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Week 8: Redskins vs. Bengals report card

Week 8: Redskins vs. Bengals report card

LONDON — Here is my report card on various aspects of the Redskins and their 27-27 tie with the Bengals.

A:

QB Kirk Cousins did everything he could to bring home a win — passing for more than 400 yards, rallying the team from a fourth-quarter deficit for the third time this season. If you don’t think the Redskins should sign him to a long-term deal, I have to think you’re watching a different team than I am every Sunday.

TE Jordan Reed gets an A based on his 23-yard touchdown reception alone. He showed everything you want in a tight end on that play — speed, athletic ability, desire, a nose for the end zone.

LB Will Compton played his best game of the year, getting eight tackles and picking up an interception that may have saved the game. Early in the fourth quarter, the Bengals were up by three and had driven down to the Redskins 20. Compton picked off Dalton’s pass giving the ball back to the Redskins. A 10-point deficit at that point would have been difficult to overcome.

WR Jamison Crowder caught nine passes for 113 yards and his 33-yard touchdown catch was a lot like Reed’s TD catch — desire to get to the end zone and the athleticism needed to do it.

B

RB Rob Kelley probably gets an A from some but I’m not grading on the curve because it was his first start. He found the going tough in the first half, averaging just 2.9 yards on his 10 carries and falling down in pass protection one occasion. But the rookie finished strong.

LB Su’a Cravens played only 30 snaps but he made two huge plays, a sack that ended the Bengals’ chances of winning in regulation and he batted down a pass at the line in overtime. Could be higher but I don’t like to do that for a player in on just a third of the snaps

C

CB Josh Norman had his hands on two interceptions during a time when Andy Dalton was really scuffling. And A.J. Greed didn’t have a huge day but the had eight catches for 111 yards and it seemed whenever the Bengals needed a play they could get the ball to him. He did give a great post-game presser, which does not factor in to this grade.

HC Jay Gruden had his team ready to play but there were two key strategic errors. Going for it on fourth and one in the red zone early in the second quarter of a 7-7 game didn’t make a whole lot of sense. It was an easy three points. And near halftime he had a good notion to use a timeout on defense but he let about 12 seconds run off the clock before calling it. They could have used the time to get a bit closer on Hopkins’ 55-yard field goal try that fell short.

The Wembley stadium turf looked great but when I went into the locker room I saw something I’ve never seen before—grass, a lot of small clumps of it. Apparently it got stuck in the players’ cleats on the field and was tracked in. That has to make the going a little tough.

F

I don’t think I need to explain why I’m giving this grade to Carl Cheffers and his crew. Just roll the tape on Norman yesterday and on Jay Gruden today.

MORE REDSKINS: The tie leaves the Redskins in the thick of the NFC race

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent

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.

Looking for a stat to describe the rough season the Redskins receivers had in 2018? Well, there's tons to choose from.

The team's wideouts had the second-fewest catches of 20-plus yards in the league. Antonio Brown had more grabs, yards and touchdowns than Washington's top three targets combined. Josh Doctson led the squad in receiving yards — with a measly 532.

You could easily find plenty more, but those three are all you need to realize that DK Metcalf should absolutely be on the franchise's mind when it comes to their first-round pick this April.

While Metcalf's numbers at Ole Miss won't overly impress you, his athleticism and potential explosiveness as a pro absolutely does. That's why it's no surprise the WR met with the Redskins while at the Combine, as Jay Gruden and Co. are well aware that they must become more dangerous on the outside.

As with any prospect, there are questions with Metcalf. He only had 67 catches in 21 games in school, and while he shredded most of the drills in Indianapolis, his short area agility numbers were worse than Tom Brady. That's not great.

Regardless, he'd instantly become the offense's scariest athlete, and you have to like his chances of at least contributing splash plays early while he learns the nuances of the NFL.

The 'Skins don't just need improvement out wide, however. Jordan Reed was largely ineffective despite playing for much of 2018, Vernon Davis is 35 years old and Jeremy Sprinkle isn't much of a threat in the air at tight end.

