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Bears—After Further Review

Bears—After Further Review

Let's dive right in to looking at what I posted live last night and how it stands up to review 24 hours later:

Pregame

Suisham is nailing field goal tries from 40 with plenty to spare—he just nailed one that went just a few feet below the top of the goal posts as it went through. It seems that he's over that midseason slump he was in. You never know with a kicker, but he looks like he's a keeper.

After he was short on a 47-yarder—well short—and wide on a shorter effort, it appears that Suisham isn't yet a certain solution as the team's kicker for the next decade.

One somewhat surprising name on the inactive list is Todd Wade. It looks like Stephon Heyer is going to get yet another opportunity to make the Redskins wonder if they need to keep spending all of this money on Wade. Or on Jon Jansen, for that matter.

I think that a good chunk of Wade's money was guaranteed and I don't think that Jansen is ready to go just yet, so the prospect of Heyer becoming a regular next year isn't strong. But he does represent inexpensive depth for the time being.

First Quarter

12:00—A good punt by Frost, netting 39 as he angled it straight out of bounds. If he can do that all day, we'll take it. In fact, if he can do that for the rest of the year, we'll take it.

While Frosty had a few poor boots, he did average a net of 38.2 yards. Against Hester—in fact, for almost any game—that's mission accomplished.

10:53—Grossman is down, he took a pretty good smack after firing an incompletion. Leg or knee got bent the wrong way, and there was an audible "ooh" in the press box when it was shown on replay. Rex is limping off.

Most of the time, watching the game in the press box is like watching the game while you're at work in an office. It's fairly quiet, people are working and having muted conversations. When they showed the replay of the play where Grossman got hurt, there was the spontaneous reaction like you would get from a group of fans watching a game in a sports bar.

Second Quarter

13:45—A great blitz pickup by Portis allows Campbell to Cooley for 22.

Clinton Portis is hardly having a banner season, but he still plays for my team. Not every so-called star RB will do things like this and love it.

2:49—Campbell is down again, this time the cart is coming out. It's a knee or something very painful in the lower leg. It has season-ending written all over it.

It may or may not be season ending. Remember, we thought that the blow to the knee he took against the Steelers in the preseason would knock him out for the year and it just put him out for the preseason. I wouldn't be shocked to see him play against Dallas if the Redskins are in a position to keep playing after that. No inside info here, just a hunch.

Third Quarter

Off the top of my head, this is the first time that the Redskins have held the opposition scoreless in the first half. Having a halftime lead, however, is no guarantee of success as we well know.

I was wrong about this. They Redskins had held the Lions scoreless in the first half, too.

5:40—The Bears ate up 6:28 to get just three points. If the Redskins don't give them a short field it will be tough for Chicago to catch up.

Of course, I remember typing something similar at this point in the Bills game.

The Redskins defense, for the most part, did a good job of forcing the Bears into dinking and dunking down the field after it got to be 14-0. Of course, you'd like to see them shut the door completely, but they're not that kind of defense at this point.

Fourth Quarter

A big third down conversion attempt as the fourth quarter opens. A pass to Betts a few minutes ago got the Redskins their third third-down conversion in 11 attempts.

14:55—Cooley with a 33-yard grab to convert. Collins threw a nice pass to his TE in the seam of the zone.

I neglected to mention that Cooley bounced off of an attempted tackle and rumbled for an additional ten yards or so after making the catch.

6:57—Third and goal at the five now after a run stop and good coverage by Doughty.

FG Gould 22
Redskins 17, Bears 13

That was a good job of tightening up as they got to the goal line, but the earlier part of the drive was just too easy. The Redskins will need a touchdown if they are going to win.

I didn't go into Griffin's tackle of Peterson on first and goal at the one. That set the Chicago offense back to the four and they couldn't punch it in from there (good to see another team having difficulties starting from first and goal. Obviously, if the Bears tie the game up there, it's a different deal altogether.

6:00—Stop the presses. The Redskins have thrown on consecutive first downs with a four-point lead. And they both were complete.

4:00—A great throw by Collins again converts a third and four after two runs.

2:45—Third and six at the 16. I've got to think that the Bears will bring the house and that if Collins can get the ball off the result will be a touchdown.

Betts 16 pass from Collins (Suisham kick)
Redskins 24, Bears 13

There has been a lot of talk about the Redskins trusting Collins to pass in situations like this while keeping the chains on Campbell. That may be the case. It also may be a case of Saunders, Gibbs, and company finally decided that they'd had enough of the futility of running into a wall all the time.

0:34—Fourth and goal at the four. The Bears will try the FG and then the onside kick.

