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Redskins vs. Saints: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Redskins vs. Saints: The good, the bad, and the ugly

NEW ORLEANS — The Redskins enter Week 5 atop the NFC East leaderboard, and a win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football can solidify their top spot in the division for at least another week.

But a win against the Saints won't be easy. Drew Brees will be looking to set records against the Redskins.

He needs just 201 yards to become the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and needs four touchdown passes to reach No. 500.

The Redskins came up short in their quest to beat the Saints in 2017, dropping a 34-31 overtime loss despite leading by 15 points. But this is a different Redskins team. The defense is drastically improved.

Will they get it done in Week 5?

Here is a quarter-by-quarter account of the good, the bad, and the ugly that transpired during tonight’s Redskins-Saints game. 

Redskins vs. Saints: Good, Bad, & Ugly

FIRST QUARTER:

GOOD: The Redskins’ second drive was much better than their first. It got going with a pass to Davis for a first down and then Maurice Harris got his first catch of the season, a play action pass that was good for six yards. After Peterson got the first down with a four-yard run, he checked down to Peterson who turned the play into a 12-yard gain.

A sack nearly stalled the drive, but Smith was able to buy time and find Chris Thompson for a gain of 17 to the Saints 30. Smith converted another third down with a bullet to Paul Richardson down to the five.

But a third-down sack ended the drive and the Redskins had to settle for a field goal. 

BAD: The Redskins’ opening series went nowhere. Alex Smith went deep and incomplete for Maurice Harris, then short and incomplete for Adrian Peterson, and then to Jamison Crowder complete and short of the sticks. To top it off, there was a five-yard false start on the punt. Not what they needed to counter a noisy Superdome crowd. 

UGLY: On New Orleans’ first possession, it looked like the Redskins had the Saints three and out but a holding flag on the third-down play gave them new life.

Then Brees went to Thomas for 20 yards into Washington territory. A screen pass to Mark Ingram was good for 28 yards down to the two. On the next play, Ingram powered in and the Saints took a 6-0 lead. The only good thing was that the Saints missed the extra point. 

SECOND QUARTER:

GOOD: The Saints were trying to run out the clock at the end of the half but Fabian Moreau forced a fumble that Pernell McPhee recovered and returned to the Saints 16-yard line. After a pass to Jamison Crowder picked up 13 yards to the three, Alex Smith scored on a four-yard quarterback draw.

BAD: Ryan Kerrigan got his first sack of the season when he got Brees for an eight-yard loss. However, the Saints kept the ball after safety Montae Nicholson shoved Mark Ingram to the ground well after the whistle. Just a dumb play by Nicholson. It turned out to be costly as the Saints soon scored on a touchdown pass from Brees to Josh Hill.

UGLY: The Redskins’ defense as a whole. On the Saints’ first four first-half possessions they gave up 264 yards and four touchdowns.

THIRD QUARTER:

GOOD: Near the end of the third quarter the Redskins got a good drive going. It wasn’t a coincidence that a pass to Jordan Reed was a key part of the advance. He picked up 21 yards on his first reception of the game to move the ball into Saints territory. It would have set up a field goal try, but with the Redskins trailing by 27 they had to go for it on fourth and 10. Alex Smith lost a fumble and that was that.

BAD:  Alex Smith’s fourth-down pass was picked off by Justin Hardee who returned it 77 yards down to the Washington four. Smith was rolling out to his right and he just didn’t get enough on the ball and Hardee had an easy pick. The Saints turned it into another touchdown.

UGLY: The Redskins defense was completely uninspired coming out of the locker room after halftime. Brees and the Saints rolled right through them five plays, 74 yards, and a touchdown. They just did what they wanted to do.

FOURTH QUARTER:

GOOD: A fourth and two completion to Thompson helped get the Redskins on the board again in the fourth quarter. Passes to Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris gained 24 and 33 yards to set up a one-yard TD plunge for Kapri Bibbs.

BAD: Smith committed his second fourth-down turnover of the second half. He went back to pass and was swarmed under immediately. The ball popped up in the air and the Saints recovered to set up a field goal. Like the first one it was all Smith’s fault but that didn’t make the play any prettier.

