Special teamsGrade vs. Bengals: BComment:For the first time this season, the Redskins special teams units did not experience any major miscues. In fact, they were an asset.Sav Roccas seven punts were uneventful and that, alone, represents significant progress. One, in fact, set up Washingtons first touchdown when Roccas 58-yarder was downed inside in the one-yard line by Niles Paul. A play later, linebacker Rob Jackson intercepted Andy Daltons screen pass in the Bengals end zone to knot the game 7-7.Brandon Banks averaged 33 yards per return on kick off returns, including a 55-yarder in the second quarter to set up the Redskins at the Bengals 48-yard line. Eight plays later, Billy Cundiff kicked a 36-yard field goal to pull the Redskins to within 24-10.The field goal was Cundiffs only attempt on the afternoon, but it halted Cincinnati's momentum and sent the Redskins into the locker room believing a comeback was possible.One of the games biggest plays also was produced by the one of the Redskins special teams units.Leading 14-7, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals went for the jugular. But the visitors fake field goal attempt was foiled by safety Madieu Williams.Williams stayed home and when the direct snap with to holder Kevin Huber, Williams was waiting. After all the heat special teams coach Danny Smith received the first two weeks, he should be commended for his units performance Sunday.Now, it must become a habit.
Terry McLaurin's first touchdown against the Dolphins on Sunday wasn't just the result of one well-executed play.
Instead, it combined intelligent film study, superb route running and excellent speed, three of the qualities that McLaurin has shown off all season long as he's establishing himself as an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate and one of the best picks in the 2019 Draft.
Earlier in the week, the 24-year-old saw Amari Cooper run a similar route versus Miami — one that starts off looking like a crosser before a change of direction turns it into a dash to the corner — and he took note of how the defender tried to undercut it. So, he know if he sold the crosser well, he'd break free once he planted his foot in the ground.
It's one step to put in that work, though. It's a whole other step to actually carry it out on the field. But that's what McLaurin did in Week 6, and it ended up as one absolutely tremendous highlight in an overall impressive afternoon.
Terry McLaurin: pic.twitter.com/9eqmXx0MPl— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) October 13, 2019
No. 17 would go on to find the end zone a second time in the contest, as well as secure an important, long catch late that got the Redskins off of their own goal line. After the win, the team's first in six tries as well as the first of McLaurin's pro career, he was asked if he's surprised by how effective he's been.
"Not really," he said. "I want to be a guy you can come to on third down, the clutch situations, press man. I want to develop into that."
While at the postgame podium, Bill Callahan described the way McLaurin gets open as a "work of art." Case Keenum was just as complimentary.
"He's friendly on the eyes as a QB," Keenum told reporters. "Just the body language he gives in and out of breaks, I know where he's going to be at all times."
In five contests for the Burgundy and Gold, the wideout has 23 catches for 408 yards. He's averaging 17.7 yards a grab and has nabbed five scores. He's beating guys deep, he's beating guys over the middle and he's beating the guys in contested situations.
Yet the trait everyone keeps coming back to, from coaches to teammates to analysts, fans, is his route running. Callahan comparing it to art wasn't a stretch, and Keenum calling him "friendly on the eyes" is deserved. It's top-notch already.
It's something McLaurin takes a ton of pride in, too.
"I think that's what separates good receivers from great receivers," he said.
Now, the Redskins' Week 6 victory over the Dolphins was far from flawless. In fact, if it weren't for a dropped ball on a two-point conversion attempt, it very well could've been another loss.
But while fans of the franchise may not take much comfort in the final score, they should find time to appreciate what McLaurin is doing.
He's not just an emerging star in the organization, he's an emerging star in the entire sport, and covering his rookie campaign has been a treat so far. Well, for everyone covering him except opposing defenders, of course.
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MIAMI -- The Redskins proved on Sunday that they're not the worst team in the NFL. That would be the Dolphins.
Washington ground out their first victory of the year thanks largely to Adrian Peterson's legs and Terry McLaurin's hands. It's great for the organization to finally get a win after an 0-5 start and firing head coach Jay Gruden last week, but make no mistake, Miami is an awful football team. The Redskins had to win this one.
Here's how it happened:
- When the Redskins named Bill Callahan as interim head coach, he made clear he intended to run the football. A lot. He's a man of his word. The Redskins gave the ball to Peterson 23 times and he gained 118 yards. That's the first 100-yard rushing day for Washington this season and Peterson's first since Week 16 last year in Nashville.
- Case Keenum didn't throw the ball much, but when he did go McLaurin's way it worked very well. The rookie wide receiver had four catches for 100 yards but more importantly, hauled in two touchdowns. Both Redskins scores came via Keenum to McLaurin. The 2019 season is largely lost in Washington, but McLaurin's emergence has been an excellent subplot for the team. He's emerging as a potential real No. 1 wideout, something that has been missing in D.C. since Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson left in free agency after the 2016 season.
- Wow, Miami is bad, especially when Josh Rosen is at quarterback. The second-year pro completed 15 of 25 passes for 85 yards and two interceptions before getting benched at the end of the third quarter. The Dolphins offense looked much better once veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game, and the team scored a touchdown on his first drive.
- Callahan wants to be conservative, which is all well and good against Miami, but the team exercised an embarrassing lack of urgency at the end of this first half. The Redskins got the ball with about 70 seconds before the half and a timeout. A good team tries to move the ball down field in that situation and get points. Washington either didn't have that intention or showed terrible time management in the two-minute drill. Again, maybe against Miami, the Redskins coaches thought a four-point lead was insurmountable, but in general, that's a very flawed strategy.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins on a late run, scoring a touchdown to bring Miami within one as the clock was running down. But, the Redskins managed to break up a two-point conversion attempt and the entire fanbase breathed a sigh of relief.
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