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Redskins' defense, RG3 pummel reeling Eagles

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Redskins' defense, RG3 pummel reeling Eagles

In summary: The Redskins will depart for Dallas later this week with something to play for after all.

“That’s what you have to do,” Coach Mike Shanahan said after Sunday's 31-6 vicory over the hapless Eagles, the most lopsided victory in his two-plus season tenure. “This is a tough profession. We’ve lost some tough games, some games we should have won. A number of games were [close] heading into the fourth quarter. You don’t get it done, so you find out what type of character you do have and the toughest [players] on your football team.” 

“It was a game we had to have," he added. "We knew that.”

And for 60 minutes they played like it, pummeling a staggering opponent that’s begun to come apart at the seams.

Since the outcome was never in doubt, these three stats ought to do a pretty good job of summing up the events at FedEx Field:

  • Robert Griffin III was 14 of 15 passing for 200 yards, a career-high four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 84-yards on 12 carries – four more yards on the ground than the Eagles had combined. Griffin finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3. 
  • Griffin’s counterpart, fellow rookie Nick Foles, was sacked four times by a relentless Redskins’ pass rush that took full advantage of the Eagles’ makeshift offensive line. Foles also was intercepted by DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Meriweather.
  • The six points the Redskins’ defense yielded were the fewest since a 10-3 win over the Eagles in 2008. Whether that speaks to home team’s prowess or the Eagles’ messy state of affairs probably depends on whom you ask.

Unfortunately for the 4-6 Redskins, they won’t get much time to savor their first victory in four games. In fact, they are scheduled to practice Monday afternoon at Redskins Park in preparation for their Thanksgiving Day showdown against the 5-5 Cowboys, who beat the Browns, 23-20, in overtime.

“Due to the fact that we play on Thanksgiving, I’m already looking forward to [Dallas],” wide receiver Santana Moss said. “So I’m not even thinking about [Philadelphia]. I’m already moving on and ready to get the body rested up so we can go out there and play Thursday.”

Here are eight more notes, quotes and observations:

Turning point: The Redskins were leading 14-3 late in the second quarter when Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had the ball knocked from his grasp by nose tackle Barry Cofield. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan wrestled the loose ball away at the bottom of the pile, and three plays later, kicker Kai Forbath booted a 25-yard field goal to send the Redskins into the locker room with a 17-3 lead and the Eagles doubting themselves. 

Forbath is now 9 for 9, the best mark to open a career for a Redskins’ kicker. Graham Gano was 8 for 8, spanning the 2009-10 seasons.

Offensive play of the game: The Redskins were leading 17-6 in the third quarter, when Griffin sidestepped the Eagles’ rush and heaved a deep ball to wide receiver Santana Moss.

Generously listed at 5 foot 10, 189 pounds, Moss leaped between safety Kurt Coleman and cornerback Brandon Boykin to haul in the 61-yard touchdown pass. After the score, Griffin did an exaggerated fist pump as an official tossed a flag behind him. Eagles tackle Cullen Jenkins mocked Griffin’s gesture, thinking the flag would negate the touchdown. As it turned out, though, the flag was on Philly.

“We had a nice discussion about that on the field,” said Griffin, who walked over to talk to Jenkins. “He said he felt like an idiot after it. It’s good to see guys out there having fun.”

Defensive play of the game: Brandon Meriweather made up for lost time Sunday. In the first quarter of his season debut, the veteran safety read Foles perfectly, stepped between the quarterback and DeSean Jackson and made his first interception of the season.

Meriweather also returned the ball 25 yards, showing no ill effects of the left knee injury that had sidelined him all season. While the pick didn’t result in points for the Redskins, it halted a promising Eagles’ drive with Washington leading 7-0.

Meriweather finished with seven tackles, tied for second on the team. But he also left the game in the third quarter after straining his right knee.

“I actually think the fact that all four of our starters [in the secondary] were together for the first time just brought a [boost] to our defense,” Meriweather said. “We realize that everything falls on us, so we played like it.”

Injury report: Meriweather said he hopes to play Thursday, but he walked out of the Redskins locker room with a pronounced limp. Meriweather said he missed the rest of the game for precautionary reasons.

“It was more us thinking about the future,” Meriweather said. “We were already up by so much and the defense was playing great.”

…Josh Wilson said he’s okay after suffering a shoulder injury late in the fourth quarter. Wilson has been on the injury report with a shoulder ailment for several weeks.

…Wide receiver Pierre Garçon returned after missing four games with a foot injury but was used sparingly. “Foot felt all right,” Garçon said. “It felt good enough to go out there and help as much as I could.”

Garçon said he intends to suit up in Dallas, but also voiced concerns about playing on the field turf. “It’s going to be another challenge to get out there,” Garçon said.

…Tight end Logan Paulsen left the game briefly in the second half because of a left hip injury. He said the doctors checked him out and don’t believe he’ll miss any time.

…Eagles running back LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion and was carted off the field in the fourth quarter.

Quote of the day: Griffin: “God blessed me with the ability to move around a lot more than other quarterbacks. You try to use that when you can [such as when] a guy is not open, so you don’t have to force things. But when guys are open, you get them the rock and let them make plays.”

