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The Redskins clinch NFC East title after beating Eagles 38-24

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The Redskins clinch NFC East title after beating Eagles 38-24

PHILADELPHIA— The Redskins overcame some mistakes and some periods of ineffectiveness, poured it on in the second half, and thumped the Eagles 38-24. The win wrapped up the NFC East title for Washington. The will host a playoff game on the weekend of January 9-10.

The Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead but it was all Redskins after that. They scored on touchdown passes from Cousins to Jordan Reed from 12 and 22 yards out and they never looked back.

Kirk Cousins completed 31 of 46 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns. Two of his touchdowns went to Reed and one each were to Chris Thompson and Pierre Garçon.

There were a few odd moments for the Redskins. After the Redskins’ first touchdown Dustin Hopkins missed his first extra point of the year. At the end of the first half, Cousins inexplicably took a knee with the Redskins on the Eagles four yard line, losing a chance for at least three points.

But the Redskins were able to overcome all of their errors and walk off with a win.

Key Play: The Redskins were desperately trying to get a working margin in the third quarter, leading 16-10. They embarked on a touchdown drive that included three third-down conversions. The last one was on third and six at the 12 and Cousins fired a dart to Chris Thompson in the end zone for the touchdown. The

Injury Update:

CB Will Blackmon left the game in the third quarter with a hip injury. He returned to the game.

WR DeSean Jackson left the game in the third quarter with cramps. He returned to the game.

CB Bashaud Breeland left the game in the fourth quarter with cramps.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Mathews 1 run (Sturgis kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 80 yards, 2:52

Key plays: The Eagles got off to a quick start after taking the opening kickoff at their 20. On the first play from scrimmage Bradford found Nelson Agholor for 18 yards and then hit Zach Ertz for 16. They got a hand in the drive when Will Blackmon committed pass interference in the end zone, setting up first and goal at the one. Ryan Mathews powered in on the next play.

Eagles 7, Redskins o

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Reed 22 pass from Cousins (kick failed)

Drive: 5 plays, 69 yards, 2:45

Key plays: The drive got off to a quick start with Cousins going to Pierre Thomas for 13 yards and to Jordan Reed for 28 yards into Eagles territory at the 33. Then it was Cousins to DeSean Jackson for seven yards and a first down at the 22. On the next play, Cousins found Reed again wide open over the middle for 22 yards and the touchdown. Hopkins PAT, however, went wide left and the Redskins still trailed.

Eagles 7, Redskins 6

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Reed 12 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 7 plays, 61 yards, 3:40

Key plays: The Redskins started in good field position at their own 39 after a punt and they moved in quickly for the score. They got into Eagles territory when Cousins hit Jackson over the middle for 15 yards to the Eagles 46. Then on third and five from the 31 it was Cousins to Reed for 19 yards to the 12. On the very next play the same two hooked up for the touchdown.

Redskins 13, Eagles 7

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Second quarter

FG Sturgis 34

Drive: 7 plays, 42 yards, 2:15

Key plays: This was another quick Eagles scoring drive with Bradford utilizing his tight ends. First he went to Zach Ertz for 17 yards and then to Brent Celek for another 17 to the 23. The drive stalled and the Eagles settled for three.

Redskins 13, Eagles 10

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FG Hopkins 28

Drive: 8 plays, 25 yards, 2:18

Key plays: The Redskins got possession after Bashaud Breeland forced a fumble and Dashon Goldson recovered and returned it to the Eagles 35. Alfred Morris ran for a couple of first downs. On third and goal at the 10, Cousins threw incomplete for Garçon in the end zone and Hopkins came in and booted the field goal.

Redskins 16, Eagles 10

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Third quarter

Thompson 12 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 11 plays, 54 yards, 4:05

Key plays: The Redskins had good field position to start but it wasn’t an easy drive. Cousins had to convert a third and 10 with a pass over the middle to Pierre Garçon and then a third and 14 with a pass to Pierre Thomas. They needed one more third down. On third and six at the 12, Cousins fired to Thompson over the middle for the TD.

Redskins 23, Eagles 10

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Murray 4 run (Sturgis kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 52 yards, 2:11

Key plays: The Eagles got the ball at their own 48 after a 49-yard kickoff return. A couple of Demarco Murray runs got them a first down at the 27. Then Bradford went Zach Ertz for 16 yards to the 11. On third and three at the four, Murray went up the middle to the score.

Redskins 23, Eagles 17

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Hall 17 fumble return (Hopkins kick)

Drive: No drive

Key plays: On third and two, Bradford attempted to pitch out to Murray. The ball was juggled, fumbled, and Hall scooped it up and rolled into the end zone.

Redskins 30, Eagles 17

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Fourth quarter

Garçon 13 pass from Cousins (Cousins pass from Crowder)

Drive: 13 plays, 82 yards, 7:44

Key plays: The Redskins got things going on a 25-yard pass from Cousins to Ryan Grant. Then it became the Pierre Thomas show. He ran nine yards for a first down and then caught passes for nine and 14 yards for two more first downs. Then he went up the middle for nine. On third and goal at the 13, Cousins threw a nice fade to Pierre Garçon for 13 yards and the TD.

