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Needing perfection, Redskins drop chance to win vs Patriots

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Needing perfection, Redskins drop chance to win vs Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA—The Redskins went in to face the undefeated, defending champion Patriots and the result was about what everybody expected. Tom Brady was masterful, the Redskins were stymied on offense, and New England remained unscathed in the loss column with a 27-10 win.

The Redskins had plenty of problems of their own making. Receivers dropped at least half a dozen passes. They missed at least that many tackles. A lot of the miscues came in the early going while the Patriots were pulling out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Kirk Cousins’ numbers did not look good. He completed 22 of 40 for 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Some of it was on him, some of it was on his receivers’ problems with catching the ball. Again, the Redskins could not get their running game going, gaining 37 yards on 15 carries.

Key Play: The key was really a sequence of plays in the first quarter. The Patriots drove for a touchdown on their initial possession and then they recovered a surprise onside kick. They drove into Redskins territory but CB Will Blackmon forced Julian Edelman to fumble and Blackmon himself made the recovery.

The Redskins couldn’t stand the good fortune. On their first play from scrimmage Kirk Cousins fired a pass to Pierre Garçon for what should have been a nice gain. But the ball bounced off of Garçon’s hands and Logan Ryan picked it off, returning it to the Redskins 28. Six plays later LaGarrette Blount powered up the middle for the touchdown. It was 14-0 and the Patriots had established control.

Injury Update:

Chris Baker left the game in the first quarter with a chest injury. He returned to the game shortly after leaving.

LB Keenan Robinson left the game with a stinger in the third quarter. He returned to the game in the fourth quarter.

S Dashon Goldson left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Edelman 8 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick)

Drive: 13 plays, 84 yards, 5:59

Key plays: Two Dion Lews runs for 17 yards for 16 yards got the drive going. On fourth and two from the  Redskins 33, Tom Brady went to Julian Edelman for five yards and a first down. A few plays later Brady went to Edelman in the flat and he dove to get the ball across the goal line.

Patriots 7, Redskins 0 9:01

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Blount 5 run (Gosktowski kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 28 yards, 1:59

Key plays: Right after the Redskins recovered a Patriots fumble, a Kirk Cousins pass bounced off of Pierre Garçon’s hands and was intercepted by Logan Ryan, who returned it to Redskins 28. Brady converted a third and seven with an 11-yard pass to Danny Amendola. A few plays later LaGarrette Blount went up the but for the touchdown.

Patriots 14, Redskins 0

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Second quarter

FG Gostkowski 21

Drive: 10 plays, 61 yards, 5:03

Key plays:

The Patriots started from their own 42 after the Redskins turned it over on downs. Blount ran twice for six and 10 yards to get into Redskins territory. A few plays later, it was Blount again, going up the middle for 14 yards then Brady went to Rob Gronkowski to set up first and goal at the seven. But an illegal formation penalty set them back and they had to settle for the field goal.

Patriots 17, Redskins 0

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FG Hopkins 23

Drive: 16 plays, 75 yards, 7:43

Key plays: The Redskins started with possession on their own 20. On third and seven, Cousins went to Garçon for nine yards. A Matt Jones reception and run got them into Patriots territory. Then it was Cousins to Jamison Crowder for 16 yards down to the 30 A few played later on third and one from the 21, Jones went up the middle for two yards and the first down. On third and goal from the Patriots 13, Cousins went to Andre Roberts for eight yards to the five. They had to settle for the field goal.

Patriots 17, Redskins 3

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Third quarter

FG Gostkowski 20

Drive: 9 plays, 54 yards, 4:28

Key plays: The Patriots got the ball after recovering a Matt Jones fumble at their own 43. On the first play, Blount went up the middle for 13 yards into Redskins territory. A couple of plays later it was Brady to Edelman down to the 18. The moved to a third and goal at the one, but Stephen Paea trapped Blount for a two-yard loss. Gostkowski came in and booted the field goal.

Patriots 20, Redskins 3

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Fourth quarter

Patriots 27, Redskins 3

Key play: Brandon Bolden 18 Yd pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick)

Patriots 27, Redskins 10

Key play: Jordan Reed 3 Yd pass from Kirk Cousins (Dustin Hopkins Kick)

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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

Lost in the fact that Tress Way is having a stellar season is that his fellow specialist, Dustin Hopkins, is getting it done, too.

The Redskins' kicker has made 17 of 19 field goals so far in 2018, giving him an 89.5-percent conversion rate on kicks. Against Carolina, he nailed a career-long 56-yarder, plus he's 17-for-17 on extra points.

But on Tuesday, a report came out saying that Hopkins is "a bit banged up." As of now, the Redskins don't know if they'll have Hopkins or not this weekend vs. the Texans, which is why they worked out five kickers five days before the Houston matchup, per Field Yates.

Among the group of free agents was former 'Skin Kai Forbath, who made 32-of-38 three-pointers for the Vikings in 2017. He was with the Burgundy and Gold from 2012-2014 and also briefly in 2015. 

Washington also reportedly tried out two maligned kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Blair Walsh. 

The Bucs drafted Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft but he flamed out in Tampa and was gone after a single year and poor 2017 preseason. Walsh, meanwhile, hasn't been the same since missing a 27-yard game winning playoff attempt versus Seattle while he was with Minnesota.  

Rounding out the group was Sam Ficken and Jon Brown.

The Redskins have been very reliant on both Hopkins and Way this season, seeing as their offense has had its issues. They've needed Hopkins to cash in on field goals to avoid wasting points and Way to help win the field position battle each week.

For some franchises, losing a kicker for a week or two wouldn't be much of a problem. And while Washington could very well be OK without Hopkins, they'd rather not have to bring in a new foot for any amount of time.

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NFC East Update: The division race is shaping up very well for the Redskins

NFC East Update: The division race is shaping up very well for the Redskins

The Redskins helped themselves in the NFC East division race with a big Week 10 win over the Buccaneers, and then the Cowboys helped their rival out again with a big win in Philadelphia.

With seven games remaining and the NFL calendar starting to get serious about playoff situation and scenarios, the 6-3 Redskins are in the driver's seat in the division. 

"I think the good thing being 6-3, being in first place is we control what we have to control. We don’t have to look at the other teams, we just have to focus on what we do and if we do our job, we don’t have to worry about anything," head coach Jay Gruden said Monday. 

And he's right. The Redskins have built a cushion in the division, and if they keep winning at a .667 clip, nobody can catch them.

Here's the NFC East update:

  1. Washington Redskins (6-3, 2-0) - This team isn't winning pretty, and they certainly don't make many highlight plays on offense, but the Washington formula for victories is working. At +11, the Redskins are 3rd in the NFL in turnover margin and they own a defense that doesn't give up many points. Fans can debate if the offense is too limited, but for now running the ball and playing strong defense is piling up wins. Washington hasn't been 6-3 since 2008. Another large test looms on Sunday when Houston comes to FedEx Field, riding a six-game win streak. Up next: Nov. 18th vs Texans,1 p.m.
  2. Dallas Cowboys (4-5, 2-1) - Things have been a roller coaster in Big D. Two weeks ago it looked like the Cowboys season might spiral out of control after a blowout loss at home to the Titans. Speculation began to mount about the future for head coach Jason Garrett. A week later, after a major win in Philly on Sunday Night Football, Cowboys fans are back focused on the playoffs, not firing their coach. Dallas has built an impressive young defense, though the offensive struggles remain. Similar to the Redskins, Dallas has one of the worst pass games in the NFL but relies on running the football. Up next:  Nov. 18th @ Atlanta, 1 p.m. 
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5, 1-1) - At no point this season have the Eagles looked like the same 2017 juggernaut that won the city's first-ever Super Bowl. Much of that was chalked up to injury, particularly Carson Wentz working back from a knee injury last year, and new parts on defense. The Eagles had a Week 8 bye, made a trade to acquire WR Golden Tate, and were facing the slumping Cowboys in Week 9. All signs pointed to a big Eagles win and the Philly machine getting back on track for the second-half of the 2018 season. Only it didn't happen. The Eagles haven't won two games in a row yet this season, and road games against the Saints and the Rams are still on deck. Up next: Nov. 18th @ New Orleans, 4:25 p.m.
  4. New York Giants (2-7, 0-3) - The Giants doubled their season win total with a road win in San Francisco over the 49ers. It was a good victory, but hardly impressive. The Niners are equally bad and currently starting their 3rd-string QB. Still, Odell Beckham remains optimistic for his New York squad and thinks the team could go on a undefeated streak to close out the season. It's not realistic considering the offensive line and Eli Manning's play at quarterback, but it's a nice theory. The Giants are 0-4 at home and 0-3 in the division. Up Next: Nov. 18th vs Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

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