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Redskins vs Texans: Highs and Lows from Week 11

Redskins vs Texans: Highs and Lows from Week 11

The Redskins have one of their toughests tests remaining of the 2018 campaign, as the red-hot Houston Texans entered Sunday's contest on a six-game winning streak in a battle of two 6-3 teams.

Washington entered Sunday's contest without four major contributors, as left tackle, Trent Williams, wide receiver Jamison Crowder, running back Chris Thompson, and cornerback Quinton Dunbar all were declared inactive for Sunday's game.

Can Washington overcome the plethera of injuries they have and knock off the Texans, something no team has been able to do since September?

Here are the highs and lows from the Week 11 matchup...

Redskins vs. Texans: Highs and Lows

FIRST QUARTER:

HIGHS: The Redskins punted on their first two drives, including a three-and-out to open the game. Backed up inside the 15, Washington did manage to convert a 3rd-and-6 from Alex Smith to Michael Floyd to keep the drive going before it stalled.

Washington’s third drive went a little better with a 24-yard catch by tight end Jordan Reed and a 13-yard reception by Maurice Harris. It looked like J.J. Watt blew up the drive with a strip on 3rd-and-10 that pushed the Redskins out of field goal range, but a defensive holding call kept the drive alive. 

Trey Quinn’s diving 15-yard catch put Washington in good shape at the 15. It is Quinn’s first game since Week 1 after a serious ankle injury. The Redskins ended the first quarter with 2nd-and-4 at the 8 after an Adrian Peterson run. Can they punch it in? 

LOWS: The Texans drove 68 yards in 10 plays and 4:38 to take a 3-0 lead on a Ka’imi Fairbairn 23-yard field goal. The good news? They only allowed nine rushing yards to Lamar Miller. The bad? They gave up two pass plays of 16 yards or more to Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson and neither went to Houston star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Uh oh.   
 
You knew what was coming. Hopkins caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Watson on the Texans’ second drive and suddenly bad memories of the Atlanta and New Orleans blowout losses came rushing back. A Redskins team not built from coming back was down 10-0. The Texans needed just six plays to go 69 yards in 3:13. 

SECOND QUARTER:

HIGHS: Adrian Peterson punched in a 3-yard touchdown run and Houston’s lead was cut to 10-7. Peterson tied Redskins legend John Riggins with his 104thcareer rushing touchdown. They are tied for sixth all time. The scoring drive was an impressive 10 plays, 75 yards in 4:01.

The Redskins have now forced at least one turnover in 13 consecutive games. Mason Foster intercepted a Deshaun Watson pass tipped by teammate Josh Harvey-Clemons.

A subsequent three-and-out wasn’t ideal. But punter Tress Way did what he does and pinned the Texans at the 4.

Trey Quinn showed his face again with a 13-yard catch on a 3rd-and-6 at the 29. That put the Redskins in scoring position. Or…at least ONE team was in scoring position. It wasn’t Washington.

LOWS: Alex Smith never forces anything. That’s his whole deal. But on 3rd-and-goal from the 9 he forced a pass to tight end Jordan Reed. Instead of at worst a 10-10 game after a short field goal attempt, the pass was intercepted and returned 101 yards by Houston safety Justin Reid. That made it 17-7. A brutal turnaround.

And it happened again moments later. A pass under pressure to running back Kapri Bibbs was intercepted by linebacker Brennan Scarlett at the 22. Lucky for Smith and the Redskins, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 44-yard kick.

THIRD QUARTER:

HIGHS: Hard to talk about any highs in a third quarter where it looked like quarterback Alex Smith sustained a season-ending right leg injury.

But the Redskins defense struck again early in the second half. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix jumped a pass to DeAndre Hopkins and Mason Foster recovered the subsequent fumble. Honestly, it looked like he intercepted the ball by taking it off Hopkins’ chest as he bobbled it. Whatever. Washington stopped Houston’s opening drive with its second forced turnover of the game.

Outside linebacker Preston Smith intercepted Deshaun Watson at the 13 and backup quarterback Colt McCoy came in for Smith and immediately threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed. Houston’s lead was 17-14.

LOWS: Alex Smith is hurt and it was gruesome and it was hard to watch. Thirty-three years after Joe Theismann’s infamous broken leg in a 1985  game against the New York Giants, Smith sustained a brutal leg/ankle injury. Watch the replays only if you aren’t squeamish. It was devastating and nothing else that comes of this game really matters. It is Colt McCoy’s team for the foreseeable future. Smith was sacked by cornerback Kareem Jackson and defensive end J.J. Watt and his right leg bent under him. He was carted off the field with an air cast on the leg.

The Texans did answer the McCoy touchdown pass with a 33-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn. Houston led 20-14 with 1:19 left in the third quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER:

HIGHS: The Redskins shook off the shock of Alex Smith’s injury. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy followed his third-quarter touchdown pass with a 10-play, 67-yard touchdown drive. Adrian Peterson had his second touchdown of the day from seven yards out. The extra point gave Washington a  21-20 lead at 12:02 of the fourth quarter.

With :52 to go, Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 35-yard field goal to give the Redskins a chance with no timeouts left and down 23-21. The Redskins failed to advance past the 45 though and a 62-yard field goal attempt came up 10 yards short.

LOWS: The Texans had a drive stall in Washington territory after an illegal block in the back and settled for a 54-yard field-goal attempt from kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn. He nailed it. Barely. That made it 23-21 Texans with 7:30 to go.

