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Redskins' playoff hopes still alive after comfortable win over Bears

Redskins' playoff hopes still alive after comfortable win over Bears

CHICAGO—The Redskins came into Soldier Field in desperate need of a win and they played like it. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, intercepted Bears quarterback Matt Barkley five times, and rolled over the Bears by a score of 41-21.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins bounced back for a shaky performance last Monday night against the Panthers. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for two scores.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Redskins ran the ball well, picking up 208 yards on the ground. It was their best game running the ball in since they rushed for 230 yards in their Week 6 win over the Eagles.

DeSean Jackson was Cousins’ favorite target in the first half with five receptions for 114 yards. He left the game early in the third quarter with a jaw injury and did not return. Check back here for updates on Jackson’s status.

Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland had two interceptions each and Will Blackmon had the other one. The Redskins got 13 points off of the turnovers.

At 8-6-1, the Redskins will still be alive in the playoff race going into next Sunday’s game against the Giants at FedEx Field. They will need help but after today’s game they are very much in the picture.

Injury Updates:

RB Rob Kelley left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury. His return was announced as questionable. He returned to the game in the third quarter.

CB Bashaud Breeland left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter. His return was announced as questionable. He returned to the game later in the third.

WR DeSean Jackson left the game in the third quarter with a jaw injury. His return was announced as questionable.

S Donte Whitner left the game in the fourth quarter with a quad injury.

Scoring drives:  

First quarter           

Thompson 7 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 65 yards, 3:35

Drive summary: The Redskins got moving on their second possession with Rob Kelly runs of five and eight yards and then Kirk Cousins passes to Pierre Garçon for 16 and DeSean Jackson for 21 got a first down in the red zone at the Chicago 15. On third and two at the seven Chris Thompson popped up the middle and into the end zone for the score.

Redskins 7, Bears 0 7:43

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Thompson 17 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 2:25

Drive summary: The Redskins got started with a Cousins pass over the middle to Jackson. The receiver tucked in and raced for 57 yards to the Chicago 18. On third and nine at the 17 Cousins flipped a screen pass to Thompson and he followed his blocking and ran into the end zone.

Redskins 14, Bears 0 0:57

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Second quarter      

FG Hopkins 29

Drive: 9 plays, 88 yards. 4:40

Drive summary: The Redskins started in a hole at their own one yard line after a Bashaud Breeland interception but they got out of it quickly with a pass from Cousins to Garçon for 45 yards. A few plays later on third and one Cousins went deep to Garçon for 46 yards to the Chicago 16. On third and seven, Cousins’ pass to Jackson was short of the sticks and Hopkins came in to extend the Redskins’ lead.

Redskins 17, Bears 0 10:07

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Langford 1 run (Barth kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:47

Drive summary: The Bears converted a third and seven with a nine-yard pass from Barkley to Alshon Jeffery to start the drive. On the next play Jordan Howard ran for 13 yards and then 15 more were tacked on for a horse collar tackle. That got the Bears a first down in Redskins territory at the 35. On third and eight at the 33 Barkley fired to Cameron Meredith over the middle for 32 yards to the one. On the next play Jeremy Langford powered up the middle for the touchdown.

Redskins 17, Bears 7  6:20

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Cousins 9 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 9 plays, 91 yards, 4:39

Drive summary: The Redskins got a couple of third and long conversions of their own to jump-start this drive. On third and 10 from the nine, Cousins went over the middle to Jackson for 29 yards. A few plays later on third and 11 Jackson drew a pass interference flag that move the ball into Bears territory at the 35. Two Kelley runs gained a total of 11 yards for another first down. Then Kelley found room up the middle for 15 yards for a first and goal at the nine. On the next play Cousins ran a read option around right end for the touchdown.

Redskins 24, Bears 7

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Meredith 21 pass from Barkley (Barth kick)

Drive: 4 plays, 75 yards, 1:07

Drive summary: The Bears got a quick drive after getting possession in the last two minutes. Barkley went deep to Jeffery for 37 yards to the Redskins 21. On the next play Barkley found Meredith open in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

Redskins 24, Bears 14 0:34

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Third quarter               

Cousins 1 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 13 plays, 55 yards, 6:37

Drive summary: The Redskins got good field position at their own 45 after a Josh Norman interception. On third and six, Cousins scrambled for eight yards and a first down at the Chicago 43. On third and one, Kelley fought for a yard and was awarded the first down after a measurement. A few plays later on third and five at the 28 Cousins scrambled around in the pocket and found Vernon Davis near the sideline for 13 yards and a first down at the 15. On third and two at the seven, Kelley was stuffed for no gain but a hands to the face penalty gave the Redskins a first and goal at the three. Two plays later Cousins snuck in for the touchdown.

Redskins 31, Bears 14

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Fourth quarter

FG Hopkins 20

Drive: 4 plays, 8 yards, 1:43

Drive summary: Will Blackmon got the Redskins’ fourth interception of the game and returned it 79 yards to the Chicago nine. On third and goal at the one Cousins threw incomplete and Hopkins came in and kicked the short field goal.

Redskins 34, Bears 14

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Thompson 3 pass from Barkley (Barth

Drive: 11 plays, 85 yards, 5:05

Drive summary: The Bears got a late, window dressing scoring drive, using Jordan Howard’s running and Barkley’s passing to a first down at the Redskins 33. Barkley the went to Meredith for 17 yards and then to Jeffery for 14 yards to the three. On the next play Barkley went to Deonte Thompson for the score.

Redskins 34, Bears 21 1:21

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Brown 61 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 67 yards, 0:24

Drive summary: The Redskins were just trying to run out the clock when Mack Brown went up the middle, burst into daylight, and motored 61 yards into the end zone.

