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Redskins starters look sharp, continue momentum in win over Cowboys

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Redskins starters look sharp, continue momentum in win over Cowboys

DALLAS— The game didn’t mean anything in the standings but the Redskins wanted to come out of it with a win to post a winning record on the season. They accomplished that goal with a 34-23 win over the Cowboys.

They also wanted to keep their players healthy and they didn’t quite accomplish that. Safety Kyshoen Jarrett left the game with a possible concussion and reserve cornerback Dashaun Phillips was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital after suffering a neck injury in the second quarter.

They did keep their front-line players healthy. Kirk Cousins played until the middle of the second quarter and had another outstanding day. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns, posting a passer rating of 155.1.

In the process Cousins broke some Redskins records including most yards passing in a season. He broke the record set in 1986 by Jay Schroeder

A variety of receivers played well for the Redskins. Jordan Reed had four catches for 45 yards, Jamison Crowder had five for 109 and a touchdown and Pierre Garçon hauled in three for 49 and a touchdown.

The Redskins will host a playoff game next weekend. It will be against either the Vikings, Packers, or Seahawks, pending the results of games later this afternoon and tonight.

Key Play: The Redskins were up 7-0 in the first quarter when Kellen Moore threw a pass that inside linebacker picked off for his first career interception. He returned it to the Dallas 43. A few plays later Kirk Cousins threw a beautiful deep ball that Pierre Garçon snatched out of the air for a touchdown to make it 14-0. The Redskins never looked back.

Injury Update:

S Kyshoen Jarrett left the game to be examined for a concussion and a shoulder injury in the first quarter. He did not return.

CB Dashaun Phillips was carted off of the field in the second quarter. He was transported to a local hospital for evaluation of a neck injury.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Grant 5 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 2 plays, 49 yards, 44 seconds

Key plays: This was a quick one after the Redskins got a punt at the Dallas 49. On the first play, Kirk Cousins threw a little misdirection screen to Jamison Crowder, who picked up blocking and scooted down the right side until he was pushed out of bounds at the five. On the next play Cousins flipped at pass to Ryan Grant, who scooted into the end zone for the score.

Redskins 7, Cowboys 0

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Garçon 39 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 43 yards, 1:32

Key plays: Another quick drive for the Redskins, this one following a Will Compton interception returned to the Dallas 43. After two Alfred Morris runs it was third and six and Cousins stepped up into the pocket and launched downfield to Pierre Garçon, who snatched the ball out of the air and ran into the end zone.

Redskins 14, Cowboys 0

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Crowder 3 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 30 yards, 3:16

Key plays: This was mostly Alfred Morris’ drive which again started in favorable field position at the Dallas 29, the result of a Chris Baker fumble recovery. Morris converted a third and one with a three-yard run and then ran for eight and six yards to set up first and goal at the four. On third down, Cousins found Jamison Crowder open on the left side and fired to him for the touchdown.

Redskins 21, Cowboys 0

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Second quarter

FG Hopkins 27

Drive: 8 plays, 68 yards, 4:18

Key plays: This was a longer drive for the Redskins but they got off to a good start on third and three when Kirk Cousins found Jamison Crowder open down the right sideline for 28 yards into Cowboys territory. Then it was Cousins to Reed to get into the red zone. The drive stalled and Hopkins came in to boot the field goal.

Redskins 24, Cowboys 0

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Witten 4 pass from Moore (Bailey kick)

Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 4:41

Key plays: The Cowboys got on the board with a drive that really got started when up man Jeff Heath took a direct snap from punt formation and fought for two yards up the middle to convert a fourth and one. Then Kellen Moore got going, throwing to James Hannah for 13 yards and then to Terrance Williams for 36 yards to the seven. On second down from the four, Moore threw to Jason Witten just shy of the goal line. The wily veteran poked the ball over the plane for the touchdown.

Redskins 24, Cowboys 7

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Beasley 5 pass from Moore (Bailey kick)

Drive: 86 yards

Key plays: The Cowboys got rolling from their own 14. The big gainers on the drive were Kellen Moore passes of 22 yards to Witten and 24 yards to Brice Butler. After another pass to Witten to set up first and goal at the five, Moore found Cole Beasley in the middle of the end zone for the score.