UGLY: The game. 

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Thomas Davis is excited for Reuben Foster's return: 'He was born to play the linebacker spot'

Thomas Davis is excited for Reuben Foster's return: 'He was born to play the linebacker spot'

Washington linebackers Thomas Davis and Reuben Foster are at two very different points in their respective NFL careers.

The former is entering his 15th NFL season and is on the tail-end of an incredible career, while the latter is still trying to find his place in the NFL. The two are separated by 11 years in age.

Yet, both linebackers are expected to have significant roles in Washington's defense come this fall, a team they have yet to play a snap for. In a Zoom conference call with local media on Friday, Davis shared his excitement for what Foster has the chance to bring to Washington's defense.

"Reuben is a physical specimen," Davis said. "I was telling somebody the other day you have people who are born to play a position. When you look at Reuben, he’s one of those guys. I feel like he was born to play the linebacker spot."

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It's been a long and windy road -- both on and off the field -- for Foster since Washington claimed him off of waivers in November of 2018.

Foster was released two years ago by San Francisco after two separate domestic violence accusations. Washington claimed the linebacker, yet he would not play for the team at all that season after immediately landing on the Commissioner's Exempt List.

Later that year, Foster's former girlfriend recanted her testimony on the first incident, and charges were dropped on the second. The linebacker got clearance from the NFL to play shortly after.

Foster returned to the field for OTAs in 2019, but his first practice with his new team ended rather quickly. On just the third snap of the session, Foster suffered a gruesome, non-contact knee injury, tearing multiple ligaments. His recovery took longer than usual, as he lost feeling in his toes in January -- months after the surgery. 

Earlier this week, Foster was removed from the active/PUP list and placed on the team's active roster, 21 months after he was originally claimed by Washington and 15 months after his devastating injury. Foster spoke with reporters shortly after Davis did on Friday, and opened up about his life from the past year and a half.

RELATED: WHAT ARE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR REUBEN FOSTER IN 2020?

If there's someone who can relate to Foster's rehab process, it's Davis. Over a 23-month span from 2009-2011, Davis suffered three (!!) separate ACL tears.

Yet, Davis bounced back from those injuries in tremendous fashion. Since returning from the final ACL tear in 2012, Davis has been extremely durable. Over that span, he's earned three Pro Bowl nods and was named to the NFL's All-Pro squad in 2015. Even at age 36, Davis racked up 112 tackles for the Chargers last season.

"Just seeing [Foster] make progress each and every day has truly been special," Davis said. "As a guy who has his own rehab story, to see Reuben being able to do the things he’s doing day in and day out, I’m extremely impressed and I’m excited for him."

With so many twists and turns in his young NFL career, Foster has finally reached the point where he can make football his top priority.

And now in Washington, he has someone he can look up to as a mentor in Davis.

“I try to talk to Reuben as much as I possibly can," Davis said. "Reuben, he’s excited, man. He’s energetic, he’s up-tempo. He’s always just ready to get back on the field as much as he possibly can when he was that opportunity. He’s just out there working hard and we’re just trying to constantly encourage him to continue to fight, continue to work and just let the chips fall where they may at the end of the day."

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SEE IT: This Washington Redwolves concept keeps team's identity intact

SEE IT: This Washington Redwolves concept keeps team's identity intact

Another day, another Washington Redwolves concept. 

Except this time, we may have found a winner. 

On Friday afternoon, an unaffiliated team account, @WashRedwolves posted a concept by Raymond Santiago that combines the classic Burgandy & Gold color scheme with the highly requested Redwolves logo.

Take a look:

RELATED: HOW THIS RED WOLVES DESIGN COULD BE A SIMPLE TRANSITION FOR WASHINGTON FANS

As you can see nothing really changed from the team's current uniform, just the Redwolves logo rather than the numbers they're currently rocking.

And that's absolutely fine. 

Because the team seems to be committed to keeping the identity intact as much as possible post-name change, less would serve as more. 

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