Redskins 41, Bears 21 0:57

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There's reason for excitement about Trey Quinn, and the numbers back it up

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There's reason for excitement about Trey Quinn, and the numbers back it up

No Redskins receiver caught more than 45 passes last season, and the team lost their steadiest wideout of the last two years when Jamison Crowder signed with the Jets in free agency. 

Even with that, the Redskins coaching staff remains bullish on the team's pass catchers for this season, and second-year pro Trey Quinn is a big reason why.

Last season as a seventh-round rookie, Quinn made the team after showing great hands and a consistent ability to get separation from defenders. Listed at 6-foot and 200 pounds, Quinn is a natural slot receiver in the NFL, but last year, that role very clearly belonged to Crowder. 

With Crowder gone, that role has changed.

"Trey Quinn has taken over the inside slot role," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said during minicamp. 
"He’s confident, he’s quick, he’s got strong hands, he’s physical, [and] he’s tough," 

The toughness will be key, as Quinn twice landed on the injured reserve list in his rookie season. He played in just three games last year but made an impact when he was on the field, grabbing nine catches and scoring a touchdown in Dallas. 

Looking at Crowder's production over the last four seasons, Quinn will get lots of opportunities.

In four seasons with the Redskins, Crowder played in 56 games and averaged 5.8 targets per game. He averaged about 12 yards-per-catch in Washington, and was good for 60+ catches per season in his first three years with the 'Skins before injuries limited Crowder to just nine games in 2018. That's a lot of action for the slot role in Gruden's offense. 

Looking at the Redskins potential quarterbacks, Quinn would be an asset for any of them. Case Keenum's game definitely works well with skilled slot WRs - like Stefon Diggs in Minnesota two seasons ago. If rookie Dwayne Haskins gets the starting job, he could certainly use a consistent target in the middle of the field, and Quinn should serve that role. Should Colt McCoy take over as Redskins starter, he and Quinn actually found success on the field last season, particularly against the Cowboys. 

In fact, Keenum is already speaking highly of the former Mr. Irrelevant. 

"Trey Quinn is going to be really special," Keenum said during minicamp. 

Health is never a guarantee. Quinn struggled to stay on the field as a rookie, but when he was on the field, he did not struggle. Redskins receivers coach Ike Hilliard is typically a man of few words, but even he praised Quinn this offseason and considers him a breakout candidate for the 2019 season.


Summer is the time for optimism in the NFL. Nobody has fumbled, players are mostly healthy, and nothing has gone wrong. 

With Quinn, there is plenty of optimism. More importantly, based on Crowder's targets, there are reasons to buy the excitement around Quinn. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: 

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Why Trent Williams is the one holding the leverage when it comes to his situation with the Redskins

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Why Trent Williams is the one holding the leverage when it comes to his situation with the Redskins

Trent Williams wasn't at the Redskins' mandatory June minicamp or any of their OTA sessions, either, with reports suggesting he wants more money, is upset with the organization's medical staff or a combination of the two.

But even by not attending any offseason practice, Williams showed the Redskins something very important.

If he's not at left tackle for the team in 2019, the entire offense might fail. Not having their anchor on the left side could be an anchor to the whole campaign.

Even in sessions where the defensive line wasn't playing with full ferocity, they often times had no problems getting into the faces of Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum. Jay Gruden absolutely noticed. It was impossible not to.

Yes, it's necessary to point out Williams wasn't the only one missing up front. In fact, the collection was basically made up of second-stringers.

However, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier are all slated to be back when meaningful football resumes. Gruden, the passers and the running backs don't have to worry about them.

Yet they should all be quite petrified at the thought of not having No. 71 around.

A massive reason why is because of the present choices behind him. Ereck Flowers was brought in to try and be used at left guard, but with Williams absent, he saw heavy action on the outside. The results reminded everyone there of why he's being moved to the interior.

Aside from Flowers, the 'Skins have players like Tyler Catalina and Timon Parris on the roster. They fared better than Flowers when the media was able to watch practices in Ashburn, but they're nowhere close to being starting-caliber options, let alone ready to serve as replacements for one of the franchise's top contributors of the 2000s.  

That's a major factor into why it feels like Williams holds the leverage in his standoff with the Burgundy and Gold. There are other factors as well.

Whether or not Haskins wins the job coming out of Richmond remains to be seen. With that being said, the 15th overall pick will eventually take over as signal caller, and figures to take over for the long-term future. Haskins' early career beginning with someone other than Williams protecting him is the opposite of ideal.

Then, there's the fact that many decision makers believe the Redskins are "close" to breaking through. That step forward will not happen if Williams isn't suiting up.

Now, the team could just wait Williams out and see if he's really committed to the reported "vow" he's taken to never play in DC again. Would he still be content to not show up once he starts losing out on hefty game checks?

That's something the front office may decide to find out, and that route could easily force Williams into a place where he has to make the first move. It's a card they're holding, and a key card at that.

But still, the Redskins have a head coach who badly needs to succeed starting in September, an offense predicated on running the ball, a prized young QB about to embark on his NFL life and leaders up top who could use positive results on the field.

All of that is largely why, in his Tuesday story, JP Finlay wrote that perhaps improving Williams' contract and getting him back in the locker room appears to be how this'll all play out.

The storyline this offseason absolutely wasn't supposed to be about a battle between the Redskins and Trent Williams, but as of now, that's the topic everyone's talking about. It's now in Washington's best interest to ensure it doesn't carry over beyond Week 1.

For that to happen, it seems like the team will have to appease the player. That's not common in the NFL, but not many players find themselves with the leverage Williams possesses.  

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