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Grading the defense: Issues everywhere vs. Rams

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Grading the defense: Issues everywhere vs. Rams

Grade vs. Rams: DComment:After jumping from the 31stranked defense to 13thlast season, there was hope that the Redskins unit would take the next step and join the leagues elite. So far, though, it hasnt happened and after Sundays 31-28 loss to the Rams theres legitimate concern whether its even possible.After two games, the unit ranks 28thin yards allowed per game (405.0) and 27thin points yielded (31.5). And now, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett must figure out how to overcome the loss of starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the remainder of the season.But lets get back to Sundays unsightly performance in St. Louis. The Redskins returned a fumble for a touchdown, recovered another and intercepted a pass. But thats it for good news.Sam Bradford and the youthful Rams had lost eight games in a row, limped in with an injury depleted line and were coming off a season in which they ranked last in points scored per game (12.1). The Redskins, however, made them look like the Greatest Show on Turf Rams of the late 1900s.Bradford and wide receiver Danny Amendola shredded the secondary, particularly in the first half even when everyone at Edward Jones Dome knew what was coming next. Twelve of Amendolas 15 receptions (a record high against the Redskins) came before halftime (on the Rams second drive, Amendola caught passes on six of seven plays). Bradford, meantime, finished with 310 passing yards and three touchdowns. It marked Bradfords third highest passing day of his career, while he equaled his high for touchdowns in a game.Against the run, the Redskins werent much better. The Rams managed to rack up 151 yards, despite losing star running back Steven Jackson in the second quarter to injury. With Jackson sidelined, rookie Daryl Richardson rushed for 83 yards, including a 53-yard scamper in the third quarter, on 15 carries.If the loss of Carriker (torn quadriceps) in the first quarter and Orakpo (torn pectoral muscle) and cornerback Josh Wilson (concussion) in the third were at the root of the Redskins struggles Sunday, watch out. It could be a long season for the D.

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A lucky win for the Redskins? Or were Giants lucky to be in it?

A lucky win for the Redskins? Or were Giants lucky to be in it?

Giants guard Justin Pugh thinks the Redskins got lucky in their 29-27 win on Sunday.

I feel like we should have won that game,’’ Pugh said. “If they weren’t playing for the Redskins, they probably feel like they should have lost that game, too. We hurt ourselves with turnovers, penalties, everything you can do to lose a game today we did.’’

Perhaps the Giants should have won. But perhaps the Redskins should have won going away instead of having to sweat it out until Su’a Cravens’ interception with just over a minute left to play. Let’s add up the points the Redskins gave away during the game.

—The Redskins forced the Giants to go three and out on the first possession of the game, but Quinton Dunbar accidentally touched the ball and New York recovered. The play cost the Redskins seven points as the Giants drive down the short field to a touchdown.

—Josh Norman had both of his hands on a Eli Manning pass later in the first period but he couldn’t hold on to it. If he gets that pick the Giants don’t get a touchdown on the next play. Seven more points given away, 14 so far.

—A ticky-tack illegal contact foul on Cravens let the Giants covert a fourth and two in the second quarter. The drive ended with a New York touchdown run. That’s 21 net points the Redskins have lost to this point.

—Kirk Cousins had a brain cramp and didn’t get rid of the ball when he needed to from the six yard line at the end of the first half. The mistake could have cost the Redskins seven but we’ll go with three because a field goal from there was a certainty. So that’s 24 points the Redskins left on the table.

—In the third quarter it appeared to almost everybody that David Bruton had taken a ball away from Odell Beckham and should have had an interception. But the officials disagreed and the Giants kept the ball and kicked a field goal. So that makes a net of 27 points that should be in the Redskins favor.

I’m sure that Pugh can come up with a similar list for the Giants. But that is life in the NFL. The outcome of almost every game could swing on a handful of plays. The Redskins made theirs when the absolutely had to and the Giants did not.

MORE REDSKINS: BECKHAM GETS YARDS, BUT NORMAN GETS WIN

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MRI reveals Redskins' DeAngelo Hall has completely torn ACL

MRI reveals Redskins' DeAngelo Hall has completely torn ACL

A veteran and a leader for the Redskins defense, it appears DeAngelo Hall's season is now finished just three games into 2016.

Hall injured his knee in the first half of Sunday's game against the Giants. The play looked bad in real time and Hall looked to be in much pain leaving the field.

Somewhat encouragingly, Hall was spotted on the sidelines after the play he was injured on, though Redskins PR announced the safety would not return to the game.

In the moments following Washington's dramatic win, Hall told the media he believed his ACL was torn, certainly putting a damper on the jubilant scene.

Beyond Hall, the Redskins are waiting for further diagnosis on starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland as well as offensive linemen Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger.

Assuming Hall misses significant time, the Redskins will be forced to juggle their secondary, especially if Breeland also misses time. When Hall went out in New York, veteran Will Blackmon picked up much of the slack and played well.

Going forward, defensive coordinator Joe Barry can also look to players like Duke Ihenacho or Deshazor Everett for help. Ihenacho is an experienced NFL safety while Everett showed in the preseason he's not just a special teams player but can play safety at the pro level.

Beyond Ihenacho and Everett, the Redskins may also consider some playing time for rookie Su'a Cravens in the secondary. Drafted as a hybrid linebacker/safety, Cravens made a big-time impact in the win over the Giants and has proven he needs to be on the field a lot for Barry's defense.

MORE REDSKINS: FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE REDSKINS WIN OVER THE GIANTS