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Redskins win over Eagles came down to two pivotal passes

Redskins win over Eagles came down to two pivotal passes

PHILADELPHIA—There are a lot of plays that might determine the outcome of a football game. But you can make a pretty good case that the Redskins’ win over the Eagles would not have happened if not for two pass plays, one long, one short.

The long one came in the third quarter. Late in the second period the Redskins drove for a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead but Philadelphia came right back and scored a TD just before halftime to take a 13-7 lead into the locker room. On the Redskins’ second possession of the half they had second and nine at their own 20. Kirk Cousins dropped back and launched one deep for DeSean Jackson.

More Redskins: FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE REDSKINS' NARROW WIN OVER THE EAGLES

“We got just the coverage we wanted,” said Cousins. “It was a great call by Sean [McVay] to give us that play against that coverage.”

It worked just like it was drawn up by the McVay. Jackson got a few steps on his defender, Cousins threw the pass, and, after an adjustment to the ball in the air, Jackson was able to haul it in and complete the 80-yard touchdown play.

“He has a few elite traits and one of them is his ability to track the ball in the air,” said Cousins. “If it’s not an easy catch he can go find it and track the ball better than most receivers and certainly better than most defensive backs.”

Now in five games against his former team, Jackson has three with over 100 yards receiving and touchdown receptions of 80 and 81 yards.

“I wish I could do it every game if you ask me,” said Jackson when asked if he got particular pleasure out of playing well against the team that employed him from 2008-2013. “I’ve just been fortunate that I’ve been able to come back and make some big plays against my former team but regardless of who it is I enjoy doing it.”

Jackson’s long catch would have been an interesting stat line in a loss if the Redskins had not connected on another, much shorter pass with time running out in the fourth quarter. The Redskins were down by two and facing fourth and one at the Eagles 35 with three minutes left. They called timeout to make sure they had the right play in.

Cousins dropped back and fired to Pierre Garçon to his right. The receiver got between cornerback Leodis McKelvin and the ball and secured the catch for the critical first down.

“It was a big play because if we don’t get it we lose the game,” said Cousins. “I think the other point is that Pierre does a great job winning versus man coverage . . . He had a tough job there but he did it and made a great catch and we were able to move the chains.”

Had they failed to get the first down the Eagles would have been able to run some clock. If the Redskins had gotten the ball back it likely would have been far from the goal line with very little time remaining. As it was, two plays later Chris Thompson scored the winning touchdown on a 25-yard run.

“He’s so strong, even if the cornerback is on him he has a great ability to come back to the quarterback and use his body and his strong hands to make those tough catches,” said Gruden.

A loss would not have killed the Redskins’ chances of making the playoffs but it would have put a severe damper on them. They remain legitimate playoff contenders, thanks to one long pass and one short one.

Gallery: NFL WEEK 14: REDSKINS 27, EAGLES 22

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'There is no next Sean': Clinton Portis is against Landon Collins wearing No. 21

'There is no next Sean': Clinton Portis is against Landon Collins wearing No. 21

Landon Collins wore No. 21 with the Giants to honor Sean Taylor and now that he's with the Redskins, Collins wants to continue to do so if he gets permission from Taylor's family.

"I hope, that's big shoes to fill," the safety said at his introductory presser last week.

Clinton Portis, though, doesn't like the idea at all.

Portis, one of Taylor's closest friends and a longtime teammate of the beloved defensive back, has said in multiple interviews he has no interest in seeing Collins, or anyone for that matter, put on that jersey again.

"That's the one thing fans have to hold on to," Portis said while on 106.7 The Fan's Grant and Danny show. "I don't think he's going to be Sean Taylor. There is no next Sean."

"21, that’s sacred," he told The Athletic. "Why even play with people? Why even spark people’s memories? Retire that jersey." 

During a recent poll on NBC Sports Washington's Redskins 100 that more than 2,000 fans participated in, 52 percent said they wouldn't want to see Collins don the uniform, while 48 percent approved.

Like Portis, JP Finlay thinks Collins should find another set of digits, too. He explained why on the Redskins Talk podcast:

Of course, the decision really comes down to how Taylor's family feels about it, and there's no doubting how much Collins would appreciate the chance to take the field with No. 21 on his back.  

The fact that this is such a prominent discussion, though, shows how much Taylor means to the Redskins community. 21 isn't just a number when it's in burgundy and gold. In D.C. it means much, much more.

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: Are Byron Murphy and Dalton Risner legitimate options or luxuries?

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: Are Byron Murphy and Dalton Risner legitimate options or luxuries?

NBC Sports Washington wants Redskins fans to help decide the team's ideal 2019 first-round pick by voting in the Redskins Draft Bracket on Twitter. Before you vote, though, take in this breakdown of the next matchup.

Round 1: Byron Murphy vs. Dalton Risner

The second matchup in the 2019 Redskins Draft Bracket features two players with talent and potential you can't question.

What you can question, though, is whether they're legitimate choices at pick No. 15 or more on the luxury side of things, meaning the team would be better served scooping up someone who plays a position they need more immediate help at.

Murphy is a corner from Washington, while Risner is a versatile offensive lineman from Kansas State. As of now, you could make a relatively easy case that the 2019 Redskins have bigger needs at quarterback, edge rusher and receiver than they do in the secondary and up front.

With that being said, you still absolutely shouldn't count out either guy as viable selections for the Burgundy and Gold in the first round.

When it comes to corner, Josh Norman isn't on the most stable ground and he easily could be gone after this year. In 2017, the Redskins drafted Fabian Moreau despite being somewhat settled at CB because they knew Bashaud Breeland wouldn't be around much longer, guaranteeing they had a replacement ready to roll. Taking Murphy would give them similar insurance for a Norman departure.

NFL.com calls him a "ball-hawking man corner who makes up for a lack of physical tools with outstanding instincts, toughness, and short-area quickness." Sounds like a valuable asset in today's league, doesn't it?

As for Risner, his natural position is tackle, a place the 'Skins have two very expensive starters at already. His NFL.com profile, though, has an intriguing piece in it that makes him appealing as well.

"He has the necessary tools to get guys blocked on the NFL level... Risner will need to prove he can handle NFL edge speed, but a move inside could be a failsafe option for him."

If you're reading this blog, you're well aware how badly Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan need a left guard. Could Risner slide in there for the time being, then either remain there long-term like Brandon Scherff or become a tackle in a few seasons once Trent Williams moves on? If so, he too becomes a worthwhile pick.

The main takeaway is that you shouldn't get fully bogged down in what this franchise needs today. Injuries, contracts and underperformance can turn positions of strengths into major holes in one year.

If the Redskins end up with Murphy or Risner in April, sure, you may not be thrilled with it the moment after the card gets turned in. But there's a good chance you'd warm up to them very quickly, considering the way rosters rapidly change.

You've heard the case for both players. Now, retweet or like depending on whom you'd prefer to see move on in the bracket.

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