Redskins 24, Cowboys 14

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Beasley 5 pass from Moore (Bailey kick)

Drive: 7 plays, 86 yards 1:06

Key plays: The Cowboys got rolling from their own 14. The big gainers on the drive were Kellen Moore passes of 22 yards to Witten and 24 yards to Brice Butler. After another pass to Witten to set up first and goal at the five, Moore found Cole Beasley in the middle of the end zone for the score.

Redskins 24, Cowboys 14

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Third quarter

FG Hopkins 32

Drive: 14 plays, 74 yards, 8:41

Key plays: The Redskins got back in control on the scoreboard with a drive that started from their own 11. Alfred Morris got it started with runs and seven and five yards. Chris Thompson picked up a first down with a run of eight yards. After a holding call set them back, Colt McCoy found Jamison Crowder on a screen and the rookie wove for 24 yards to convert a third and 17. Morris ran for gains of of 13 yards for first down at the 33 and then he scooted outside for a gain of 15 to the 18. That set up the Hopkins field goal.

Redskins 27, Cowboys 14

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Fourth quarter

Ross 71 pass from McCoy (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 72 yards, 1:32

Key plays: The Redskins looked to be in bad shape after a holding call. But on third and nine from the 29, Colt McCoy launched a deep pass to Rashad Ross, who was about 15 yards past the nearest defender. He rolled in for the touchdown.

Redskins 34, Cowboys 14

Drive: 7 plays, 86 yards 1:06

Key plays: The Cowboys got rolling from their own 14. The big gainers on the drive were Kellen Moore passes of 22 yards to Witten and 24 yards to Brice Butler. After another pass to Witten to set up first and goal at the five, Moore found Cole Beasley in the middle of the end zone for the score.

Redskins 24, Cowboys 14

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Third quarter

FG Hopkins 32

Drive: 14 plays, 74 yards, 8:41

Key plays: The Redskins got back in control on the scoreboard with a drive that started from their own 11. Alfred Morris got it started with runs and seven and five yards. Chris Thompson picked up a first down with a run of eight yards. After a holding call set them back, Colt McCoy found Jamison Crowder on a screen and the rookie wove for 24 yards to convert a third and 17. Morris ran for gains of of 13 yards for first down at the 33 and then he scooted outside for a gain of 15 to the 18. That set up the Hopkins field goal.

Redskins 27, Cowboys 14

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Fourth quarter

Ross 71 pass from McCoy (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 72 yards, 1:32

Key plays: The Redskins looked to be in bad shape after a holding call. But on third and nine from the 29, Colt McCoy launched a deep pass to Rashad Ross, who was about 15 yards past the nearest defender. He rolled in for the touchdown.

Redskins 34, Cowboys 14

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Safety Morris tackled in the end zone

Drive: --

Key plays: After Will Blackmon picked off a pass at the Redskins one, Morris couldn’t quite get out of the end zone after taking a handoff. The Cowboys got a safety credited to defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.

Redskins 34, Cowboys 16

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Beasley 4 pass

Drive: 12 plays, 89 yards, 3:32

Key plays: It was Kellen Moore to Darren McFadden to get this one going as the two twice connected for 17 yards. A few plays later on third and eight at the 29, Moore found Brice Butler for a gain of 22 setting up first and goal at the seven. On third down from there, Moore connected with Cole Beasley in the back of the end zone for the score.

Redskins 34, Cowboys 23

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What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

What exactly was Alex Smith thinking when he went out of bounds on the last drive?

FEDEX FIELD -- Late in the Redskins win over the Cowboys, when the contest was still very much in question, Alex Smith made an incredibly poor decision. 

It was situational football at its peak. The Redskins had the ball with under 90 seconds left and a three point lead while Dallas had just one timeout left. A first down would end the game, but beyond getting a new set of downs, forcing Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to use his final timeout was the next highest priority. 

Somehow, Smith achieved neither. 

On third-and-9 from his own 36-yard-line, Smith took the snap and worked left on a play-action bootleg. There was room to run for a modest gain, but it seemed obvious Smith would not pick up the first down. 

Only Smith didn't see it that way. 