FG Gould 21
Redskins 24, Bears 16

Ya think that Joe Gibbs would be getting hammered today if he'd kicked a field goal here? It just didn't make any sense. You have about 30 seconds left to play. You need a touchdown, a two-point conversion, and a field goal to send it into overtime. Yes, you need two scores but you're at the four. Lovie Smith is saying that he has a better shot of hitting a Hail Mary pass than he does of getting the ball into the end zone from four yards away. Fourth down at the four represents by far your best chance of getting the needed touchdown part of the equation.

If you're at the 20 with fourth and four, yes, kick the FG. But from the four, you have to go for the TD.

0:00— The Redskins have now allowed two touchdowns in their last three games and they are 1-2.

This is DC and Redskins Nation so, of course, the talk is all about the quarterback position. What gets overlooked is that the defense. They kept the Redskins in a game in which the offense committed six turnovers. Yes, they allowed one late play that put the Bills into field goal position but the game should have been over long before that. And against the Bears they control the action almost the whole way.

 

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Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know with Jordan Reed out

The Redskins moved the ball well against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but continued red zone woes again sent Washington home with a loss. While the late November schedule proved brutal for the 'Skins, playing two games in five days, now the Redskins come to Arizona for an early December game with fresh legs and ample rest. Played indoors at University of Phoenix Stadium, weather will not be a factor for the 4 p.m. EST kick, but all the action starts on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at 3 p.m. Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Keep it moving - Kirk Cousins showed he likes to get hot in the second half of the season during 2015. The quarterback's play late last year won the 'Skins the NFC East, and while a division title is out of reach with the Cowboys already at 11 wins, Cousins again looks to be on a heater. In three games since the bye, Cousins has thrown for more than 1,000 yards to go with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. The No. 1 story for the 'Skins is Cousins, and if he keeps his hot streak going, Washington should find itself in position to win in Arizona.
  2. Missing in action - This will be the final game of a four-game suspension for left tackle Trent Williams, and the Washington offensive line has performed admirably in his absence. Arguably more important this week will be the absence of tight end Jordan Reed, who suffered a serious shoulder injury in Dallas. What's wild about Reed - he came back to play in the second half against the Cowboys - and score two touchdowns - while playing with a separated shoulder. Reed did not practice this week, and Jay Gruden said his range of motion in the shoulder is just too limited to go against the Cardinals. 
  3. Consider the source - The Redskins offense might be the most potent group in this game, but Washington would be foolish to sleep on the Cardinals. Arizona was widely considered a Super Bowl contender coming into the season, and though they are in the midst of a disappointing year at 4-6-1, a win against the Skins could get the Cards back on the playoff track. Arizona running back David Johnson is the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL with 921 yards on the ground, not to mention an additional 613 yards receiving. Gruden on Johnson, "He is probably the best all-around back there is in the National Football League right now as far as being able to move outside, be a great route runner but also run between the tackles and run outside with his speed. So it’s going to be a matchup problem." Defensively, the Redskins ranks 25th in the NFL at stopping the run. Watch out for David Johnson.
  4. Problems don't just go away - Look at just about any metric on the Redskins offense, and the results are impressive: No. 2 in yards-per-game, No. 2 in yards-per-play, No. 2 in pass yards-per-game. But for all the yards, the 'Skins don't score at a corresponding clip as they rank 9th in the NFL in points. The culprit? Red zone troubles. "There are so many good things we’re doing on offense to put a damper on what they’re doing offensively with the red zone. It’s hard to do, but it’s something that is a glaring weakness of this football team right now," Gruden said of his team. The best road to wins for the Redskins is by scoring, ideally at least 30 points, and that will require some success inside the 20s.
  5. The harder they fall - If the Arizona offense has an Achilles heel, it's their offensive line. Carson Palmer has been sacked 16 times in the Cards last four games, and the 'Skins need to focus on bringing Palmer down. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy - who will be playing in his hometown - have been the leaders at getting sacks for Joe Barry's defense, and Preston Smith could be in line for another big game. Getting to Carson Palmer should be among the defense's top priorities, as that can slow Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards pass game.

Numbers & Notes:

  • DeSean Jackson's 67-yard reception in Dallas was a season long and his longest since a 77-yard touchdown vs. Buffalo in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
  • Kirk Cousins' 3,540 passing yards in 2016 now rank 10th-most in a single season in team history, and he still has five games left to play.
  • The Redskins offense ranks first in the NFL in percentage of fewest 3-and-out drives at 9.5 percent.
  • If Pierre Garçon can gain 137 receiving yards on Sunday, he will pass Michael Westbrook for 10th-most career receiving yards in team history.
  • With nine sacks, Ryan Kerrigan is one sack away from becoming the fifth member of the Redskins (Dexter Manley, 4; Charles Mann, 4; Andre Carter, 2; Brian Orakpo, 2) to post multiple 10-sack seasons since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.

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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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances