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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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10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

10 Questions in 10 Days: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact. 

Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.

So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field. 

DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)

That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve. 

Can Guice do that?

The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game. 

The bigger key is opportunities. 

How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.

If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too. 

Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games. 

Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.

One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December. 

The line can't be that beat up again, right?

Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018. 

One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight. 

The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

#REDSKINSTALK PODCAST

Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

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

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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