Redskins 38, Eagles 17

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Matthews 8 pass from Bradford (Sturgis kick)

Drive: 13 plays, 80 yards, 4:21

Key plays: The Eagles got a desperation drive going, converting two fourth downsa long the way. The final strike came from Bradford to Matthews, who just got over the goal line at the pylon for the score.

Redskins 38, Eagles 24

 

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Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

Reuben Foster's season-ending injury hurts the Redskins from a contract perspective, too

There are a lot of questions stemming from Reuben Foster's injury at Redskins OTAs, which looks to be a season-ending one.

Where does Foster, whose career has really yet to take off due to other injuries as well as numerous off-field troubles, go from here? What are Washington's options at inside linebacker now, since they were counting on him to produce?

And then there's this: How does Foster missing this year affect his contract with the 'Skins?

The answer, according to salary cap expert J.I. Halsell, is not much.

"When a contract tolls, that means basically the pause button is pushed and whatever you were supposed to make in 2019 carries over to 2020. That's not the case for Reuben Foster," Halsell said Tuesday while on the Redskins Talk podcast.

"Reuben Foster will earn his $1.29 million salary regardless of if he plays this season or not. While he'll probably spend his entire season on injured reserve, he'll make his $1.29 million in 2019."

Essentially, everything proceeds as normal. And that in and of itself is a decent setback for the organization.

One of the reasons the Redskins dealt with the controversy and backlash when they claimed Foster last November was because they were adding a first-round talent on his rookie contract. The team was hoping they could secure two years of elite play out of him at a bargain price, and then potentially exercise the fifth-year option on him to keep him in D.C. through 2021.

Now, however, they're losing one of those precious seasons and will have to make that decision on his fifth-year option next offseason without any tape or experience to really base that decision on. That's an important choice, and one that will carry significant financial implications as well.

"The fifth-year option for the 2021 season will be pretty expensive," Halsell said. "The long and short of it is it's going to be a lucrative dollar amount and given his injury history, his current injury, you would think that when they have to make that decision by the 2020 Draft, they will decline that option."

Haslell's right. The likelihood of the Burgundy and Gold committing big money to a guy with literally one rep in their uniform — and it's not like he was proven for the 49ers, as a linebacker or as a person, either — feels unbelievably slim. 

Yet — and now we're looking pretty far down the line — if he is able to return from this injury and contribute in 2020, the franchise could still look to keep him beyond that. There's a ton of time between now and then, but it's certainly possible.

"Theoretically, even though you don't have the fifth-year option for 2021, you can work on a contract extension for Reuben Foster assuming he comes back to full health," Haslell explained.

Still, not only does the injury hurt the player as well as the unit the player was going to start on, but it limits the team's potential payoff from claiming the player. The situation, from every angle, is an unfortunate one. 

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NFL revamping players' pain management and prevention programs

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USA TODAY Sports Imahes

NFL revamping players' pain management and prevention programs

NEW YORK -- The NFL and the players' union have two new agreements to address player health in the areas of pain management/prescription medications, and behavior well-being.

The joint agreements, announced Monday, are designed to lead to advancement and understanding of dealing with pain and to improve potential treatments. The league and union also will add to programs already established in education, prevention, and overall behavioral health throughout the league.

"I was hired two years ago and when I was hired I was asked about areas of concern," said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's medical chief. "And I said these were two areas I saw from my knowledge of someone taking care of athletes for over two decades. I felt a real need there."

"We've been working together with the players' union to come up with something that would work proactively for both. We have the same goal, to take care of the whole player and in a holistic way, and to focus on prevention."

Among the stipulations in the pain management area will be formation of a committee of medical experts appointed by the league and union that will establish uniform standards for club practices and policies in pain management and the use of prescription medication by players. The committee also will conduct research concerning pain management and alternative therapies.

That committee will receive periodic reports from a newly developed prescription drug monitoring program that will monitor all prescriptions issued to NFL players by club physicians and unaffiliated physicians.

Each NFL club must appoint and pay for a pain management specialist before next season.

All this builds on the programs in place.

"We've had an electronically submitted health record for each club in place for a number of years," Sills said. "Medical providers enter the prescriptions they have given to the players. Periodically, our medical advisory committee and the NFL Physicians Society would issue white paper guidelines around strategies. The important change here is obviously it creates a committee tasked with overseeing our educational efforts -- the best practices around pain management."

All 32 teams now must retain by the start of training camp a behavioral health team clinician focused on supporting players' emotional and mental health and well-being. The old bromide of "toughing it out" when someone has such issues has long been discarded, Sills said.

"This is not novel to the NFL or to sports," Sills added. "It applies across all levels of society at all age groups and walks of life, and we know these are issues we need to address."

While the NFL and NFLPA have had previous joint programs in these health areas, Sills and NFLPA President Eric Winston note these initiatives are a major step forward in medical care.

"These agreements are positive developments for our membership as they will provide new and important resources to help players and their families," Winston said. "Our union has always advocated for advancements in health and safety and we think this work with the NFL is another important step to improve care for NFL players."

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