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Trenton Robinson, Jarrett make key plays in big defensive stand

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Trenton Robinson, Jarrett make key plays in big defensive stand

You can’t tell the story of the Redskins’ win over the Eagles without talking about that clutch fourth-quarter possession. No, not the one that everybody is talking about, the 90-yard, 15-play offensive march that ended with Kirk Cousins throwing the four-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon with 26 seconds left.

I’m talking about the drive before that one, with the Eagles in possession of the ball. Philly was up 20-16 and had the ball at midfield after Darren Sproles’ fair catch of a punt. The clock read 7:32. All the Eagles really needed to do was burn some clock. A field goal that would have made a Redskins touchdown only tie the game would have been a bonus. The Redskins needed a stop, preferably a three and out.

On first down, DeMarco Murray took a handoff and headed up the middle. Safety Trenton Robinson shot into the backfield and made Murray change direction slightly. He ran straight into linebacker Preston Smith, who made the stop after a gain of three yards.

The Eagles then helped out the Redskins by doing what they do. They went out with no huddle and snapped the ball after just 25 seconds had been burned off of the 40-second play clock. If you want to go no-huddle at that time, great, but there would be something to be said for standing at the line and waiting until the play clocked ticks under 5 seconds before putting the ball into play.

On the play, Sproles was lined up in the slot on the right and then went in motion towards quarterback Sam Bradford, who was lined up in shotgun formation. Sproles took the handoff for a sort of jet sweep. But Robinson was there again, taking on two blockers to prevent Sproles from getting outside. That forced the runner right into the arms of linebacker Will Compton, who made the tackle after a gain of two.

On third down, the Eagles did burn off some more clock, waiting 33 seconds to snap the ball. Bradford looked to pass and went to slot receiver Jordan Matthews about 7 yards downfield. Matthews turned around and had Bradford’s pass for a moment until Kyshoen Jarrett, a rookie safety turned slot corner, reached around and knocked the ball out. Matthews wanted a flag but all Jarrett did was play some solid pass defense.

The Eagles punted, the Redskins took possession at the 10 with 6:02 left, plenty of time to use their entire playbook during the drive that everyone is talking about today. But that drive may not happen if the defense doesn’t do its job. 

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Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Dramatic improvement to Redskins rushing defense

Need to Know: Tandler’s Take—Dramatic improvement to Redskins rushing defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 16, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking Points

A better 3-2

For the third straight year, the Redskins are 3-2 after five games. As you know, they did not make the playoffs after either of the last two seasons. But they are in better shape in the standings now than they were in 2016 or 2017. Last year they were in second place in the division, a game and a half behind the 5-1 Eagles. They were worse off two years ago as they were in third place behind the 3-1 Eagles and the Cowboys, who were 4-1. 

It’s still very early, but it’s better to be in first place nearly a third of the way into the season than it is to be in second or third place and being in a position where you have to chase one or two teams. 

Take it away

The Redskins had three takeaways against the Panthers—the fumble recovery on the punt, Josh Norman’s interception, and the fumble forced by Norman and recovered by Mason Foster. They did not give the ball away. The last time they got at least three takeaways without giving the ball up was on Christmas Eve, 2016 in Chicago. Perhaps not coincidentally, that is the last game in which Norman had an interception until Sunday. 

After being either even or in the positive in takeaway ratio in four of their five games this year, the Redskins are now tied for fourth in the NFL with a plus-four turnover margin. If they can stay on the even or plus side from week to week they will have a very good chance at being successful. 

Rushing D much improved

After finishing 32nd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed in 2017, the Redskins are currently sixth, giving up an average of 90.2 yards per game. The improvement has come even though they have faced premiere running backs David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Christian McCaffrey. They have allowed no more than 104 yards on the ground in any of their five games. Last year's opponents ran for 127 yards or more 10 times. Their defense will be tested on Sunday against the Cowboys, who average 147 rushing yards per game on the ground, second in the NFL. 

Looking in the mirror

When the Redskins take a look at the Cowboys they might feel like they are watching themselves. Both teams run the ball well, although Ezekiel Elliott is more consistent than Adrian Peterson. Alex Smith has better passing stats than Dak Prescott but both teams are in the bottom third of the league in passing yards. The defenses on both teams are strong. Washington is sixth in yardage allowed per game and the Cowboys are fifth. 

And both teams have started off the season alternating wins and losses. Dallas started with a loss to the Panthers then beat the Giants, lost to the Seahawks, won over the Lions, suffered an OT loss to the Texans and then thumped the Jaguars. It will be an interesting match up on Sunday.

The agenda

Today: Off day, no media availability

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 5; Redskins @ Giants 12; Redskins @ Eagles 48

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Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

Week 6's Redskins game marked another successful celebration of the THINK-PINK! campaign

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the FedEx Field end zones ditched their usual gold trim for some pink instead. As it turns out, burgundy and pink go quite well together.

The reason for the change was to celebrate the Redskins Breast Cancer Awareness game as well as the 20th anniversary of Tanya Snyder's THINK-PINK! campaign.

Mrs. Snyder started the movement two decades ago by passing out 8,000 handmade pink ribbons at the team's stadium meant to remind people that early detection of breast cancer can make a major difference.

Now, her campaign has gone league-wide and is the reason you see so many players wearing pink in October, fans waving pink towels in the stands and other awareness-raising initiatives throughout the NFL.

"Very, very, very proud," Snyder said while handing out ribbons before the Washington-Carolina game. "We're not finished, but we are making a difference with early detection. So I'm beaming." 

For more information on Snyder and the NFL's breast cancer efforts, head to redskins.com/thinkpink. And for more details about the events held at FedEx Field during Week 6, check out the video above.

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