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Five observations from the Redskins' narrow win over the Eagles

Five observations from the Redskins' narrow win over the Eagles

PHILADELPHIA – Here are my five observations on Redskins 27, Eagles 22.

—The Redskins played with fire for the fourth time this season and for the third time they survived. Against the Ravens, Lions, Viking, and now the Eagles, the Redskins held a lead of more than a field goal but less than a touchdown and watched the other team drive into their territory. This was the third time they held on for the win; only Matthew Stafford and the Lions were able to get it into the end zone. That says a lot about this team. Not all of it is good as it seem like many teams can get stops before causing severe stress among their fan bases. But a win is a win and the Redskins move on.

Gallery: NFL WEEK 14: REDSKINS 27, EAGLES 22​

—The Redskins can win with a balanced attack. The called 23 passing plays and 22 rushing plays. They didn’t rack up a ton of yards (334, right around their average for the season) but they did get it in the end zone four times and they never started with field position better than their own 46.

—The defense had a tough time in the first half, stopping the Eagles only once and that was on Deshazor Everett’s interception in the end zone that stopped a drive down to the Washington three-yard line. But when you look at the game as a whole they only gave up one touchdown (one Eagles score came on the pick six) and three field goals. It wasn’t a great defensive game by any means but it was better than it seemed at the time.

—Both teams were digging down their depth charts. The Eagles were on their fourth-string right offensive tackle and their third-string long snapper by the end of the game. Martrell Spaight had played just seven defensive snaps before he had to replace injured signal caller Will Compton. Everett had not played a single defensive snap this year before today. Teams have to dig deep this time of year and subs for both sides came up big.

—I asked Chris Thompson about his 25-yard touchdown run to win the game. He went through the start of the play and they he said he saw “Trent Williams doing Trent Williams things” out in front of him. Few tackles are athletic as Williams. Yes, Ty Nsekhe did a nice job filling in for Williams. But he can’t do what Williams does and that’s why the offense is better for him being back.

MORE REDSKINS: Eagles, Redskins scuffle after dangerous hit

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49ers seal rainy victory over Redskins with slip-n-slide celebration

49ers seal rainy victory over Redskins with slip-n-slide celebration

After coming across the country and holding the Redskins scoreless, the 49ers celebrated their victory over Washington in the most appropriate way possible.

In a rain-fulfilled contest that featured poor field conditions, including multiple puddles throughout the playing surface at FedExField, several players on both sides slipped constantly on Sunday. 

On the last play of the game with a San Francisco victory just seconds away, 49ers rookie Nick Bosa sacked Redskins quarterback Case Keenum as the clock winded down. Bosa celebrated with a headfirst slide across the grass, fully embracing the poor field conditions that affected both sides all afternoon long.

But as soon as Bosa hit the turf, several of his 49ers teammates joined him in the act. All of a sudden, dozens of white jerseys were sliding across the wet grass, as the two teams began to commemorate postgame.

"It was a lot of fun. It was definitely worth it," 49ers defensive end Deforest Buckner said. "I saw Bosa out there sliding, so I said, 'Let's do it.' Everybody else started sliding around and everything. It was like a bunch of little kids out there. That's part of the game, having fun. Right now, we're having a lot of fun."

Even head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was likely happier about this victory than many others, considered joining in.

"I did think about it," Shanahan said. "But I don't think I would have done it right."

The head coach wasn't the only 49er to sit the celebration out.

"I spent plenty of time getting wet in the game," tight end George Kittle said. "I let other guys do [the celebration] for me."

"I saw those guys running and diving on the ground," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "I was like, I got out of this one healthy, so I'm just going to go. I'm just going to observe and then jog to the sideline, but it was fun. It was the 'Mud Bowl 2019 Champions.'"

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also sat the celebration out, but not by choice.

"I missed the slide. I was upset about that," he said.

After holding the Redskins to zero points and just 154 total yards, the 49ers deserved to celebrate in any way they wanted. And they did just that.

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49ers coach Kyle Shanahan gets his revenge on Redskins, gives dad, Mike, the game ball

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan gets his revenge on Redskins, gives dad, Mike, the game ball

It is personal for Kyle Shanahan. It always will be. 

The former Redskins offensive coordinator, who served in that position under his dad, Mike, for four years from 2010-2013, and helped Washington win an NFC East title in 2012, says he moved on long ago from the traumatic end here. 

The Shanahans were fired after a miserable 3-13 season where they sniped with upper management and their young star quarterback Robert Griffin III as things fell apart on the field. 

On Sunday, Kyle Shanahan returned to FedEx Field for the second time since taking over the 49ers in 2017. They lost that initial return game here in his first year with a rebuilding roster. But it was gratifying nonetheless to leave with a 9-0 win this time. According to 49ers players, he even gave the game ball to his dad.   

The 49ers are 6-0 and headed toward the playoffs. The Redskins are 1-6, fired coach Jay Gruden, the man who replaced the Shanahans, and are starting over. Again. Shanahan might try to keep the personal out of it, but a small smile creased his face when asked about the irony.

“I'm always a little more sensitive to this because of what I went through with my dad here,” Kyle Shanahan said. “It’s always nice to get the win. But it definitely had nothing to do with the game, nothing to do with the score. You always want to take care of things the right way when you're bothered by some things that happened to a family member."

Shanahan tried to say all the right things during his mid-week conference call with Washington reporters. It was NOT personal. He’d been back to FedEx Field before and lost. He’d been to other places he’d coached before and played without strong emotions. He’s moved on with his life and so has the family. 

But there will always be a little part of the Shanahans that will revel in beating the Redskins. Mike Shanahan doesn’t get the game ball if they’ve totally moved on. They never felt everyone was on the same page during their tenure here. The issues with drafting and developing Robert Griffin III are well told at this point. 

The Shanahans certainly deserve a fair share of criticism for what happened in Washington. The overall record was 24-41, including that lone playoff loss to Seattle in 2012, and a change had to be made by owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen. Things had turned toxic by the end - even if the staff had three future NFL head coaches as assistants. 

But each Shanahan has had success in other places during their careers as NFL coaches, and Kyle is riding high now with a talented young team that hasn’t lost yet. At 1-6, with yet another coach fired and more change on the horizon, the Redskins remain lost in the wilderness. 

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