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Five takeaways from the Redskins' season-ending loss to New York


Five takeaways from the Redskins' season-ending loss to New York

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ season-ending 18-10 loss to the Giants.

You have to show up ready to play—The Redskins trailed 12-0 before they knew what hit them. You would have thought it was New Year’s Day and the Redskins had done some excessive partying to ring in the new year. The Giants are one of the few teams that can say that they have been impacted by injuries at least as badly as have the Redskins. But they hit the Redskins early with a 75-yard touchdown run and an interception to set up another score. The visitors were in a battle they perhaps did not expect.

Kirk Cousins not sharp—If this is Cousins’ last game with the Redskins, he gave fodder to the portion of the fanbase that would like to let him go. He finished the game 20 of 37 for 158 with no TDs and three INTs.  His passer rating of 31.1 was his worst as a starter. When the Redskins had a good shot at getting into the red zone in the third quarter, he first threw too high for Josh Doctson and then he threw behind him on third down. Early in the fourth quarter, a downfield pass sailed way over the head of a wide-open Vernon Davis. It was cold but there weren’t many issues with the wind. He was rushed some but for the most part he had time to throw. Just not a good day at all.


Run over—It wasn’t a good day for the Redskins’ rushing defense either. In fact, it was by far their worst of the year. Prior to Sunday, they had given up no more than 182 rushing yards in a game. The Giants, who were ranked 29th in rushing yards coming into the game, rushed for 260. They were playing with a patchwork offensive line. A lot of the time, rushing defense is a matter of effort and technique. Orleans Darkwa and the other backs broke tackles and consistently got six yards where the blocking was for three. The defense did manage to hold the score down after the two early touchdowns but it wasn’t a stout effort by any means.

Rushing offense not there—Yes, Cousins had a bad day but it wasn’t like he had much of a rushing game to help him. The Redskins managed just 61 yards on the ground. Yes, Samaje Perine got injured in the early going and Kapri Bibbs had the play the rest of the way. Still, they should be able to muster a more credible ground threat against the No. 29 rushing team in the NFL. The poor performance on the ground was a continuation of a late-season trend. They rushed for over 100 yards just once in their last six games and they only made it to 102 in the one over the century mark.

Reality vs. expectations—The Redskins finish the season at 7-9. That is only slightly down from the win total expected by most in the local media. Most of us figured eight, maybe nine wins. And given the tough schedule and the incredible rash of injuries this year, it’s hard to see how the Redskins season could be considered a major disappointment in and of itself. But the lack of progress over the last few seasons is concerning. Records of 9-7, 8-7-1, and 7-9 don’t represent the upward track you’d like to see for a franchise that has had far more down years than up.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Looking back a Redskins vs. Packers and ahead beyond the bye week

Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Looking back a Redskins vs. Packers and ahead beyond the bye week

Here is what you need to know on Tuesday, September 25, 13 days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking points

Here is a last look at the Packers game and a look forward to the Saints game. 

—As usually is the case with games this time of year, we will have to wait and see where the Packers game rates in terms of quality wins. I do know that nearly everyone who predicted wins and losses before the season started had this game as a loss. Yes, Aaron Rodgers clearly was hobbled and that took away some of his mobility and perhaps some accuracy. But even an 80 percent Rodgers is one of the best in the business. We will find out more about the Packers and Rodgers over the coming weeks. 

—It was surprising to look at the Game Book and see that Matt Ioannidis played just 18 of the 69 defensive snaps (26 percent). It was a matter of scheme and personnel choices. Jay Gruden said that the decision was made to keep Jonathan Allen (65 snaps) and Daron Payne (64) on the field. “We didn’t draft him in the first round to sit by me,” Gruden said of Payne. Looking down in the snap count list, Tim Settle and Ziggy Hood, the other two active D-linemen, didn’t play on defense at all. In addition, in the second half, the Redskins mostly played nickel and they usually use just two interior defensive linemen in that alignment. The two were Allen and Payne. Combined, those factors kept Ioannidis on the bench a lot.

—On the other line, Tony Bergstrom played well at center and Chase Roullier was solid moving over the center in place of the injured Shawn Lauvao. Gruden did not reject the idea of keeping that lineup intact when Lauvao is healthy enough to play. “When Shawn gets back we’ll address it then,” said Gruden. Something to keep an eye on. 

