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Need to Know: Redskins, Rams headed in opposite directions

Need to Know: Redskins, Rams headed in opposite directions

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 3, four days before the Washington Redskins play the St. Louis Rams at FedEx Field.

Three and out—First look at Redskins vs. Rams

1. After Week 8 the Redskins were 3-5 and coming off of a big Monday night win in Dallas. They had the Vikings and Bucs coming up on their schedule and a .500 record going into the stretch seemed to be possible. In Week 8 the Rams lost to the Chiefs 34-7 to fall to 2-5. They had the 49ers, Cardinals, and Broncos coming up on their schedule and it looked like they were headed for a free fall to the end of their season.

2. But we’re now in Week 14 and the Rams are 2.5-point favorites to beat the Redskins at FedEx Field. St. Louis beat the 49ers and Broncos and will come to Washington fresh off of a 52-0 pasting of the Raiders. After posting just one sack in their first five games they have 22 in their last five. The Redskins, meanwhile, haven’t won since that night in Dallas and are in a free fall.

3. This will be a battle of journeyman quarterbacks with Shaun Hill, 34 and on his fourth NFL team facing Colt McCoy, 28 and on his third team. Hill had not started a game since 2010 when he was thrust into the lineup after Sam Bradford went out for the season with an injury; McCoy went from 2011 until that Monday night game in Dallas without a start. Both started this year and then stepped aside for a while. Hill was injured and then when he was healthy Jeff Fisher decided to stick with Austin Davis. McCoy yielded to Robert Griffin III for three games before Jay Gruden decided to sit Griffin down and return to McCoy.

Out: The Rams saga over the last five weeks just goes to show you that things can take unexpected turns during the course of an NFL season. At the end of October nobody thought that that the Rams had any chance at beating the 49ers and Broncos (although they had beaten the Seahawks, that game had the feel of a fluke). I don’t think that the Redskins can suddenly get it together and win, say, three out of their last four. Nobody does and they probably won’t. But just when you think you have everything figured out, strange things happen.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Colt McCoy news conference 11:30; Practice 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and open locker room after practice, approx. 3:00

Days until: Rams @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Giants 11; 2015 NFL Draft 148

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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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.

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