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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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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0: CORNERING THE MARKET

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.