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Five observations after the Redskins' season-saving win in Chicago

Five observations after the Redskins' season-saving win in Chicago

CHICAGO—My five observations from Redskins 41-21 win over the Bears:

—Kirk Cousins rebounded from his worst game of the season to put on very efficient performance in leading the offense. He passed for one touchdown and ran for two more (becoming the first QB this year with multiple rushing touchdowns in a game). Most of his passes were crisp and on target and those that weren’t had zero chance of getting intercepted.

—After struggles that were not all his fault the last few games, Rob Kelley ran for 76 yards on 19 carries. He did what he does, grinding out yards, turning potential losses into short gains and short gains into second and three. When Kelley went out with a knee sprain, Mack Brown came in and provided the icing on the cake with a 61-yard touchdown run when the Redskins were just trying to chew up the last minute of the clock. It might be hard to keep Brown off of the field if the Redskins get on a roll running the ball and need some relief for Kelley.

—The Redskins came into the game with seven interceptions on the season. They got five off of Matt Barkley today. Josh Norman and Bashaud were in a group of seven defenders who were tied for the team lead in interceptions with one each. Now Norman and Breeland are tied with three each on the season and Will Blackmon got into the group that is still tied at one. The Bears did pile up some yards (458) but the Redskins were able to stay in command the entire way thanks to the takeaways.

—Preston Smith came to play. It looked like the Bears were going to answer the Redskins’ first touchdown with a short field goal but Smith got his arms up and blocked it. He also got the Redskins’ only sack of the game and he had another one negated by a penalty. He also forced a few errant Barkley throws by getting pressure. If he can stay heated up—and we’ve seen a few good performances by him this year only to have him follow up by disappearing for several games—the Redskins D will be much better off.

—The Redskins can now finish no worse than 8-7-1. That’s (just barely) a winning season and after their 9-7 finish last year they have back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1996-1997. It’s not an accomplishment that calls for a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue or anything but clearly it is a step in the right direction.

[MORE: COUSINS ON BIG WIN, CHRISTMAS-THEMED SUIT]

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One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

One crazy stat that connects Dwayne Haskins with Cam Newton, but also Mark Sanchez

The Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. While his record at Ohio State was impressive, Haskins didn't log many starts. 

Washington head coach Jay Gruden talked about Haskins back in March during the league meetings, before the Burgundy and Gold drafted the quarterback, and said that because he played just one year in college he would need significant time to learn the NFL game. 

"You would like a guy to play more than a year to see how he’s developed over the years. Haskins has a unique skillset. He’s big, strong and can really throw it," Gruden said. Then, "Is he going to be ready for the first year?"

After OTAs and minicamp, it's obvious Haskins has all the talent needed to play quarterback in the NFL. He's made touch throws and he's rifled balls into tight windows. At the same time, he seemed confused in spots about play calls and struggled with the speed of the pass rush. 

All of that is normal for a player with just 14 starts. But it's that number, the one year of starting experience in college, that makes one statistic stand out about Haskins. 

That's some serious company, both good, bad and ugly. 

As a rookie in 2011, Cam Newton went 6-10 with 35 total TDs and 17 interceptions, not to mention a Rookie of the Year trophy. His running prowess made up for average numbers in the pass game. The more important comparison for Redskins fans is that Newton eventually developed into an NFL MVP and got the Panthers to the Super Bowl. 

For Mark Sanchez, the rookie numbers and the career comparison aren't as kind. Sanchez threw 12 TDs and 20 INTs in 15 games as a rookie, though he was at the helm as the Jets got to two straight AFC title games. Still, for his career, Sanchez threw more INTs than TDs and could not keep a starting job after his rookie contract. 

Trubisky is a different deal. He's only started 26 games since being the second overall pick in the 2017 draft with a record of 15-11. He's thrown 31 touchdowns against 19 interceptions, and run for another five scores. It's hard to describe Trubisky's game. At times he's terribly inaccurate, but in other spots, he looks like a future Pro Bowler. 

Newton is the sure thing, Sanchez is the poor outcome. Trubisky is still to be determined. 

For Haskins, it's not good company or bad company. With only 14 starts at Ohio State before the Redskins drafted Haskins, it's just the company he's in.

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Packers' Davante Adams has high praise for rookie Darnell Savage

Packers' Davante Adams has high praise for rookie Darnell Savage

Darnell Savage was the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect

Darnell Savage has been getting a lot of buzz since the Packers traded up to the 21st overall pick to select him in the 2019 NFL Draft, and his teammates are on board.

The Maryland star was one of the draft's biggest risers, and it was well warranted.

The Packers' Instagram account posted a video of Savage Wednesday, and his teammate Davante Adams chimed in.

“The boy gonna be special,” Adams wrote.

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BORN READY. #MondayMotivation #GoPackGo

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“He’s going to be that guy — I can tell," Adams said, via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. "We definitely got a steal." “I know we got him early, but I still think that he could have gone even earlier just based on what he’s doing out there. He plays like a vet, he knows how to practice, and he’s smart, man.

Savage will face the Redskins in Week 14 when the Burgundy and Gold head up to Lambeau Field on December 8 for the matchup against the Packers.

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