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Redskins keep playoff hopes alive as they eke out win over Eagles

Redskins keep playoff hopes alive as they eke out win over Eagles

PHILADELPHIA— The Redskins can’t do anything the easy way. They went into Lincoln Financial Field, fell behind early, got a rally together and took the lead. But Kirk Cousins threw a pick six in the fourth quarter and things got interesting.

But they were able to hang on and escape Lincoln Financial Field with a 27-22 win that keeps them squarely in the middle of the NFC playoff picture. The winning score came on a 25-yard Chris Thompson touchdown run with 1:53 left.

The key plays were an 80-yard touchdown bomb from Cousins to DeSean Jackson and a botched snap on an Eagles field goal attempt that set up another Redskins touchdown. Those scores turned a 13-7 deficit into a 21-13 lead late in the third quarter.

[MORE: Cousins sets new franchise passing mark]

But then Cousins threw a sideline pass that Leodis McKelvin picked off and returned 29 yards. It was a two-point game after the two-point pass fell incomplete.

The Eagles, however, got the ball back and drove for a field goal that put them up by a point.

It was the Redskins’ turned to respond. A 33-yard pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder was called incomplete but a successful replay challenge overturned it. A few plays later it was fourth and one and Cousins picked it up with a six-yard pass to the 29. Two plays later Cousins pitched to Chris Thompson and he picked his way through the defense for 25 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles had a last chance to take the win with a late drive. They moved into Washington territory at the 14 but Ryan Kerrigan saved the day with a sack and strip of Wentz. Trent Murphy recovered and the Redskins just had to kneel down once.

The Redskins are 7-5-1 and they host the Panthers next Monday night.

Injury Updates:

LB Su’a Cravens left the game in the first quarter with a bicep injury; his return was listed as questionable. He did not return to the game.

ILB Will Compton left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, he was announced as out for the game.

RB Mack Brown left the game in the third quarter with a concussion.

Scoring drives:  

First quarter           

FG Sturgis 45

Drive: 10 plays, 46 yards, 5:14

Drive summary: The Eagles took the opening kickoff and moved right in for the score. A pass from Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz picked up 13 yards and then Wentz converted a third and six on a 10-yard pass to Jordan Matthews. They worked their way down to a third and three the 27 before  then Ryan Kerrigan pressured Wentz into an incompletions. Sturgis came in a kicked the field goal.

Eagles 3, Redskins 0 9:46

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Second quarter

FG Sturgis 36

Drive: 10 plays, 53 yards, 5:36

Drive summary: The Eagles got the ball after a missed Dustin Hopkins field goal. The eked out a first down with a two-yard gain on third and two and then Wentz launched a 29-yard strike to Zach Ertz for a first down at the Washington 32. The Eagles were lined up to go for it on fourth and three but after a false start Sturgis came on the field and kicked the tree-pointer.

Eagles 6, Redskins 0

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Kelley 22 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 10 plays, 69 yards, 6:18

Drive summary: The Redskins finally scratched the scoreboard with a second-quarter drive. Cousins got the initial first down with a one-yard run on an option play then he passed to Rob Kelley for 11 and to Jordan Reed for 10. Kelley converted a third and one with a five-yard run and then on the next play he popped a 22-yard run off of left tackle into the end zone.

Redskins 7, Eagles 6 4:11

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Sproles 4 pass from Wentz (Sturgis kick)

Drive: 12 plays, 77 yards, 3:43

Drive summary: The Eagles answered the Redskins’ score with a late drive. Wentz went to Jordan Matthews for 14 and then he converted a third and nine with a 16-yard pass to Trey Burton. That put them in Redskins territory at the 43. On third and three at the 36 Wentz threw to Paul Turner for 16 yards. A third-down pass to Burton set up a first and goal at the four. On the next play Wentz threw to Darren Sproles for the touchdown.

Eagles 13, Redskins 7

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Third quarter

Jackson 80 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 2 plays, 81 yards, 0:43

Drive summary: On the second play of their drive Cousins launched a deep pass to DeSean Jackson. Like few others can he tracked the ball down shook the defender, and ran the last 30 yards into the end zone.

Redskins 14, Eagles 13 9:14

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Cousins 15 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 54 yards, 3:14

Drive summary: The Redskins got good field position after the Eagles botched a field goal snap. Starting from their own 46, Cousins went to DeSean Jackson for 21 yards. The receiver made a tiptoe catch on the sideline and the catch survived replay review. Then it was Rob Kelley catching a pass for 14 and then running for 10 for first and goal at the nine. A penalty pushed them back but on second down at the 15 Cousins lofted a pass to Garçon in the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

Redskins 21, Eagles 13

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Fourth quarter

McKelvin 29 interception return (pass failed)

Drive: --

Drive summary: Kirk Cousins tried to go to DeSean Jackson on the sideline but McKelvin jumped the route and streaked down the sideline for 29 yards and the touchdown

Redskins 21, Eagles 19

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Cousins 1 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 11 plays, 37 yards, 6:28

Drive summary: The Eagles got a jump-start on their drive thanks to a personal foul penalty on Deshazor Everett that set up the start of the drive at their own 40. They converted a third and seven on a 14-yard pass from Wentz to Ertz and then Wentz snuck to pick up a fourth and one. They faced another fourth and one at the 24 and this time they kicked the go-ahead field goal with just under five minutes left.