Quote of the day, Part II: Eagles Coach Andy Reid on his team’s six-game losing streak: “It’s my responsibility to make sure these guys get an opportunity to do the right thing, and get them to do the right thing. I am not doing a good enough job at it.”

Game ball: Griffin earns it this week with a near perfect performance in a game his team simply had to win. With 2,193 passing yards and 613 rushing yards, he’s only the third rookie to surpass 2,000 yards passing and 500 rushing in the same season. Vince Young and Cam Newton are the others.

By the numbers: With 169 rushing yards, the Redskins have topped 150 yards eight times in 10 games this season. That’s more than any other team. They also added to their league leading penalty total, getting flagged 13 times for 80 yards.

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Forced to make decision on rookie, Redskins move Keith Marshall to injured reserve

Forced to make decision on rookie, Redskins move Keith Marshall to injured reserve

The Redskins liked rookie running back Keith Marshall, and the team gave the former Georgia Bulldog every chance to make the roster.

Ultimately he did not get that chance, as an elbow injury will land Marshall on the injured reserve.

Marshall sustained the injury in the team's third preseason game against the Bills. Even before the elbow injury, Marshall failed to capitalize on the opportunity to backup Matt Jones.

In games against the Jets and the Falcons, Marshall struggled to gain much ground and eventually he slid behind Robert Kelley on the team's depth chart.

For now, it appears Kelley is a lock for the Redskins 53-man roster and Marshall heads to the IR. 

Scot McCloughan and the 'Skins also made two other roster moves to get the squad to the 75-man limit following this morning's release of veterans Perry Riley and Stephen Paea. Tight end Derek Carrier was moved to the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list and rookie WR Reggie Diggs was waived with an injured designation.

Carrier's move to the PUP list was expected, and Diggs had little chance to make the roster as an undrafted receiver even before an injury limited his training camp.

RELATED: WHAT WILL THE 53-MAN ROSTER LOOK LIKE?

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After Tony Romo injury, a new odds favorite emerges in NFC East

After Tony Romo injury, a new odds favorite emerges in NFC East

The Redskins won nine games and the NFC East title last season, but that hardly matters to the sports books.. 

Since odds came out in May, Bovada.lv gave the Dallas Cowboys the best chance to win the division, but given recent events, things shifted.

Last week in a preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo fell awkwardly and stayed on the ground in apparent pain. 

Initial reports suggested Romo might have handled the hit unscathed, but news came out last weekend that Romo cracked vertebrae in his back and will miss extended action. 

The Cowboys now turn to rookie Dak Prescott at QB - and in turn - Vegas turned elsewhere for their NFC East favorite.

Still, it's not the defending champion Redakins.

With odds of 7/4 Bovada likes the New York Giants to win the NFC East. The Redskins are now tied with the Cowboys at 12/5 while the Eagles come in at 6/1.

In late May Bovada put the odds of winning the NFC East as:

  1. Cowboys 7/4
  2. Giants 9/4
  3. (TIE) Redskins 15/4, Eagles 15/4

Curiously, the oddsmakers have moved up the Giants odds despite New York's struggles in the preseason. 

Regardless, it's obvious that the wise guys still don't have high expectations for Washington.

RELATED: NEW ODDS FOP 2016 NFL MVP

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Redskins' Trent Williams on Stephen Paea and Perry Riley release: 'It's tough, man'

Redskins' Trent Williams on Stephen Paea and Perry Riley release: 'It's tough, man'

The first surprising Redskins cuts of the summer hit this morning when word got out that linebacker Perry Riley and defensive lineman Stephen Paea had been released. For coach Jay Gruden it was a decision that had to be made.

“It's what goes into every decision when we release anybody,” said Gruden. “It takes a lot of thought. A lot of times now when you have the depth we feel like we have it's not so much about the players we release as about the players we kept and we'll leave it at that. We've got some guys at linebacker we feel have played extremely well and we've got some guys on the defensive line we feel like are competing and playing well.”

The play of others certainly was part of the decisions to let Paea and Riley go. Although Gruden did not say it, it’s likely that money was involved as well. Releasing the two players saves a total of $7.3 million in salary. Although there is nearly $5 million in dead money that will have to be accounted for, that cash has already been spent. The bottom line is that Riley ($4 million) and Paea ($3.3 million) were making too much to be backups and that’s what thy were.

But to their teammates it’s much more than about dollars and positions on the depth chart. Riley and offensive tackle Trent Williams both came to the Redskins in the 2010 draft.

“It's tough, man, it's tough,” said Williams. “Especially with Perry. He was one of my best friends on the team, we came in together, we got drafted together, roommates together. I think the whole team was kind of blindsided by that one.”

Paea and Riley both are 28 and both are likely to get another shot at the NFL.

“Those two guys are excellent football players, I imagine they'll catch on somewhere else and do well,” said Gruden. “They have a lot of football left in their career. They're both great guys who worked hard and it was just a part of the decision process.”

Mason Foster should know. He came in after the season started last year when some linebackers started to get banged up. One of them was Riley. Foster took over the starting job when Riley went out with a broken foot. Now Foster is the starter and Riley is out of a job.

“He’s a great player, everybody knows he's a great player,” Foster said of Riley. “He'll get a chance to play someplace else.”