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Anatomy of a loss: Redskins lose their cool


Anatomy of a loss: Redskins lose their cool

In summary:When the doors to the visitors locker room swung open following Sundays 31-28 loss,Josh Morganwas seated facing his locker stall, motionless, staring at the ground.Moments earlier, the wide receiver had lost his cool and, as a result, any chance the Redskins had of forcing overtime had been lost as well.Morgan was tackled after catching a pass from Robert Griffin III near the Redskins sideline. As he got up off the turf, Rams cornerbackCortland Finneganshoved him in the facemask. Morgans response was a regrettable one: he flung the ball at Finnegan, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty.A 47-yard field goal attempt had just become a 62-yarder, which failed when Billy Cundiffs kick came up well short with 1:18 remaining.Afterward, Morgan said his reaction had been percolating throughout a chippy game that featured a number of post-whistle scrums and plenty of trash talk.You saw the whole game, Morgan said. I got to keep my cool. I never did nothing like that before. It just came to a point where you just get tired of it. I just had to be the bigger person and keep moving.Finnegan added: I didnt say anything to him. The game was chippy all game long. It was just a matter of him making a mistake there and getting them out of field goal range.Morgan was approached by team-leaderLondon Fletchermoments before speaking to reporters.He said things such as the game shouldnt have even been that close, we shouldnt have been in that position, Morgan said. Everybody is going to attack me, you got to be the bigger person and keep moving forward.Morgans gaffe certainly contributed to the defeat, which evened the Redskins record at 1-1. But it wasnt all that was being discussed in the aftermath of the Rams first victory since November 13th2011.Injury update:Defensive endAdam Carrikerinjured his right leg in the first quarter and did not return to the game. He said he'll have an MRI in the morning but did not sound optimistic as he slowly made his way out of the locker room on crutches.I just planted and pushed, and then it was just pain, Carriker said. The MRI will tell us everything we need to know. Well see how it feels and looks tomorrow. It doesnt look that great, but you never know.LinebackerBrian Orakpoappeared to reinjure the left shoulderpectoral muscle that he originally hurt in the regular season finale a season ago. Orakpo twice attempted to return but was forced to leave again. As he hurried out of the locker room, he said he was going to be examined by Dr. James Andrews, who, presumably, was in the building.Josh Wilsonsustained a concussion during a helmet-to-helmet collision with Rams running backDaryl Richardsonin the third quarter. Because the injury was to his head, Wilson was not permitted to speak to media, per NFL rules.CoachMike Shanahanwill likely have further information when he addresses reporters Monday afternoon in Ashburn.Special team struggles:For the second straight week, Sav Rocca had a punt blocked deep in Washingtons territory. Again, it led to an opponents touchdown.I kicked the ball and there was someone there, Rocca said. We just have to make sure that we cover all their guys. I dont know what they did, if they twisted or what.Shanahan added: It was a six-man rush and there was a bit of an overload. One of our guys took off a little too early and they blocked the punt.Coming up short:Cundiffs 62-yard field goal attempt landed in the end zone, significantly short of the uprights. Still, Shanahan said he felt it was worth a try.Well, he can kick it out of the end zone pretty consistently from the 35-yard line, so that means he could kick a 62-yarder if he hits it right, Shanahan said.Losing control:Before Morgans loss of composure, tension had been building on both sidelines after countless shoving matches, tussles and fracases. Although no one came right out and said the replacement referees lost control of the game, it was implied.I dont think anything really needs to be said, Shanahan said of the officiating. If you watch the game, you can see what happened during that game.Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said: I know Mike Shanahan was frustrated at times today and I was frustrated at times today. Again, Ive said the same thing Ive been saying since the preseason: these arent the regular guys. Theyre doing the absolute best they can.First time for everything:Griffin had his first and second career rushing touchdowns. He also had his first interception one play after getting popped hard and high.That wasnt affecting me, said Griffin, who attempted to force a pass to Fred Davis over the middle while off balance. I was just trying to make a play when I shouldnt have tried to make a play. Its just a mistake I cant make.By the numbers:One game after gaining 96 yards on 28 carries (3.4 yards per carry average), rookie running back Alfred Morris was more efficient and decisive in gaining 89 yards on 15 carries (5.6 per). Morris longest run was a 29-yarder in the third quarter.Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. only rushed the ball once apiece.By the numbers, II:DeAngelo Hall had a team-high eight tackles, including two for loss, a fumble recovery and a pass defended.Quotable:Shanahan on his message to the team Monday: You toughen yourself tomorrow. We will be tough on ourselves. I did see some good things during the game but when you lose a game like that its always tough to take.

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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

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The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list

The curious case of Alex Smith and the NFL Top 100 list

Every offseason the NFL Network polls a number of current players to determine the Top 100 stars in the league.

It's a fun discussion topic during an otherwise slow time in the football calendar, and while the rankings carry no official meaning, it would be silly to dismiss the process altogether. After all, these are players voting for their fellow players. 

Over the last few seasons, the Redskins have seen a various number of their players make the list. Trent Williams is a mainstay, Jordan Reed made an appearance, and while he was playing in Washington, QB Kirk Cousins made the list. 

For example, in 2017, Cousins ranked 70th on the NFL Top 100. That same season, while quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, Smith came in at 81 on the list. 

Now Redskins QB, there is a bit of a mystery surrounding Smith.

The NFL has revealed numbers 100 to 11, and Smith hasn't made the list. Cousins, now a Viking, landed 94th, the first QB on the list.

Another 10 QBs have been named to the Top 100: Jimmy Garoppolo (90), Derek Carr (60), Philip Rivers (56), Case Keenum (51), Deshaun Watson (50), Jared Goff (38), Matt Stafford (31), Matt Ryan (29), Ben Roethlisberger (18) and Russell Wilson (11).

Smith had the best statistical season of his career in 2017, and he led the NFL in passer rating. He certainly belongs higher on the Top 100 than a number of the quarterbacks listed above, particularly young players without his track record of success like Keenum, Watson or Goff. 

But does Smith deserve a Top 10 ranking in the NFL?

For Smith to make the list, it will mean a Top 10 ranking. Consider too that Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Wentz have not yet landed on the Top 100. All four of those players seem like locks for the Top 10, which will be revealed next Monday night on NFL Network. 

It might seem surprising for Smith to land in the Top 10 of the NFL Top 100, but it would make zero sense for him to be left off the list altogether. 


— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap


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