Nationals

Redskins lead Seattle 14-13 after 3rd quarter

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Redskins lead Seattle 14-13 after 3rd quarter

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Robert Griffin III threw two 4-yard touchdown passes in his first career playoff game to give the Washington Redskins a 14-13 lead over the Seattle Seahawks after the third quarter of their NFC wild-card game on Sunday.

Griffin capped the Redskins' only two drives of the first quarter against the NFL's top-rated scoring defense with short tosses to running back Evan Royster and tight end Logan Paulsen.

The Seahawks allowed 15.3 points per game this season and the 14-point deficit was their largest of the season.

Seattle rallied with 13 points in the second quarter, including rookie Russell Wilson's 4-yard TD pass to running back Michael Robinson.

Steven Hauschka's 32-yard field goal with 12:05 remaining put the Seahawks on the board and he added a 29-yarder as the half expired.

The right-footed Hauschska was playing with a left ankle injury and limped off the field to the locker room.

Seattle maintained its offensive efficiency starting the third quarter, driving 69 yards to the Redskins 1, but Marshawn Lynch fumbled and Washington's Jarvis Jenkins recovered.

After forcing a Redskins punt, Wilson moved the Seahawks to the Washington 28, but overthrew Doug Baldwin in the end zone. Wilson was sacked on the next play, moving the ball back to the 37. With Hauschka limited, Seattle punted.

Griffin was 10 of 17 for 84 yards, but after the first quarter he threw for only 16 yards plus an interception. The Redskins quarterback also ran three times for 12 yards.

On the second drive, the rookie fell awkwardly while backpedaling on a pass and came up limping, but stayed in the game. He sprained his right knee in Week 14 and sported a brace for the third straight game.

Wilson led three consecutive scoring drives in the second quarter, though Seattle settled for two field goals on its two other red zone trips. The Seahawks rookie finished 9 of 14 for 123 yards and also ran for 35 yards.

Lynch rushed 14 times for 79 yards, including for 41 on the drive which ended with his fumble. In the second quarter he scooped up a Wilson fumble and raced for 19 yards, leading to the Seahawks touchdown.

Rookie Alfred Morris, the league's second-leading rusher, had 72 yards - 34 of them on four carries during Washington's opening drive that resulted in the TD pass to Royster.

Paulsen's touchdown catch finished off an 11-play, 54-yard drive in 5:58.

Washington's offense slowed in the second quarter with two drives resulting in a punt and an interception by Seattle Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas.

Seattle was moving the ball in the first quarter, but a promising drive ended when the Redskins' Stephen Bowen and London Fletcher combined to sack Wilson on third-and-2. It was one of two sacks for the Redskins in the quarter.

Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons suffered a knee injury in the third quarter. The team said his return doubtful.

The playoff meeting between the two teams was the third, but first outside Seattle. The Seahawks won 20-10 in January 2006, and 35-14 in January 2008.

Those were the last two postseason games played by the Redskins, who entered the playoffs on an NFC-best seven-game winning streak.

Seattle has won five straight, outscoring opponents 193-60, but finished the season with a 3-5 road record and has lost eight straight road playoff games. Their only road playoff win came in its first postseason road game, Dec. 31, 1983, at Miami. The streak is the second longest in the NFL behind Detroit.

Washington, NFC East champions and No. 4 seed in the conference, became the first team since the Jaguars in 1996 to reach the playoffs after starting 3-6. The Redskins went worst-to-first after finishing last in the division for four straight years.

This was the second playoff game in NFL history with two starting rookie quarterbacks.

Last year in the first rookie QB meeting, T.J. Yates led the Texans to a 31-10 victory over Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

Wilson tied Peyton Manning's 1998 NFL rookie record with 26 touchdown passes. Griffin set the league mark for yards rushing by a rookie quarterback (815) and had the best single-season rookie passer rating in NFL history (102.4), followed by Wilson (100).

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Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

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USA Today

Stephen Strasburg makes history at the plate against Atlanta

Stephen Strasburg had the best hitting performance of his career against the Braves Thursday night, going 3-3 at the plate with two singles and a 420-foot three-run bomb. 

He didn't just set personal records but reached rare air in baseball history. He's the second pitcher ever with at least three hits, a HR, and five RBI since the DH debuted in 1973 and the fifth pitcher in the last 50 seasons to get two hits in an inning including a home run. 

Strasburg set franchise firsts with his performance, dating all the way back to the Expos. 

An extraordinary milestone for the Nationals' ace, hopefully Strasburg's performance will inspire the team during a crucial four-game series with Atlanta. 

