portion of those who showed up were dressed in black - a grass-roots effort organized by fans who have been trying to pressure team ownership to clean out the front office.

``I focus on the game. I don't get into the crowd,'' Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said.

Perhaps he should have let his eyes wander.

What happened on the field didn't put him in a very good mood.

Dalton and Green shredded Crennel's porous pass defense, Green-Ellis pounded away at a front line that had played better of late, and a middle-of-the-road Cincinnati defense looked like an iron curtain against a Kansas City offense that has been an utter failure.

The result: The Bengals are back to .500, and eying back-to-back postseason appearances for only the second time in franchise history, while the Chiefs have dropped seven straight games in a single season for the first time since Oct. 5-Nov. 23, 2008.

``We aren't babies. We know that when we aren't winning fans are going to get mad,'' Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers said. ``We've got to find a way to turn this thing around.''

The Chiefs struck first for the second straight week Sunday, turning several nice runs by Charles into a 34-yard field goal by Ryan Succop, before reality set in.

The Bengals converted two fourth downs, one on an audacious faked punt, and Dalton capped the drive with a 5-yard fade pass to Green, who managed to stab the ball with one hand and then slap both feet into the end zone before falling out of bounds.

Peyton Hillis fumbled on the Chiefs' ensuing possession, their league-leading 31st turnover, and Cincinnati made it 14-3 later in the second quarter on Dalton's short TD run.

The Bengals' most impressive drive of the game came after they forced the Chiefs to punt for the third straight time, an 11-play, 78-yard masterpiece in which they faced third down once.

Ellis capped that one off with a short touchdown plunge for a 21-3 lead.

Matt Cassel deftly led the Chiefs to a field goal in the closing seconds of the half, but Crennel elected to put backup Brady Quinn into the game at quarterback to start the third quarter.

Cassel sustained a concussion earlier this season, and then lost his job to Quinn, who was active for the first time since sustaining his own concussion Oct. 28 against Oakland.

Quinn didn't fare much better leading the Kansas City offense, and the Bengals tacked on Sanu's touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

``Everyone in this building is frustrated,'' Cassel said. ``We don't want to go out and perform like that. We don't want to lose like that. We want to go out and compete and win games.''

NOTES: Bengals CB Terence Newman left with a concussion. Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe (neck) and left tackle Branden Albert (back) also were hurt. ... The Bengals were 3 for 3 on fourth down. ... DT Geno Atkins forced two fumbles, had a sack and led Cincinnati with six tackles. ... Cassel and Quinn combined to go 17 of 30 for 188 yards.

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10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact. 

Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.

So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field. 

DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)

That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve. 

Can Guice do that?

The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game. 

The bigger key is opportunities. 

How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.

If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too. 

Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games. 

Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.

One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December. 

The line can't be that beat up again, right?

Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018. 

One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight. 

The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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