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Gruden: Win over the Packers meant a little more than usual

Gruden: Win over the Packers meant a little more than usual

Last January Green Bay came to FedEx Field and eliminated the Redskins from the playoffs. On Sunday the Packers returned to Landover.

There are usually two views of a game like this. For some fans and media it is a “revenge” game, offering a chance for the losing team to get redemption. For the players and coaches, however, it is just another game, one of 16, no more important than any other.

But talking about his team’s 42-24 win over the Packers on on Sunday night, Jay Gruden admitted that, yes, this one may have meant just a little bit more than just one of 16.

Kirk Cousins strongly suggested that beating the Packers was sweet—or, at least, not sour.

"As a competitor, we certainly had a sour taste in our mouth walking away from the game last season,” Cousins said after the game. “When we watched the film, we felt like there were plays to be made that didn’t get made. I think tonight you saw what we felt we were capable of doing last January and just didn’t get it done. We’re all competitors so we all came into this game with a bit of a sour taste in our mouths and a chip on our shoulder with a desire to prove ourselves.”

Last night they made the plays and the chip came off. And Gruden admitted that, yes, perhaps it was more than just another game. In fact, the win could be a launching pad for future success.

“Yeah, a little bit, I think so,” Gruden said when asked if this win meant more than some others. “Being able to hit those plays . . . we left some plays out on the table that we wished we had back and we just didn’t convert on them. When we do convert on them, we’re a tough team to beat. It’s good to hit them. It’s good for the confidence of these guys running these routes down the field to be rewarded with big plays. Now in weeks to come, we call these same similar-type concepts we’ll be flying.”

To be sure, the win does not negate the fact that the Redskins went one and done in the 2015 playoffs due to Packers coming into their place and beating them. While the win on Sunday may help the Redskins get into the 2016 playoffs the game pales in comparison to the playoff game. But that was then and this is now and if the win gives the team some added confidence going forward then breaking the “all games a created equal” mantra will be worth it.

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Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

Jamison Crowder's performance vs. Washington reminded the Redskins just exactly what they're missing

FEDEX FIELD -- There's an age-old saying, 'there's no place like home.'

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder called FedEx Field home for four seasons but departed this past offseason for New York on a lucrative three-year, $28.5 million deal. At the time, letting Crowder walk did not seem like a big deal for Washington. His final season with the Burgundy and Gold was injury-shortened and unproductive, and the price tag seemed a little steep for a slot receiver.

On Sunday, Crowder returned to Washington for the first time as a visitor, and he certainly felt right back at home. The 26-year-old receiver finished with five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' 34-17 victory over Washington, a game that was not really close at all.

"It means a lot. Great team win," Crowder said on the victory. "Just to come back here to FedEx [Field] against the Redskins, for me, it's a great feeling. I'm just glad to be winning."

In his first year sporting green and white instead of burgundy and gold, the slot receiver has been a valuable asset for second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. Through 10 games, Crowder has recorded 53 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns with a 73.8 percent catch rate. He's on pace for 85 catches and just under 900 yards on the season, both of which would be career highs. 

"Crowder did a great job of making catches when [he] needed to," Jets running back Le'Veon Bell said. 

Meanwhile, his former team has struggled mightily on offense, especially over the last month of the season. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins' 45-yard touchdown pass to Derrius Guice snapped a 16 quarter touchdown-less streak Washington had been on. That's four full games without a touchdown. The streak was the longest of such in nearly two decades.

Crowder, who played in a relatively high-scoring offense during his time in Washington, was asked whether he was surprised about the team's struggles. 

"I don't know. I haven't really thought about it much," Crowder said. "I think they have a really good ball team over there across the board. Especially on defense, they have a lot of guys that are really good. Offensively, they got a lot of guys that make plays, young guys that make plays. I haven't really thought about what's going on with them."

With Crowder's departure, the Redskins expected second-year receiver Trey Quinn to fill the void. Quinn has been unproductive and disappointing. He finished Sunday's contest with just two catches for nine yards, an unacceptable performance from someone who Washington counted on to make a leap in 2019. In 10 games, Quinn has a total of 198 receiving yards, with no more than 36 yards in any contest. 

Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin's emergence as the Redskins No. 1 wide receiver has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise lost season for Washington, but even his production doesn't match Crowder's. 

Crowder was certainly happy to defeat his old team but downplayed having any extra juice entering the matchup.

"There wasn't any extra motivation. I just approached it as another game," Crowder said. "It was just a little different going against the guys that I played four years with. I'm familiar with a lot of guys over there. For me, that's the only thing. For my preparation, I just approached it as another game."

Crowder may have seen Sunday as just another game, but the Redskins should look at his performance and see a player they maybe should have kept.


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In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

In a blowout, Dwayne Haskins and Derrius Guice connect for a meaningful touchdown

Getting blown out by the New York Jets, one would think that any touchdown the Redskins would potentially score when trailing 34-3 would mean nothing. In most cases, that would be correct.

But when Dwayne Haskins connected with Derrius Guice for a 45-yard score, it was actually a very notable touchdown.

The touchdown is important for multiple reasons. One being that it is Haskins' first NFL touchdown. Making his first home start, the quarterback didn't have the performance many would have hoped for. But, he does now have one touchdown.

While it was the first for Haskins, it was also the first for Guice. The second-year running back who has missed a lot of time with injuries returned for the Week 11 battle and show the playmaking ability that has many excited to see him on the field.

Last, but definitely not least, the score put an end to the horrid touchdown-drought the Redskins had been in. Before Guice crossed the goal line, Washington hadn't scored in 16 quarters. Yes, that is the equivalent to four games.

But alas, the Redskins have a touchdown and so do Haskins and Guice. Sunday was a disappointing day, but at least there was this moment.