Perhaps TJ Hockenson could be their answer. NFL.com says the Iowa product "is an ascending talent with a chance to become one of the best all-around tight ends in the game." 

One problem the Burgundy and Gold have encountered in recent years is Reed and Davis don't help much as blockers, while Sprinkle won't worry a defense with his hands. Taking Hockenson at pick No. 15 would mean Gruden could finally have a guy who excels in both areas.

It remains to be seen whether Metcalf or Hockenson will last until the Redskins' choice, as they could continue to rise up boards as the draft draws closer. If both or either is there, however, they need to be heavily considered. 

While the offense may have to be run-oriented again in 2019, it still needs more weapons for whoever is under center. They won't be able to grind out 13-play scoring drives every time they need a TD, and grabbing Metcalf or Hockenson would go a long way in introducing a new element to the group.

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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Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

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Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

Upsets get a lot of attention in March, due to the allure of the NCAA Tournament and the non-allure of everyone who loves to talk about how THEY CALLED that upset that YOU DIDN'T.

With that being said, upsets happen every month of the year, and they go down weekly in the NFL. So, how about we look back at some of the Redskins' particularly surprising wins from the past decade?

Here are five of the most memorable. 

5) 2014 - Redskins 27, Eagles 24

The Eagles came into FedEx Field late in 2014 with a 9-5 record needing a win to remain squarely in the playoff hunt. The Redskins, meanwhile, were just 3-11 and had changed quarterbacks a depressing five times.

Yet in this matchup, Robert Griffin III managed the offense well and DeSean Jackson had more than 120 receiving yards against his former team because DeSean Jackson is awesome.

Yes, the 'Skins were outproduced in nearly every major stat category. But Mark Sanchez — sorry, future Redskin great Mark Sanchez — had two costly turnovers and Cody Parkey missed two field goals (Philly fans have probably forgiven him by now), allowing the home team to squeak out a W.

4) 2009 - Redskins 27, Broncos 17

This is one of those random Redskins games you've probably forgotten about because it came in a lost season, but it was still a miraculous victory.

The most iconic play from this one was a Hunter Smith to Mike Sellers TD on a fake field goal — a fake, mind you, that came after a timeout by Jim Zorn because the unit's first fake punt attempt included only 10 players on the field.

Denver was 6-2 but lost Kyle Orton to injury at halftime. Jason Campbell, on the other hand, helped the Burgundy and Gold score more than 17 points for the first time all year.

"We've had a desert experience -- very arid, if you will -- for the last few weeks," Zorn said postgame. "So to be able to come out with a win, you almost don't know how to feel."

The Zorn Era was terrible, but you have to give the dude credit for working "very arid" into an NFL press conference.

3) 2012 - Redskins 40, Saints 32

There was plenty of hype surrounding RG3's debut, but there was no way he was going to lead the Redskins to a win over the Saints... in his debut... in the Superdome... right?

Wrong. Incorrect. Not right.

Griffin found Pierre Garcon early for an 88-yard score and the offense stayed hot all afternoon, outpacing a New Orleans squad that was favored by more than a touchdown. If you want a further reminder of how impressive this effort was, look back at what happened to this franchise in the Superdome this past season. 

2) 2014 - Redskins 20, Cowboys 17

Dallas' six-game winning streak stood no chance against Colt McCoy, as the Texas legend went into the Cowboys' house for a wild Monday Night triumph.

Kai Forbath's field goal sealed it in overtime and Bashaud Breeland dominated Dez Bryant, but McCoy was the star. On the way to his first successful start in close to three seasons, the signal caller went 25 for 30 in the air and found the end zone on the ground, too.

1) 2017 - Redskins 17, Seahawks 14

If someone in your life thinks they can't do something, just pull up the box score or highlights from this contest. They will then realize that nothing is impossible, because the Redskins beating the Seahawks on this Sunday should've been impossible, yet it somehow happened anyway.

Washington went into Seattle's harsh environment down six starters, including three on the O-line, but Kirk Cousins kept things together and found Brian Quick and Josh Doctson for long completions on a harrowing last drive to steal this result. It wasn't quite UMBC over Virginia, but it was absolutely a stunning final nonetheless. 

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