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

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‘The Redskins love Alabama guys’: Washington could run old draft playbook in 2020 to fill huge need

Perhaps no position group on the Redskins has more questions or uncertainty than the wide receivers.

Josh Doctson enters the final year of his rookie contract, and has yet to record over 550 yards in any of his three professional seasons. Washington signed Paul Richardson to a five-year deal in 2018, but he just played in just seven games for the Burgundy and Gold in 2018 before having season-ending shoulder surgery. Second-year receiver Trey Quinn is expected to fill the role in the slot after Jamison Crowder departed for the New York Jets this offseason but has yet to prove anything on the NFL level. 

The Redskins addressed the position during the 2019 NFL Draft, selecting Terry McLaurin in the third round and Kelvin Harmon in the sixth round. But it's unclear how much either one will contribute to the Washington offense in 2019.

So, it's likely the Redskins will need to address the position during the 2020 NFL Draft, and probably very early on it. Well, this works in Washington's favor, because the 2020 wide receiver class is loaded. 

On a recent episode of the Redskins Talk podcast, J.P. Finlay and Pete Hailey spoke with NFL Draft expert Jordan Reid (no, not the Redskins' tight end) about the top wide receiver prospects heading into next year's draft, and which players the Redskins could potentially target.

Before diving into the top 2020 prospects, Reid gave an initial assessment of the current Redskins' receivers.

"The Redskins just don't have that headliner, top go-to guy," Reid said. "They were expecting Josh Doctson to be that when they did draft him in the first round of 2016. But he's had some injuries, and he's already come out and said he's looking forward to free agency. That just not something you want to hear."

Reid was high on McLaurin, though, the first receiver the Redskins selected in 2019.

"They drafted Terry McLaurin in the third round, I liked him a lot even going back to the Senior Bowl," he said. "I think he's going to have a really good year, not just as a receiver but the special teams phase as well. He's going to flash in a lot of ways."

As far as the 2020 draft wide receiver class, one school stands on top, and it's a school the Redskins are very familiar with: Alabama. The Redskins used their first-round picks in 2017 and 2018 on 'Bama guys and signed another Crimson Tide alumni this offseason in safety Landon Collins.

"We know the Redskins love Alabama guys, and there's a lot of [wide receivers] coming out this year," Reid said. "It's not just Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs is another guy that's getting a lot of steam. They're going to have the chance to get the receiver they want. This is a very special wide receiver class."

Crimson Tide receiver Jerry Jeudy is the consensus top receiver in next year's class, but Reid believes his speedy teammate could challenge him for that spot by season's end.

"With Ruggs, I think he's a bit more as far as polished a route runner [than Jeudy]," he said. "I think his hands are a bit better, and I wouldn't be shocked if he runs below a 4.3 at the combine. He can absolutely fly."

If the pair of Alabama receivers currently hold the top two spots for best wide receiver prospect, there's another guy who's right on their heels: Oklahoma's Ceedee Lamb.

"He reminds me a lot of DeAndre Hopkins coming out," Reid said on Lamb. "He's not a thick guy, but he plays much stronger than what he indicates. Very reliable hands, and his body control is out of this world. He had a one-handed catch against UCLA, it didn't count, but it's truly amazing."

As a true sophomore, Lamb totaled 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. Sure, it may have helped to have Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray under center, but Lamb has proven he's an elite talent.

Two other prospects Reid is keeping an eye on are Colorado's Laviska Shenault Jr. and Texas' Collin Johnson.

"He's not as polished as some of these other guys, but he's more of a do-it-all type of receiver," Reid said on Shenault Jr. 

Where Shenault may be a do-it-all receiver, Johnson plays to his 6'6 size.

"He's a really good route runner," Reid said on Johnson. "It's just a matter of how consistently can he separate, and how fast he is. If he goes to the Senior Bowl, I think he can light it up."

While many of these guys seem like sure-fire guys, there's still a full season of football to be played before the draft. Players will rise, but just as many, if not more, will fall off.

"You just have to let this play out, that's what happens with the draft process," Reid said. "Guys fall off, and then you have guys that come out of nowhere. Quinton Williams from last year is a prime example. He was a 270-pound defensive end at this time last year; we had no idea who he was and he ends up being the No. 3 overall selection."

But if everything plays out close to how it's expected to, this wide receiver draft class will be one to remember. 

"This class is special man," Reid said. "I think it's going to rival 2014, with Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and all those guys, Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams too. It's going to be very similar to that. It's very special."

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