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Defense earns best grade yet vs. Vikings

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Defense earns best grade yet vs. Vikings

Defense
Grade vs. Vikings: B+
Comment: Although it may have seemed that the Redskins’ defense got pushed around in the first quarter as Vikings kicker Blair Walsh finished off consecutive drives with short field goals, in fact, keeping Minnesota out of the end zone early likely proved to be the difference in the game.

Three times, Christian Ponder and the Vikings had the ball inside the Redskins’ 10-yard line. But instead of seizing a 21-0 lead, they settled for a 9-0 edge that was quickly erased by Washington’s high-octane offense.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also deserves kudos for making significant changes to his personnel. After struggling to produce an adequate pass against the Falcons and Buccaneers, Haslett introduced special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander (season-high 27 snaps) to the rotation of linebackers and scaled back playing time for Chris Wilson (2). Recently signed Mario Addison also played 11 snaps.

Of course, the Redskins still miss two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Orakpo. But his absence was much less noticeable Sunday with Alexander enjoying a breakout game. Alexander’s fumble recovery at the Minnesota 6-yard line led to a touchdown. He also recorded 1-½ sacks of the team’s season-high four sacks.

Haslett also increased Jordan Pugh’s playing time at safety and reduced DeJon Gomes’.

“We’re going to always try to play the best players,” Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. “So if a guy like Lorenzo has a great game, we’re going to try to find ways to get him into the football game.”

The defense also produced a touchdown – again. Madieu Williams’ 24-yard interception return for a touchdown was the Redskins’ fourth defensive score of the season.

It wasn’t a flawless performance by any means. Ponder passed for 352 yards, Percy Harvin hauled in 14 receptions for 133 yards and Adrian Peterson ripped off an early 32 yard run. But the unit produced three turnovers and, although it bent in the fourth quarter, it did not break, which should give the Redskins something to build on entering next week’s NFC East opener in New York.

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3 was awfully wacky, wasn't it?

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3 was awfully wacky, wasn't it?

After Week 2, it looked like the NFL was being divided into three tiers: The bottom feeders, the inconsistent squads and the leaders.

After Week 3, though, those tiers have largely fallen apart.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

Blowouts came out of nowhere. Favorites lost to underdogs. And Joe Flacco looked good! (OK, only the first two happened).

After a classically wacky week in the league, how have the power rankings shifted? Click the above or below link to find out.

CLICK HERE FOR CSN'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

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Three things that aren't being talked about enough from Redskins-Raiders

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USA TODAY Sports

Three things that aren't being talked about enough from Redskins-Raiders

Is that what it feels like to watch the Patriots on a weekly basis?

The Redskins 27-10 victory over the Raiders on Sunday night was about as impressive of a performance as the Burgundy and Gold has produced in recent memory.

That means many of the huge storylines — like the return of Really Good Kirk Cousins, a secondary that locked down Oakland's weapons and Chris Thompson casually posting a Julio Jones-like receiving stat line — that have, and will continue to be, hashed over. But there are a few topics that are being overlooked following the Week 3 Washington win.

Here are three Redskins-Raiders things that should be talked about a little more.

1) The Redskins didn't make many mistakes, but when they did, they recovered really nicely

The 'Skins were in control of that ballgame pretty much from the start. But there were some points, like Jamison Crowder's muffed punt or Samaje Perine's fumble, where the team gave Oakland some life.

Yet Jay Gruden's team deserves more shine for the way they bounced back from those errors. The defense forced a three-and-out after Dustin Hopkins missed a 52-yarder. They also held the Raiders to three deep in their own territory when Perine put the ball on the ground. And the offense, behind Thompson's 74-yard catch-and-run, put three points on the board right after the Silver and Black scored their only TD.

Those few moments caused those at FedEx Field to hold their breath. But the Redskins' resiliency was key in maintaining their breathing room.

MORE: WE TOOK SOME SWEET PHOTOS ON SUNDAY NIGHT

2) It was another incomplete effort from Dustin Hopkins

Speaking of Hopkins, Sunday night was a good but not perfect performance.

The Redskins' kicker missed the aforementioned attempt from 52 yards away, making Week 3 the second straight time out he's missed one from 50 and beyond. He converted all three of his extra points and was true on two other field goals so it wasn't all bad, but there'll be moments in 2017 when he'll be relied upon to hit from long range, and thus far, he's come up empty.

That miss is the type of thing that gets passed over in victories. Those are pointed to very quickly in losses, however.

3) You know the D-Line was a force, but let's not forget who they did it against, either

Jim Tomsula's unit made Derek Carr look more like his brother. Once you consider who they pushed around, though, their domination becomes even more notable.

The Raiders offensive line is regarded as one of the league's elite groups, but they looked pedestrian in D.C. The four sacks they allowed were the most they've given up in their last 20 regular season and playoff games. Greg Manusky's front seven will enjoy watching the film from this one.

RELATED: SEVEN OF THE BEST STATS FROM REDSKINS-RAIDERS