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Gruden wants the Redskins to be able to rally

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Gruden wants the Redskins to be able to rally

Jay Gruden wants to see his team become more resilient. He has seen the Redskins fall behind time and time again and they have not rallied to even make the game close in most cases, much less pick up wins.

“We haven’t figured it out yet since I’ve been here,” said Gruden. “I don’t know if we’ve had a come-from-behind victory yet. We may have, I can’t remember.”

Let’s take a look. It won’t take long since the team has only won five games since Gruden has been here. They never trailed the Rams in their win this year and they were not behind the Jaguars or Cowboys at any point last year. They trailed by three in the second quarter in their Week 15 win over the Eagles and they were behind by four points at halftime against the Titans and again by a point in the fourth quarter before winning by two at the final gun.

But it’s hard to blame just Gruden for whatever is missing in the team’s makeup that keeps them from being able to come back. Going back to 2008, the Redskins have won just two games that they trailed by 14 points at the end of the first quarter; at Philadelphia in 2008 and at Oakland in 2013. In that same time frame they have trailed by seven points or more going into the fourth quarter 40 times; they have rallied to win just two of those.

In contrast, in the last two weeks the Atlanta Falcons have rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter and 11 down at halftime to win on the road.

“It’s very important for us to be resilient. We preach it all the time,” said Gruden. “When you play in the National Football League, you’re going to have your good plays and your bad plays, your good series and your bad series, your good quarters and your bad quarters, your good halves and your bad halves, your good games and your bad games. How you bounce back from these down moments is how you are as a person, as a team. We have to be mentally tough. We have to understand that we’re all fighting together, fighting with each other.”

It’s a chicken-or-egg dilemma here. Would leading games wire to wire on a consistent basis is something that should come first, giving the team the confidence to come from behind? Or would rallying to pull off an improbable win or two develop winning habits?

One way or the other, the Redskins need to solve the formula. 

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Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the FedEx Field end zones ditched their usual gold trim for some pink instead. As it turns out, burgundy and pink go quite well together.

The reason for the change was to celebrate the Redskins Breast Cancer Awareness game as well as the 20th anniversary of Tanya Snyder's THINK-PINK! campaign.

Mrs. Snyder started the movement two decades ago by passing out 8,000 handmade pink ribbons at the team's stadium meant to remind people that early detection of breast cancer can make a major difference.

Now, her campaign has gone league-wide and is the reason you see so many players wearing pink in October, fans waving pink towels in the stands and other awareness-raising initiatives throughout the NFL.

"Very, very, very proud," Snyder said while handing out ribbons before the Washington-Carolina game. "We're not finished, but we are making a difference with early detection. So I'm beaming." 

For more information on Snyder and the NFL's breast cancer efforts, head to redskins.com/thinkpink. And for more details about the events held at FedEx Field during Week 6, check out the video above.

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Redskins need a winning streak to convince legion of skeptics

Redskins need a winning streak to convince legion of skeptics

If you want to, you can find plenty of things wrong with the Redskins’ 23-17 win over the Panthers. The home team was up 17-0 in the second quarter and yet had to hang on as the Panthers reached the red zone with a chance to win in the last minute. The game got tight because the Redskins continued their second-half scoring problems, putting up just six points. Alex Smith passed for just 153 yards. 

But you can’t poke holes in the fact that the Redskins are 3-2 and in first place in the NFC East. Sure, there is a long way to go. But consider this—a Redskins schedule that looked rough at the beginning of the season doesn’t look quite as tough. In fact, right now the Redskins have a better winning percentage than any team they will play in their remaining 11 games. 

Yes, that’s right. They have six games to play in the division, two each against the Cowboys and Eagles, both now 3-3, and the 1-5 Giants. Their two remaining games against the NFC South are against the 2-3 Bucs and the 2-4 Falcons. The schedule is rounded out with games against three AFC South teams, the Titans, Texans, and Jaguars. All three of those teams are tied atop the division at 3-3. 

Of course, you can’t expect all of these teams to still be wallowing around .500 when they face the Redskins. It looks like the Eagles and Falcons are on the upswing and in today’s NFL any team can get hot at any time. 

And, as the Redskins demonstrated in their Week 2 loss to the Colts, they are capable of losing to a weak team. They still have plenty of issues they have to correct if they plan on maintaining their winning record and staying in contention for the division title. They won’t survive if they continue to have difficulty scoring in the second half (their only second-half TD this season came in garbage time against the Saints). They need to get more sacks from Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, who have one combined. Plenty of details need to be ironed out. 

But the fact that they are a flawed team doesn’t take away from the fact that they got a quality win over the Panthers. Carolina was 3-1, coming off of an 11-5 playoff season. On top of that, the Redskins had not beaten the Panthers since 2006, a stretch that included an 0-4 record against Cam Newton. They didn’t commit a turnover for the first time this year and they got a season-high three takeaways. Christian McCaffrey came into the game averaging 83 yards per game and left it averaging 70 after picking up 20 yards on eight carries. 

With all of that said, the Redskins still have to overcome their inconsistency. They have won two games in a row just twice since the beginning of the 2017 season. Nobody is going to believe that anything is different about the Redskins until they can string together three or four wins in a row. Until then, skepticism will abound. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler is locked into the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler