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If the Redskins want to be great, they shouldn't be satisfied with barely beating the 49ers

If the Redskins want to be great, they shouldn't be satisfied with barely beating the 49ers

LANDOVER, Md — You’ll be hearing a lot of everyone’s favorite football cliché, “A win is a win,” following the Redskins’ fist-clenching 26-24 victory over the 49ers on Sunday.

However, if Washington really wants to stay involved at the top of what looks like an open NFC, they shouldn’t be thrilled with how they finished the matchup at FedEx Field. 

At first, it looked like the Redskins were actually going to snuff out an inferior opponent by the half, which doesn’t seem to happen very often with this team. They went up 17-0 on San Francisco just before the break, and the vibe at the stadium was a positive one.

But then the visitors made a change at quarterback — subbing in rookie C.J. Beathard for Brian Hoyer — and instead of pouncing on the inexperienced passer, the ‘Skins slowly let the Niners back in the contest. A late, favorable penalty and crucial interception prevented a total collapse, but an overall uninspired second half should have the Burgundy and Gold feeling like they have a lot to fix before traveling to Philly next week. 

RELATED: Cousins, Redskins defense closes the door on near-loss to winless 49ers

“People know if you play long enough in football, whenever you put the pads on, it’s going to be a competitive day,” Jay Gruden said afterward. “Our guys responded, competed, let them back into the game unfortunately, but you know, they’ve got good players, too. We responded and got the victory. That’s all that matters.”

Gruden’s last sentence is another one that’ll be repeated as this game is reviewed, and he’s right, of course. His guys are now 3-2, and they turned things around right when they needed to vs. the 49ers to close them out.

He also has plenty to be proud of. His signal caller, for the most part, played well. His secondary, meanwhile, had some rough moments after key injuries, but inexperienced defensive backs like Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau and others held up on San Fran’s final drive. 

However, teams in the upper echelon of the league take a 17-0 lead while facing a first-year signal caller and an 0-5 squad and turn it into a 31-10 blowout. The Redskins really looked like they could be one of those contenders after topping the Rams, smashing the Raiders and competing with the Chiefs, but squeaking one out vs. the 49ers following a bye hurts their legitimacy a bit. 

That’s why they’d benefit from taking an approach like Ryan Kerrigan’s.

"We’re getting to the point where we feel like it’s about how we play,” the pass rusher said. "We had some good moments in there, but too many big plays, too many missed opportunities.”

To his credit, Gruden did also acknowledge that he’s not “as happy” after this result as he typically is when the Redskins win. “I know we can play a lot better,” he said.

They certainly can, and they have at most points in their other, earlier games. But until they do so consistently, no matter who they’re lining up across from, they shouldn’t be completely satisfied. 

More Redskins: D.J. Swearinger explains his actions for costly penalty

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

USA Today Sports

The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.


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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars. 

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

Redskins schedule series

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  and on Instagram @RichTandler