Redskins

Feisty McCarron guides 'Bama to another title

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Feisty McCarron guides 'Bama to another title

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) It might have been the hardest hit Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron absorbed all night.

With the play clock down to zero and just a few minutes before the confetti started raining down, McCarron expressed displeasure with All-America center Barrett Jones after an essentially meaningless delay of game penalty. Jones gave him a good shove, and then the Crimson Tide went back to dispatching Notre Dame 42-14 Monday night to claim the program's second straight national title and third in four years.

Both parties and coach Nick Saban dismissed the incident as no big deal.

``Well, that's just AJ,'' Saban said. ``That's the kind relationship I have with him.'

Feisty, competitive and hardly lacking in confidence, McCarron was once again on target and well-protected in a BCS championship game.

The nation's leader in passing efficiency completed 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns in a game that might have even been better than his MVP performance against LSU a year ago. He moved past John Parker Wilson to set the school record with 49 career passing touchdowns with a year to go since McCarron has already announced he'll return for his senior season instead of turning pro.

McCarron has had plenty of spats with Jones, the leader of an offensive line that kept his jersey virtually spotless in the finale: No sacks, not even an official quarterback hurry on the stat sheet. That stuff happens with motivated competitors in such close quarters.

Just not usually on national television.

``I shouldn't have pushed him,'' said Jones, who won the William V. Campbell Trophy as college football's top scholar-athlete. ``It's just not a big deal. The play clock was running down. We were delayed. We just wanted to run some clock and we ended up not having much time at the line and they shifted and I ended up having to make some calls, and then the clock ran out. AJ blamed it on the nearest person, which was me.''

McCarron had a different take on what happened, but also dismissed the significance. He blamed it on miscommunication - sort of.

``He wanted to do something else, and I was right and he didn't like it,'' McCarron said, grinning. ``That's us, we're both perfectionist. I think you're all are making it a little bit bigger than what it is.''

Alabama had plenty of big offensive performances in the game. Tailback Eddie Lacy earned outstanding offensive player honors with 140 yards and two touchdowns - one rushing, one receiving - and freshman T.J. Yeldon ran for 108 yards and plowed through the line for a 1-yard score behind noseguard/goal line fullback Jesse Williams.

Freshman receiver Amari Cooper broke Julio Jones Alabama single-season receiving records, finishing with six catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns to reach 1,000 for the season.

``It was a great game,'' Jones said. ``I loved our balance. I just think this was probably the best overall offensive performance we've had all year.''

McCarron as always was pulling the trigger, and maybe he also lit the fuse in that one heated moment.

Not surprisingly, Saban speaks fondly of that kind of passion and intensity.

``AJ is a leader, he's a competitor, he's a fiery guy,'' the coach said. ``I think he has a tremendous amount of respect for the competitors who play around him.

``But I also think that he lets his personality come out, and I think people respect that.''

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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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