—Adrian Peterson is fifth in the NFL in rushing with 263 yards. With the small sample size warning here, he is on pace to gain 1,250 yards. I’ll take the under on that but it’s still a very good start to the season for the veteran.

—We’ll look at the Saints, the Redskins’ next opponents, in some details next week. A very early glance now shows a team that can score in bunches but can’t stop anyone. They are third in the NFL in scoring and last in scoring defense. Drew Brees is completing 80 percent of his passes, but the defense is allowing a completion rate of 74 percent and an incredible 11.8 adjusted net yards per attempt. It will be interesting in the Superdome on October 8.

Injury report

OT Trent Williams has undergone surgery for a bursa sack cleanup in his right knee. Gruden said he will be back for the Saints game. 

OT Morgan Moses (concussion) and RB Adrian Peterson (knee) were injured during the Packers game and Gruden said he expects both of them to be back for the next game.

The agenda

Today: Bye week

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 13 days; Panthers @ Redskins 19; Cowboys @ Redskins 26

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler is locked into the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Five key plays in the Redskins’ big win over the Packers

Five key plays in the Redskins’ big win over the Packers

There are about 150 plays in an NFL game and all of them are important. But some of them matter to the outcome more than others. Here are five of the key plays in the Redskins’ win over the Packers.

Q1, 13:02—Alex Smith pass deep middle to Paul Richardson for 46 yards, TOUCHDOWN. 

During the week, Smith was taking fire from all directions after having thrown mostly check down passes in the Redskins’ first two games. He aired it out early against Green Bay. Three plays into their first possession the Redskins had a first down at the Packers 46. Richardson had a couple of steps on his defenders deep down the middle and Smith launched it. The receiver had to slide on his knees to make the catch at around the five-yard line. He immediately popped up without being touched and lunged into the end zone to give the home team a lead it would never relinquish. 

Q2, 7:13—Smith pass deep middle to Jordan Reed to WAS 40 for 34 yards 

On the Redskins’ previous possession, Smith had thrown his first interception of the year. It didn’t cost them points but the turnover did flip field position as the Packers’ ensuing punt was downed at the two-yard line. It was third and six at the six. Smith dropped back and fired to Reed down the middle for the first down. Reed got some good yards after the catch with a couple of nice moves and the Redskins were in business. On the next play, Adrian Peterson rolled for 41 yards off the right side and suddenly they were in the red zone. Four plays later Smith threw a laser beam to Jamison Crowder for a touchdown to make it 21-3.

Q2, 2:00—Smith pass deep right to Vernon Davis pushed ob at GB 21 for 50 yards 

The Packers responded quickly to the Crowder touchdown as Aaron Rodgers threw a 64-yard TD bomb to close the gap to 21-10. The fans at FedEx Field barely had time to get nervous. On the second play in their ensuing possession, Smith found Davis open deep down the right sideline and the QB dropped a dime. That got the Redskins just outside the red zone. A pass to Jamison Crowder made it first and goal at the three, and two plays later Ryan Anderson was the lead blocker on Peterson’s second two-yard TD plunge of the game. 

Q3, 2:33—Rodgers pass short left to Randall Cobb to WAS 40 for 3 yards. Washington challenged the pass completion ruling, and the play was REVERSED.

The offense built the lead and it was up to the defense to make sure it was preserved. The Packers drove to a touchdown on their first possession on the second half, and after a Washington three and out they were on the move again. On fourth and two at the Redskins 43, the Packers went for it. Rodgers’ short pass to Cobb got them just over the line to gain. But Redskins defenders in the vicinity emphatically signaled incomplete and assistant defensive backs coach James Rowe got into Jay Gruden’s ear on the headset and told him to challenge the call. It turned out that the ball squirted out and hit the ground while Cobb was trying to get control. The Redskins took over on downs. 

Q4, 5:32—Rodgers pass short right to Cobb to GB 47 for 1 yard. FUMBLES forced by Fabian Moreau RECOVERED by WAS- Josh Norman at GB 46. 

It was still a two-score game with enough time left for one of Rodgers’ patented miracle finishes. The Packers were near midfield when Rodgers went to Cobb on the right side near the line. The defense immediately swarmed over the receivers, and as he was going down Moreau pried the ball from Cobb’s grasp. It popped up in the air and Norman grabbed it out of the air. The Redskins killed 3:25 of the clock, forced the Packers to use all of their timeouts, and Dustin Hopkins kicked a field goal to put the Redskins up by 14 with 1:58 left to play.