Eagles 22, Redskins 21 4:59

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Thompson 25 run (pass failed)

Drive: 8 plays, 77 yards, 3:06

Drive summary: The Redskins responded to the Eagles’ score. It started with what was originally called an incomplete pass but replay overturned it and it turned into a 33-yard pass from Cousins to Crowder. A few plays later it was fourth and one at the 35. They picked it up with Cousins to Garçon for six yards. Two plays later Cousins pitched to Chris Thompson and he picked his way through the defense for 25 yards and a touchdown.

Redskins 27, Eagles 22

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Gallery: NFL WEEK 14: REDSKINS 27, EAGLES 22​ 

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Experiences at stadiums and arenas will be different when sports return

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Experiences at stadiums and arenas will be different when sports return

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The smell of barbecue wafts through the parking lots hours before kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium, and when the first salvo of fireworks explode overhead, thousands of Chiefs fans begin to march en masse toward the entrance gates.

That's how things normally are on an NFL game day in Kansas City.

But these days, very little is normal, and like so many things in life the football season ahead is rife with uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic that brought sports to a standstill for months has everyone wondering what games will be like when spectators are finally allowed back in -- and whether they will even want to show up.

The changes will be big and small, temporary and long-lasting.

Fans could have their every move scrutinized by cameras and lasers. There might be nobody in the next seat to high-five after a touchdown. The idea of passing cash to a beer vendor between innings will be a memory. Temperature screenings and medical checks could be mandatory to get in. By having virtual tickets scanned on their smart phones, fans could be acknowledging the health risk of attending a game while surrendering some of their personal privacy.

It all begs the question: Will fans be able to have any fun?

"There's a wealth of unanticipated casualties, I guess, that are going to be part of this, things we all took for granted as part of the live game-day experience," explained Nate Appleman, director of the sports, recreation and entertainment practice for Kansas City-based architectural firm HOK. "Some things we have yet to fathom but will become painfully clear once we are allowed back into venues and get back to truly human nature, which is to gather and celebrate community."

Some leagues are returning with few or no fans, including soccer in Germany, stock car racing in the U.S. and baseball in Japan. But as sports ramp up, The Associated Press found during interviews with more than two dozen experts in stadium design and infrastructure that the only thing that might look the same is what happens on the field of play.

The biggest short-term change will be social distancing, something that already has become a fact of everyday life. Ticket sales will be capped. Entire rows and sections will be blocked off. Seats on the aisle will be left open to maintain a buffer from those walking up the stairs. Fans will be given an entrance time to prevent crowding at the gates. Lines at restrooms and concessions will be limited. Congregating in the corridors will no longer be allowed.

The college football season is still some three months away, yet Iowa State anticipates capacity at Jack Trice Stadium will be cut in half based on "current guidelines established by state and local officials" -- roughly the number of fans that have purchased season tickets. At Kansas, athletic director Jeff Long said the Jayhawks have planned for some 16,000 fans in Memorial Stadium this fall -- about a third of official capacity.

Several NFL teams, including Miami and New Orleans, are modeling for reduced capacities this season. It will no doubt look different for fans in the stadium, not to mention the millions that will tune in on TV.

"There's the old saying, `Necessity is the mother of invention.' I would say we're in a heightened situation of necessity right now," Appleman said. "There are a lot of really smart people coming up with really cool initiatives that could just be a new way of doing things, and new isn't always bad. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes we have to adapt."

Indeed, such plans bring both hope and fear: hope that some fans will be able to see their favorite teams live and fear that colleges and leagues such as Major League Soccer that rely heavily on ticket sales will be able to make ends meet.

To help fill some of those gaps -- both optically and financially -- many facility operators have been exploring options with firms such as Arizona-based Bluemedia, which designs and produces screens that can cover large swaths of seats. Such screens already are used when arenas want to cap capacity or create more intimate settings, but Bluemedia vice president R.J. Orr said those same products can present sponsorship and marketing opportunities.

"Of course they can sell advertising," Orr said, "but there are many ways to get creative. What if a ticket-sales guy went out to season-ticket holders and you can upload a photo and we can put your image in the stands? We're trying to come up with a bunch of cool ideas that may work."

Other companies also are tailoring products to help with social distancing and crowd control.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, already has cashless systems in place for merchandise and concessions. Several professional teams are in talks with motion analytics company inside, whose SafeDistance system uses lasers to map spaces and measure crowd density. At KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, a company called WaitTime utilizes an app to tell Sabres fans how long lines are at restrooms and concessions.

"We have a great opportunity to rewrite the new normal for the return of sports," WaitTime founder Zack Klima said.

