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Taking a closer look at the Redskins' game-winning and potentially season-changing final drive in Seattle

Taking a closer look at the Redskins' game-winning and potentially season-changing final drive in Seattle

SEATTLE—For the first time since at least 1999, the Redskins scored a game-winning touchdown on a drive that started with less than two minutes to play. It got them a 17-14 win over the Seahawks in one of the most improbable victories in recent history.

The Seahawks had scored a touchdown to take a 14-10 lead with 1:34 left to play. The Redskins answered with four plays in 35 seconds.

The first pass was incomplete. Then things got rolling.

RELATED: Five takeaways from Redskins' improbable win against the Seahawks​

Kirk Cousins pass deep right to Brian Quick, pushed out of bounds for 31 yards to SEA 39

Quick had played just 11 snaps all year going into the game but with Jamison Crowder out with an injury he had to play an increased role. He was quiet for most of the game until that last drive.

Cousins was knocked to the ground after he released the ball and he didn’t see the completion.

“Brian did a phenomenal job creating separation versus man coverage, running the route the way we had wanted to,” said Cousins. “The protection was a little loose so I really didn’t get a chance to see it. I just threw it to a spot and got hit and then you’re just kind of waiting for a reaction.”

The reaction was mostly silence from the Seahawks’ famed 12th man as they were getting a little nervous. They fell silent after the next play.

Cousins pass deep left to Josh Doctson for 38 yards to SEA one

This one had to be reviewed both to make sure that Doctson’s diving effort was a catch (that wasn’t really close, it was) and to see if he rolled into the end zone after diving at around the five and then skidding to the goal line. It was ruled that he was indeed touched down inside the one.

Cornerback Josh Norman was in awe watching from the sideline.

“He’s a first-round guy, that was a first-round catch,” he said. “He said he was going to do that.”

Norman thought that here might have been some divine intervention involved in the play.

“He’s done it in practice so it’s not surprising to me that he came back and the Lord granted him with a second chance, a second opportunity,” he said.  He saw that thing in the air. It looked like the angels pushed him forward a little bit. He speeded up, he’s got another gear to him. He got up on the ball and caught it.”

Cousins’ explanation was more mechanical.

“We just called and audible there at the line of scrimmage, he said. “Jay [Gruden] had said that if you get press man, give him the ball. So we gave him and hand signal and he took off. I put it out there pretty far, and he went and got it.”

They still had some work to do after the Seahawks called a timeout with 1:02 left to play. The call was Rob Kelley into the line.

Kelley left guard for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN

“I remember Kirk telling me we had to get it in, it’s the last chance to get it in,” said Kelley. “And everybody believed in what Kirk said and we did it.”

Right before Kelley spoke he was stuffing the ball he carried on that play into his backpack.

“I tried to give it to Doctson, he didn’t want it,” he said.

He wasn’t at all worried that four of the five offensive linemen in front of him were not starters two weeks ago. He noted that he was a backup when he played at Tulane.

“You’ve got to take what you’ve got and keep rolling.”

While many fans were hoping that the Redskins would take a couple of plays to score to burn off more time and keep the ball out of quarterback Russell Wilson’s hands, D.J. Swearinger was perfectly happy to have to get back out and defend in the last minute.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to win the game, not let the clock run out,” he said.

Norman agreed. “We wanted to get back on the field after that.” 

“When you have an offense come in there and have your back like that, heh, that’s big-time, that really is. You’ve got to take your hats off to them.”

The defense gave up a couple of first downs, the last one at the Washington 38. Seattle needed just a field goal to tie the game but they didn’t get close enough. Terrell McClain sacked Wilson, forcing a Hail Mary on the last play.

Wilson pass deep left for McEvoy incomplete (pass breakup by DeAngelo Hall)

Hall was playing in his first game since Week 3 of last year.

“That’s a team, that’s a group, that’s what it’s all about, guys out here battling until the last second,” said Norman.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins nearly turned Seahawks' Super Bowl LI fail into the greatest two-point conversion​

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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Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins ranked as the fourth most valuable NFL franchise by Forbes

Annually, Forbes releases the worth of all professional sports franchises in the world. Once again, the Washington Redskins are sitting near the top. 

This year the Redskins are ranked the fourth most valuable NFL franchise at $3.1 billion. 

That marks a five percent worth increase from a year ago. They leapfrogged the San Francisco 49ers for a spot in the top four after placing fifth in 2017. They still trail the Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion), the New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), and the New York Giants ($3.3 billion).

Compared to other leagues and franchises, the Redskins jumped into the top-10. They are tied for the tenth overall value with the Golden State Warriors who are coming off of their third NBA title in four years.

From year-to-year there is never much movement from the top of the ranking. Once again, the Cowboys are the top team in the world by over $600 million. They were followed by three European soccer teams. In total four NFL teams made up the top-10, the most of any sport. 

2018 Top-10 World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams according to Forbes:

1. Dallas Cowboys, $4.8 billion (NFL)

2. Manchester United, $4.123 billion ( Soccer)

3. Real Madrid, $4.09 billion (Soccer)

4. Barcelona, $4.064 billion (Soccer)

5. New York Yankees, $4 billion (MLB)

6. New England Patriots, $3.7 billion (NFL)

7. New York Knicks, $3.6 billion (NBA)

8. Los Angeles Lakers, $3.3 billion (NBA)

8. New York Giants, $3.3 billion (NFL)

T-10. Golden State Warriors, $3.1 billion (NBA)

T-10. Washington Redskins, $3.1 billion (NFL)

Next five NFL franchises:

13. San Francisco 49ers, $3.05 billion

T-14. Los Angeles Rams, $3 billion 

17. Chicago Bears, $2.85 billion 

T-19. Houston Texans, $2.8 billion

21. New York Jets, $2.75 billion

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series