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Against Redskins, Rodgers shows how far ahead of Cousins he is


Against Redskins, Rodgers shows how far ahead of Cousins he is

LANDOVER, Md. — Fans and analysts alike were making comparisons between Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers all week, with some even saying that the Redskins had the advantage at quarterback despite the fact that Green Bay's passer is a five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion, while Washington's had never started a playoff game.

Those conversations look foolish now, however, after Rodgers and the Packers easily dispatched Cousins and the Redskins Sunday evening at FedEx Field. And when I asked the Packers' signal caller whether he had paid attention to the talk at all during the week, his answer was as quick and precise as his play.

"No," Rodgers said, before giving a quick smile. 

He later explained himself a little further, saying that overall, he and his teammates aren't very fond of listening to outside judgments.

"We don't really care about any of the expectations, whether they're talking about picking Kirk over myself or talking about how everybody expected us to lose this game," he said." We don't care about those opinions out there."

Whether he heard the discussions or not, #12 put together an in-control performance that was methodical and slowly sucked the life out of what was, at kickoff, a very loud and energetic stadium. His final numbers aren't startling (21-of-36 for 210 yards and two touchdowns), but he was clearly the better, calmer, and more experienced QB over Cousins, who was under duress for much of the matchup and picked up a major chunk of his yards on checkdowns and late in the fourth quarter when the outcome was already decided.

"He's just one heck of a quarterback," Jay Gruden said afterward of arguably the league's top starter. "Anytime he's in the shotgun or under center, he's got the ball in his hands. He's a special player."

On his offense's first few drives, Rodgers looked a little rushed and out of sync. But after the rocky start, he locked in and, at one point, guided the unit to five consecutive scoring trips. Packers coach Mike McCarthy mentioned that he saw his leader calm down after his initial slump.

"Aaron was playing a little fast at the beginning of the game and just settled in," he said. "There was some uneasiness, particularly on the backed-up series on the second series [which ended with a safety], but once we got going I though he played very well."

As for Cousins (29-of-46 for 329 yards and a touchdown), his streak of impeccable play finally came to an end, and the Burgundy and Gold's magic felt like it simply ran out. He was his usual positive self during postgame interviews, though, and said he intends to use the loss as motivation in the coming months.

"I walked away feeling like this loss catapults our offseason to enable us to have a little bit of an edge, and say, 'Where did we fall short?'" he said. "Hopefully it will challenge us as a young team to grow...This league is so competitive to be able to get to the top or stay near the top. So we've got a lot of work to get there and stay there."

The same could be said for Cousins himself. Because, while he was phenomenal at times in 2015 and quite good for almost all of it, he has a long way to go until a comparison between him and a player like Rodgers isn't a reach. He certainly didn't start or ask for those debates, and apparently, Rodgers didn't listen to them anyways, but on Sunday, they were laid to rest for what should be a long time — and rightly so.


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It was ugly and boring, but the Redskins won a wild and important game in Jacksonville

It was ugly and boring, but the Redskins won a wild and important game in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE -- The Redskins played one of the ugliest games of the NFL season on Sunday, but they got an extremely important win, and in the end, that's all that matters. 

Across the league, offenses are getting more inventive and creating new ways to move the football through the air. That didn't happen in Jacksonville.

What did happen was a gutty performance from fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson, a great pass rush, and an opportunistic defense combined to grind out a victory. 

The team overcame some mistakes and proved they will still play for head coach Jay Gruden. There's a lot to unpack, let's dive in. 

1. Not Too Bad:

Josh Johnson played well on Sunday, finishing with 151 passing yards and completing 16 of 25 passes. He connected with Jeremy Sprinkle for a late touchdown to tie the game, and never made the kind of killer mistakes that often bury a team playing backup QBs. 

2. Beast Mode: 

The Redskins defensive front played a monster game, sacking Jags QB Cody Kessler six times. Ryan Kerrigan and Jonathan Allen each logged two sacks on Kessler, and Kerrigan moved into second place all-time on the Redskins sack list. Now with 82.5 sacks, Kerrigan trails only Dexter Manley on the Washington franchise list. The defense also limited the Jags to under 200 yards of total offense. 

3. Secret Formula:

The formula for the Redskins when they got out to a 6-3 start was fairly simple; control time of possession and win the turnover battle. That worked on Sunday. The Redskins won the clock battle and forced two turnovers from Kessler. The late interception from Fabian Moreau was a huge play for the Redskins, as it kept the Jags from a field goal attempt when the game was tied at 13 with less than five minutes remaining. Then a good drive from Johnson led to the game-winning 36-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins. 

4. The Curse Continues:

Penalties have been killing the Redskins for weeks, and Sunday's game was no different. The team finished with six penalties for 48 yards, and on a number of first down plays, flags brought the gains back. Morgan Moses added to his league-leading penalty total, a title that nobody wants. The Redskins offensive line is a mess due to injuries, playing their 10th guard of the season, but still, the pace of penalties demands attention and correction. 

5. Not so Special:

 The Redskins defense didn't give up any touchdowns, but the Redskins special teams did. Late in the first half, Maurice Harris got the mistake train rolling when he tried to field a punt with the sun directly in his eyes. Rather than just letting the ball go, Harris attempted a backward over-the-shoulder catch. It didn't work. He muffed the punt and had to retreat about 10 yards to fall on the football. From there, the offense went 3-and-out and had to punt. Then that punt got returned for a touchdown, with a remarkable missed tackle from Byron Marshall. Seriously watch this. 



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Ryan Kerrigan moves to second on Redskins all-time sacks list against Jacksonville

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Ryan Kerrigan moves to second on Redskins all-time sacks list against Jacksonville

Move over Charles Mann, there is a new placeholder for second place on the Washington Redskins all-time sacks list. 

Ryan Kerrigan collected two sacks against the inept Jacksonville Jaguars offense in Week 15. Kerrigan, 30, now has 82.5 sacks in 126 games throughout his career. 

Mann ended his playing career with 82 career sacks playing from 1983 to 1993. 

The only person left for Kerrigan to pass is Dexter Manley who had 91 in nine seasons in Washington.

1. Dexter Manley        91.0
2. Ryan Kerrigan       82.5
3. Charles Mann         80.5
4. Monte Coleman     43.5
5. Ken Harvey             41.5