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One bad play ruins pretty good day for defense

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One bad play ruins pretty good day for defense

Defense

Grade vs. Giants: C-

Comment: For a little more than 58 minutes, the Redskins’ defense appeared to be well on its way to an impressive performance against one of the league’s elite offenses. 

At the two minute warning, linebacker Perry Riley (team-high eight tackles) and his teammates had limited the Giants to 64 rushing yards on 19 carries (3.4 yards per). New York quarterback Eli Manning, meantime, had been picked off twice and thrown for only 252 yards, despite facing little sustained pressure from the Redskins’ pass rushers.

Games in the NFL are 60 minutes, however, and a critical breakdown in the waning moments saw a potentially good day suddenly turn bad. Really bad.

The Redskins were clinging to a 23-20 edge in the final minutes when Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz lined up in the slot. But instead of breaking off his route, he opted to run a “go” and sprinted right between defensive backs Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams before hauling in a 77-yard touchdown pass that sealed New York’s 27-23 victory.

Whether it was miscommunication between Wilson and Williams (Wilson appeared to be anticipating more help from Williams), improper alignment or simply Cruz’s flat out foot speed, big plays inside 90 seconds ... while protecting a lead ... on the road ... with first place in the division on the line ... simply can’t happen.

Giants Coach Tom Coughlin explained afterward that Cruz made an astute adjustment on the fly. “There was an option there and he took it,” Coughlin said of Cruz’s choice of routes. “That’s what I can tell you.”

On Monday, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan summed up the defense’s performance succinctly.

“We hit Eli a number of times during that game; he normally hasn’t been hit that many times,” Shanahan said. “Then all of a sudden, you do give up that big play, it takes away all the good things that we did on defense. Instead of allowing [252] yards passing, you’ve got [329].”

Indeed, the statistics don’t lie. And the rankings put the Redskins last in passing yards allowed (2,299) and tied for last in passing touchdowns yielded (16).

Until the secondary gets sorted out, the Redskins will continue to struggle. 

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NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:

  1. The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
  2. It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
  3. Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous. 
  4. While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - How freaked out should Redskins fans be after Arizona loss?

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast - How freaked out should Redskins fans be after Arizona loss?

JP Finlay and Rich Tandler address the most important question for Redskins fans after two straight losses - is it time to freak out?

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!