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Flashback Friday—Redskins vs. Rams

Flashback Friday—Redskins vs. Rams

Despite the alliteration, Redskins-Rams doesn't necessarily roll off of the tongue when talking about great NFL rivals. The truth is that the teams have been adversaries both on and off the field in some interesting, even historic, confrontations.

The Washington Redskins had never lost to the Cleveland Rams in five games when the two teams squared off in the 1945 NFL Championship Game. With no score in the first quarter Sammy Baugh went back to pass in his own end zone. He spotted star receiver Wayne Milner at the ten but his pass smacked off of the goal post (they were on the goal line then). Under the rules in force at the time the Rams got two points for a safety. While the rule was changed prior to the next season, it was too late to help Baugh and the Redskins, who lost that title because of the two points awarded to Cleveland, 15-14.

That would be the last postseason game the Redskins would play in for the next 25 seasons. To try to end that drought, Washington hired George Allen, who had just been fired by the Los Angeles Rams, in 1971. While there were bitter feelings between the coach and his former team, it didn't keep the two parties from getting together for what still is the biggest trade in NFL history involving just two teams. Fifteen players and draft picks exchanged hands in the 1971 draft day deal.

That season the Redskins were on the verge of breaking that quarter-century playoff drought, but they had to beat, you guessed it, the Rams in the 13th game of the 14-game slate. It did not start off well for Washington. Kermit Alexander picked off a Billy Kilmer pass and dashed down the sideline 82 yards for a 7-0 Ram lead. A 70-yard bomb from Kilmer to Roy Jefferson tied it up before the first quarter ended. It was tied at 10 in the second quarter when Kilmer hit Clifton McNeil with a 32-yard scoring pass. On the ensuing kickoff the Redskins' control of the game turned into command of it when the Rams fumbled, the Redskins recovered, and Larry Brown bulled over from the one six plays later.

The Rams threatened to rally back into it in the second half, cutting what was a 31-10 Redskins lead to 31-24. They got no closer, though, as Speedy Duncan locked up the Redskins' long-awaited playoff berth with a 44-yard return of an interception for a touchdown and a 38-24 Washington win.

That game had the atmosphere of a playoff game but following the 1983 season the Redskins and Rams hooked up in an actual elimination game. Washington was coming off of a bye week, the Rams had to travel to Texas Stadium to eliminate the Cowboys the previous week. The Redskins had gone 14-2 in the regular season; the Rams had snuck into the playoffs with a 9-7 mark. They had met previously, with Washington taking it to the Rams in California 42-20.

The game went precisely to form. After 16 minutes of play it was 24-0 as Art Monk had caught a touchdown pass and John Rigging had two touchdown runs. Meanwhile, a rookie defensive back named Darrell Green was flying all over the field making tackles and breaking up passes. Appropriately, Green scored the last points in the 51-7 rout, snatching a pass that had bounced off of Eric Dickerson's hands and, in a flash, taking back 72 yards for a touchdown.

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Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 17; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 25

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Long's concussion could force roster move

First look at Redskins vs. Eagles

The last time: The Redskins won 27-20 at FedEx Field in Week 6 in a game that was not really as close as the score indicated. The Redskins outgained the Eagles 4923 yards to 239 and had the ball for 10 more minutes. Philly scored on a kickoff return and an interception return in a three-minute span in the second quarter and that was about all they had. The Redskins have now beaten the Eagles four straight times. 

The Eagles leaders: Quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a hot start, posting three passer ratings of over 100 in his first four games. In eight games since his passer rating is 70.1 and his high in a game is 91.4. Leading rusher Ryan Matthew had his first 100-yard game in Week 10; he shares the load with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Jordan Matthews (57 receptions, 686 yards) is expected back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sacks leader Brandon Graham (5.0) has only one sack in the last six games.

Be on the lookout: The Eagles have been getting it done on special teams for years. This year they have two kickoff return touchdowns and Darren Sproles averages 13.7 yards per punt return including a 66-yarder.

Hodgepodge: A Washington win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles with three to play. Barring a Philly win out/Redskins lose out scenario the Redskins would be out of last place in the NFC East in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-2003 . . . The Redskins already are ensured of avoiding double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002 . . . The Eagles have allowed over 400 yards of offense in two of their last three games.

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When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field. 

"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."

Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.

Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.

"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."

For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.

Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards. 

If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end. 

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