"I knew a first down would end the game and I did have glimpses of myself getting the first down whatever it took," the quarterback said. 

Instead of getting the first down, Smith got dragged out of bounds by Dallas LB Sean Lee. That stopped the clock for the Cowboys, and allowed Garrett to save his final timeout. 

Barring a turnover, it was the worst possible outcome on the play. 

What makes the situation so strange is that Smith is a very smart player. A 14-year veteran, Smith is known as a guy that won't make mistakes to hurt his team and gives his squad a chance for a win every week. Only late in the game, Smith tried to make the play to go for the win, and made a huge mistake instead. 

"I all of a sudden found myself pretty awkward on the sidelines there and can’t have it," Smith said. "[I] could have obviously cost us the game in hindsight at that point, I think kinda abandon ship and go down there on the sideline.”

The good news for Smith, and for the 4-2 Redskins, is that Cowboys kicker Brett Maher plunked the upright on his game-tying field goal attempt. An attempt that might not have happened if Smith stayed in bounds. 

In the end, it didn't cost the Redskins. 

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Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

LANDOVER, Md. -- With 22 starters comprising offensive and defensive players, plus another faction handling special teams, football is the ultimate team sport.

Now imagine where the 2018 Washington Redskins find themselves if the front office never brings in Adrian Peterson for that mid-preseason workout. Even Jamie Lee Curtis finds that frightening.

Peterson’s return to football glory continued with 99 rushing yards on 24 carries in Washington’s 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday evening.

“I won’t say we wouldn’t be as good in the run game, but, yeah,” left tackle Trent Williams said of his former University of Oklahoma teammate.

“Obviously having [Adrian], I won’t say it’s everything, but it’s almost everything,” Williams continued. His eyes widened as the Pro Bowl lineman pondered the potential downside of this offense without the future Hall of Famer. That’s a dark timeline.

Peterson’s Redskins career now spans six regular-season games. Sunday’s display of power in tight spaces and speed when daylight exists wasn’t a one-off. In those six games, Peterson rushed for at least 96 yards four times including the last two games despite playing with a painful shoulder.

“I’m feeling good, man, we just got a W,” the smiling running back said from behind the podium inside the media room at his newish home stadium. “That makes everything feel a lot better. I feel better than I did last week, I’ll say that.”

Washington felt concerned enough about its running attack following the second preseason game to scour the free agent market. Peterson arriving at Redskins Park in August generated the expected “Whoa” from the casual NFL fans, who picture the player hammering silly defenders daring to tackle him. That player no longer existed. At least that’s what many assumed.

Peterson last topped 1,000 yards or 4.0 yards per rush in 2015. Injuries and inefficiency headlined his 2017 stops in New Orleans and Arizona. Running backs capable of carrying an offense aren’t just lying around for the taking like a rogue penny on a sidewalk. Yet, there was Peterson, waiting for a team to show interest. After losing Derrius Guice with a season-ending knee injury and recognizing the in-house options were not enough, the Redskins called.

 “We didn’t have many expectations,” Jay Gruden said after the Redskins improved to 4-2 and took a 1 ½ game lead in the NFC East. “We weren’t expecting him to be on our football team until we had a couple of injuries. Then we got him. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know he looked great in that workout.”

That workout led to a signing and almost simultaneously, the starting gig. Now it’s hard contemplating anyone else in those early down and short yardage scenarios. Peterson had runs of 23 and 20 yards against the Cowboys. The latter help set up one of two Dustin Hopkins field goals. His overall production helped move the chains in yet another game where the Alex Smith-led passing game lacked oomph.

This random road to Redskins Park is why Peterson’s renaissance feels shocking to many with one significant exception.

“No, not at all. I think everyone else around is surprised. I’m not,” Peterson said. “I expect greatness from myself. That’s why I put the work in. God has blessed with me this talent. A lot of people see, and a lot of people don’t. … Just keep confidence in myself. When I’m presented with my opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of it every Sunday.”

Peterson is taking advantage of this opportunity with the Redskins because necessity is the mother of invention. It turns out Washington’s running attack needed a reboot more than the running back required a makeover.

“There are not many guys like [Adrian] walking around the street,” Williams said, “and luckily, we found a diamond in the rough.”

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