It all sounds a bit Orwellian -- like Big Brother is very much watching. And such systems do dance a fine line between informative and intrusive. But they also could help mitigate the spread of a virus, and that could make the difference between having Michigan Stadium empty on a fall Saturday or having 100,000 fans rooting on the Wolverines again.

Not everything will be as overt as barren concourses and empty seats, either. Most of the changes that colleges and teams are implementing will go unnoticed by those who settle in for the kickoff or first pitch.

Premier League club Tottenham recently opened its new London stadium after spending millions to create more than 1,600 WiFi access points and 700 Bluetooth beacons, ensuring fans are able to utilize crowd-density apps and other technology. Many facilities are upgrading heating, cooling and ventilation systems to scrub air as it circulates through their buildings, while others are toying with the use of QR codes to monitor the health of their patrons.

"We're extrapolating off these trends that have already existed, and I think we're going to kick-start into 2025 even though it's only 2020," said Jason Jennings, director of strategy and digital integration for the sports and entertainment group at Mortenson, which is wrapping construction on the Raiders' new $2.4 billion stadium in Las Vegas. "The technology is going to be deployed much faster because of the value it has for the fan experience and public health."

Even the way facilities are cleaned will change. No longer will hosing down seats and sweeping up trash left by fans be enough. Venue giant ASM Global recently announced a new hygiene protocol for its 325 facilities worldwide, noting the importance of hewing to international health recommendations from the likes of the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Few professional teams have been willing to divulge their reopening strategies, whether that be potential seating layouts or infrastructure upgrades. The rapidly changing social and political environment coupled with the unpredictable nature of the virus have made planning difficult. But the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium recently committed to being the first public facility to receive a STAR rating from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, which involves completing a rigorous program to help provide what Dolphins chief executive Tom Garfinkel "the safest environment possible."

Of course, even that might not be enough. While much remains unknown about the novel coronavirus, one fact that is painfully clear is how easily it spreads. No league or team wants their games to become a "super spreader" event, and everyone acknowledges all the preparations in the world cannot guarantee safety.

"In large masses, there is no system that can effectively prevent another person from giving germs to a second individual," said Philip Tierno, clinical professor of pathology at New York University's Grossman School of Medicine. "If they sneeze or cough or talk directly, or even breathe directly on a person, there is no system that can prevent that."

That hasn't stopped sports facilities from spending millions of dollars during the months-long shutdown to minimize the risk. Giving fans some measure of confidence is an investment in the bottom line.

"We will get back to stadiums and watching football, basketball, baseball, etcetera, there is no question," said Ryan Demmer, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. "But it's going to take a little bit of time to do it safely. And that's going to take a little bit of innovation to do it safely in the short-term."

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Ron Rivera explains that working with Terry McLaurin has been a 'treat' thus far

Ron Rivera explains that working with Terry McLaurin has been a 'treat' thus far

Ron Rivera took over as Redskins head coach in early January, tasked with the challenge of turning around a football team that has struggled plenty as of late.

After assembling his staff, one of the first things the new head coach did was have a meeting with them to identify which players on the roster would be a part of the team's "core" as they build for the future. As Rivera explained during an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast during Super Bowl week, it didn't take the head coach long to realize wide receiver Terry McLaurin completely fits the his vision for the future.

On Friday, Rivera was asked by Fox Sports 1's Jay Glazer about the team's wide receiver group heading into the 2020 season. The head coach took that opportunity to rave about his second-year pass-catcher.

"Terry McLaurin's been a treat," Rivera said. "He's been a treat to get to know."

As a rookie in 2019, McLaurin was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise forgetful season for the Redskins. Then wideout finished with a team-high 919 receiving yards, just eight short of breaking Gary Clark's franchise rookie record. Additionally, his seven TD receptions accounted for nearly half of Washington's touchdowns in the passing game.

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Rivera told Glazer that McLaurin reminds the head coach of one of his former wideouts in Carolina: D.J. Moore.

"[McLaurin is] a guy that could be on the verge [of stardom], he really is," Rivera said. "He reminds me so much of a D.J. Moore that we had in Carolina. Just an outstanding young man."

Moore, the Panthers' first-round pick in 2018, had a promising rookie season, but truly emerged as one of the NFL's better wide receivers last season. Moore finished his breakout campaign in 2019 with 87 receptions for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns. The wideout's catch total was good for a top 15 finish, while only eight other receivers had more receiving yards than him last season.

Like McLaurin, Moore also played with three different starting quarterbacks in 2019. What both receivers were able to accomplish a year ago, given their respective quarterback situations, is nothing short of incredible.

The coronavirus pandemic has prevented all NFL teams from having offseason activities, but McLaurin has still found a way to build his connection with his quarterback Dwayne Haskins. McLaurin, along with a pair of other Redskins receivers -- Steven Sims and Kelvin Harmon -- has worked out with Haskins multiple times this offseason, even as recently as this weekend.

"I've got to say, I like the wide receivers," Rivera said.

If Haskins can build off his strong finish to the 2019 season, McLaurin could have an even bigger second-year than Moore did and really establish himself as one of the rising stars in the league.

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