The Redskins couldn’t answer on the next drive. They got an Adrian Peterson first down, but J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney each sacked Colt McCoy to force a punt with under five minutes to play.

Washington could have got the ball back quickly, but on a 3rd-and-7 at the 45 the Texans completed a pass to running back Lamar Miller for a first down to keep the clock running.

On 3rd-and-5 at the 37 the Redskins thought they had stopped Watson shy of the first down on a run. Instead, Josh Norman was hit with a defensive holding penalty. The Texans had a first down with 1:51 to go.

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Why Trent Williams is the one holding the leverage when it comes to his situation with the Redskins

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Why Trent Williams is the one holding the leverage when it comes to his situation with the Redskins

Trent Williams wasn't at the Redskins' mandatory June minicamp or any of their OTA sessions, either, with reports suggesting he wants more money, is upset with the organization's medical staff or a combination of the two.

But even by not attending any offseason practice, Williams showed the Redskins something very important.

If he's not at left tackle for the team in 2019, the entire offense might fail. Not having their anchor on the left side could be an anchor to the whole campaign.

Even in sessions where the defensive line wasn't playing with full ferocity, they often times had no problems getting into the faces of Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum. Jay Gruden absolutely noticed. It was impossible not to.

Yes, it's necessary to point out Williams wasn't the only one missing up front. In fact, the collection was basically made up of second-stringers.

However, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier are all slated to be back when meaningful football resumes. Gruden, the passers and the running backs don't have to worry about them.

Yet they should all be quite petrified at the thought of not having No. 71 around.

A massive reason why is because of the present choices behind him. Ereck Flowers was brought in to try and be used at left guard, but with Williams absent, he saw heavy action on the outside. The results reminded everyone there of why he's being moved to the interior.

Aside from Flowers, the 'Skins have players like Tyler Catalina and Timon Parris on the roster. They fared better than Flowers when the media was able to watch practices in Ashburn, but they're nowhere close to being starting-caliber options, let alone ready to serve as replacements for one of the franchise's top contributors of the 2000s.  

That's a major factor into why it feels like Williams holds the leverage in his standoff with the Burgundy and Gold. There are other factors as well.

Whether or not Haskins wins the job coming out of Richmond remains to be seen. With that being said, the 15th overall pick will eventually take over as signal caller, and figures to take over for the long-term future. Haskins' early career beginning with someone other than Williams protecting him is the opposite of ideal.

Then, there's the fact that many decision makers believe the Redskins are "close" to breaking through. That step forward will not happen if Williams isn't suiting up.

Now, the team could just wait Williams out and see if he's really committed to the reported "vow" he's taken to never play in DC again. Would he still be content to not show up once he starts losing out on hefty game checks?

That's something the front office may decide to find out, and that route could easily force Williams into a place where he has to make the first move. It's a card they're holding, and a key card at that.

But still, the Redskins have a head coach who badly needs to succeed starting in September, an offense predicated on running the ball, a prized young QB about to embark on his NFL life and leaders up top who could use positive results on the field.

All of that is largely why, in his Tuesday story, JP Finlay wrote that perhaps improving Williams' contract and getting him back in the locker room appears to be how this'll all play out.

The storyline this offseason absolutely wasn't supposed to be about a battle between the Redskins and Trent Williams, but as of now, that's the topic everyone's talking about. It's now in Washington's best interest to ensure it doesn't carry over beyond Week 1.

For that to happen, it seems like the team will have to appease the player. That's not common in the NFL, but not many players find themselves with the leverage Williams possesses.  

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Eagles will open just one training camp practice to fans, and charge them

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USA Today Sports

Eagles will open just one training camp practice to fans, and charge them

Following a growing trend, the Philadelphia Eagles cut fan access at training camp way back. Way, way back actually. 

The Eagles will open just one training camp practice to the public, and what's more, the team will charge fans to watch. To watch the Eagles lone public training camp session will cost $10, but it's important to note that the proceeds will go the Eagles Autism Challenge, per an ESPN report.

Raising money for charity is admirable. That's not a debate. 

Still, Philadelphia might be on the forefront of an NFL wide trend that significantly limits fan access to teams during training camp. Last year, the Eagles held two open practices at Lincoln Financial Field that fans could attend. This year, it's just one, and by putting it at their home stadium changes the atmosphere too. For some fans, it might be great to get to see the stadium without paying game day prices, but for others, the up-close access of training camp will be greatly missed. 

The Redskins were widely mocked nearly 20 years ago when they moved training camp sessions to their practice facility in Ashburn and charged to watch the practices. The outcry was deserved, not to mention that by charging to watch practice allowed other team's scouts to attend. The NFL changed a rule in 2017 that opposing scouts are not allowed to watch a team's practice regardless of cost. 

Other teams around the league are slowly pulling away from the traditional training camp experience of going away for a few weeks of practice. In the NFC East, the Eagles and Giants hold their camps at their facilities while the Redskins and Cowboys travel. Dallas does their training camp in Oxnard, California, while the 'Skins go to Richmond. 

Washington's deal with the city of Richmond expires after training camp in 2020. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Redskins training camp practices after that, especially as the team wants a new stadium. Any new stadium would probably include facilities to hold training camp practices, similar to the Giants in New Jersey. Additionally, the promise of training camp practices could be part of the negotiations for a new stadium. 

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