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Jay Gruden says Redskins defense should have been more aggressive in final series

Jay Gruden says Redskins defense should have been more aggressive in final series

DETROIT--Going into today’s game against the Redskins, Matthew Stafford had 20 fourth-quarter comebacks in 99 career starts.

When it was over, he had 21 in 100.

It looked like Kirk Cousins had created the perfect ending to his return to the state where he grew up. He scored on a 19-yard run on a read option play to put the Redskins up by four with 1:05 left to play. All the defense had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone.

It couldn’t.

It took Stafford just three plays, passes to Marvin Jones and Andre Roberts sandwiched around a 14-yard scramble, to get into the red zone.

Some would call that a prevent defense prevent a win.

“Yeah, I think in hindsight we should’ve blitzed seven or eight but we played coverage that we’ve been playing for a long time,” Gruden said when asked if the defense should have been more aggressive on the final series. “He [Stafford] knifed a seam route but Will [Compton] missed it by about a fraction of a hair.”

“We’ll look at film and critique it later.”

The Lions slowed down momentarily in the red zone. But on third down and 10, Stafford fired a bullet to veteran receiver Anquan Boldin for the winning score with 16 seconds left.

RELATED: 5 observations from Redskins' loss to Lions

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Five observations from the Redskins' loss to the Lions

Five observations from the Redskins' loss to the Lions

DETROIT--Here are five observations from the Redskins’ loss to the Lions.

—The Redskins can’t keep giving themselves mountains to climb in the form of turnovers and penalties. Washington had three fumbles hit the ground and lost two of them, the Lions recovered their only fumble. A Dustin Hopkins field goal from 45-yards—a veritable chip shot for him—hit off of the very top of the upright and bounced the wrong way. The Redskins didn’t need all of those plays, just one of them.

—Kirk Cousins put on a show for his hometown fans, including relatives and Michigan State alumni. He completed 77 percent of his passes for 301 yards and a touchdown. Cousins ran for another score, one that appeared to win the game.

—Joe Barry needs to get this last-minute defense figured out. In Baltimore a few weeks ago they almost let a road win slip away but a Joe Flacco TD pass was nullified when replay showed that the receiver’s foot was just out of bounds. Today, they weren’t so fortunate. It’s a tough balance between pressure and coverage but they had held Stafford in check for much of the day until the final minute.

—Chris Thompson needs some more carries. Today he led the team in both carries (12) and yards (73). He finished off some runs  tough, too, fighting for extra yardage. They don’t want to wear him out or risk injuring him but they need to get the ball in his hands.

—I’m not in the “bench Matt Jones” club but he needs to get back to basics. Fighting for extra yardage is great but ball protection is more important.

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