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Five takeaways from Redskins' improbable win against the Seahawks

Five takeaways from Redskins' improbable win against the Seahawks

SEATTLE—Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ improbable 17-14 win over the Seahawks.

The power of positive thinking—All week long the Redskins were relaxed and confident that they could stay in today’s game. There wasn’t cockiness or anything but they certainly weren’t afraid of coming in to the loudest stadium in the NFL with key players missing on both sides of the ball and competing for 60 minutes. As it turned out they had to go at it for every one of those 60 minutes as it didn’t end until Russell Wilson’s Hail Mary pass fell incomplete as time ran out. If you think you can, well, maybe you just might be able to do it.

If this game felt different, that’s because it was—This was the first time since at least 1999 that the Redskins have started a game-winning touchdown drive in the last two minutes of a game. That’s as far back as the database at Pro Football Reference goes. I should be able to find out when the last one was but it will take some time. But I can almost guarantee that they didn’t have four substitute offensive linemen in the game at the time.

RELATED: Biggest observations from Redskins' stunning win against the Seahawks

They need to feed Josh Doctson—We thought that Kirk Cousins had some faith in the second-year receiver after they connected on the touchdown bomb against the Raiders. Doctson did have two hands on the game winner in Kansas City the next week but he couldn’t hang on as he hit the ground. Since then, Cousins has thrown him the ball on occasion but he hasn’t taken advantage of his incredible catch radius. Until today, that is. The Redskins need more of that.

Good field goal defense is valuable—Blair Walsh missed three makeable field goals, leaving the Seahawks empty after some good drives. Sure, that’s mostly luck except that the defense stopped the Seahawks far enough away from the goal posts that Walsh’s attempts weren’t chip shots (44, 39, and 49 yards, all wide left). And certainly the Redskins benefitted from the Seahawks shooting themselves in the foot constantly with penalty. They had an incredible 16 flags for 138 yards. They were the ones committing false starts and holding penalties while the Redskins line, held together by duct tape, had just one false start and no holding penalties on pass plays. There was some luck involved, no doubt. But you have to be in position to take advantage of good fortune and the Redskins were.

Maybe the Redskins can win when they don’t run—The rushing game wasn’t much today, with 23 attempts for 51 yards. They won after getting fewer than 90 yards rushing for just the fourth time since Jay Gruden has been the head coach. The last time they did it was against the Ravens last year, another improbable road win. The other two times were in 2015, the division-clinching win in Philadelphia the day after Christmas and the “You like that!” comeback win against the Bucs.

The road ahead is not quite as daunting—At 4-4, the Redskins have two more tough ones in the next two weeks, the Vikings at home and the Saints on the road. Both teams lead their divisions. If the Redskins can find their way to get a split of there, they go into a stretch run that includes the Giants twice, the Broncos, the Cardinals, the Chargers, and a Cowboys team that may be without Ezekiel Elliott. The should be getting healthier as time goes by and they could be set up for a run to get themselves into playoff contention.

More Redskins: Norman's 'Don't take no crap' mentality is culture-changing

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.

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

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Need to Know: The best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 20, six days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best cornerbacks the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the cornerbacks are up. They are roughly ranked by Pro Football Focus’ coverage metrics, although I did some juggling based on interception totals and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, running backspass rushers, and quarterbacks

1. Patrick Peterson, Cardinals—The athletic Peterson has been All-Pro three times and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his seven years in the league. He hasn’t had a big interception total since he got seven in 2012 but that is mostly because quarterbacks only throw his way about once in every ten snaps he is in coverage. 

2. Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars—I could easily have ranked Ramsey over Peterson. I went with Peterson because he’s been doing it for longer and he’s only 28. Ramsey has justified his No. 5 selection in the 2016 draft. His long arms and ball skills serve him well. He has the size to defend the bigger receivers and the athleticism to be effective against shifty and speedy receivers. 

3. A.J. Bouye, Jaguars—If Alex Smith tries to throw away from Ramsey he will encounter trouble on the other side. It’s been trendy to say that Bouye is underrated for so long he’s in danger of becoming overrated. But he’s not there yet. Bouye was one of four full-time (played at least 60% of snaps) cornerbacks who did not allow a touchdown pass last year and he had by far the most plays in coverage. 

4. Malcolm Butler, Titans—If the Brady-Belichick Patriots don’t win another Super Bowl, the coach’s decision to keep Butler on the bench as Nick Foles shredded the New England secondary will be marked as the end of that era. Maybe Butler isn’t good enough to have made a difference, but it would have been interesting to see. He’s with the Titans now and he will give Smith problems in December. 

5. Marshon Lattimore, Saints—Last year’s defensive rookie of the year plays an aggressive style both in press man coverage and when tackling receivers who have caught the ball. An ankle injury sent him out of the game against the Redskins early, perhaps one of the reasons why Kirk Cousins was able to light them up for 322 yards and three touchdowns. 

Best of the rest: Desmond Trufant, Falcons; Brent Grimes, Bucs; Logan Ryan, Titans;k Jaire Alexander (rookie), Packers

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

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 6
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 20
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 43

The Redskins last played a game 201 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 51 days. 

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

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Ranking the 2018 Redskins Roster: Revealing 16-30

At NBCSportsWashington.com, we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offensedefense) right after minicamp.

Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2018 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings between now and the start of training camp. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>

Today we are continuing to reveal the list of the players we ranked from 16-30.

Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—The team’s top draft pick (but not the second pick, who is in a higher-ranked group).  

—Two of the anticipated starting offensive linemen

—The team’s leading rusher from 2016

<<CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2018 REDSKINS RANKINGS, PLAYERS 53-16>>