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Flashback Friday—Skins top Manning, Colts

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Flashback Friday—Skins top Manning, Colts


Today's Flashback Friday represents what was one of the few high points of the Steve Spurrier era. On October 27, 2002, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts went into FedEx Field and absorbed a 26-21 defeat at the hands of Shane Matthews and the Washington Redskins.

The halftime entertainment was almost as compelling as the game as many of the 70 Greatest Redskins were introduced as part of the celebration of the team's 70th anniversary season.

FedEx Field—The Redskins bolted to a 20-0 second-quarter lead and then had to hang on to beat the Colts 26-21.

Stephen Davis carried three times for 21 yards to key a drive to a 40-yard James Tuthill field goal to give the Redskins an early 3-0 lead.

It appeared that Davis was on his way to a huge game, but he went out with a knee injury after gaining 80 yards in the first half.

The Colts went three and out and the Skins moved 66 yards to make it 10-0. Shane Matthews completed passes of 15 yards to Darrius Thompson and 16 to Rod Gardner and Davis rumbled for 15 to help get Washington to the Indianapolis nine. From there, Matthews found Darnerien McCants open on a post pattern and hit him for the TD.

An 11-play, 78-yard advance culminated in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Matthews to Chris Doering. That made it 17-0 four minutes into the third quarter and about five minutes later the Redskins appeared to be in command after a 23-yard Tuthill field goal.

It soon started to come unraveled, however. Davis fumbled and was injured on the same play late in the first half. The Colts took over at the Washington three and scored three plays later on a one-yard Payton Manning sneak.

Ladell Betts' 60-yard return of the ensuing kickoff righted the ship for a while as it set up a 41-yard Tuthill field goal to make it 23-7 at intermission.

After a Fred Smoot interception, the Redskins moved in for the kill in the third quarter—or they tried to, anyway. After taking over at the Colt 14, Washington faced fourth and one at the five. Steve Spurrier eschewed the field goal and went for it. The gamble backfired as Matthews was under pressure and his pass intended for Rock Cartwright fell incomplete.

Manning and the Colts immediately drove 95 yards for a touchdown, the score coming on a 2-yard pass from Manning to running back Edgerrin James. The back powered in for the two-point conversion and all of a sudden it was a one-score game at 23-15.

A few series later a 34-yard punt return set the Colts up at the Washington 41. Four plays later, with 6:46 left to play, Indy got a chance to tie it up when Manning executed a play fake to Ricky Williams and then found him all alone running down the sideline for 20 yards and a touchdown. However, it remained 23-21 as Smoot smacked receiver Qadry Ismail just as Manning's pass arrived, jarring the ball loose.

The Skins offense did just what it needed to do. A 14-play, 66-yard drive ate up all but 18 seconds of the remaining time and Tuthill's 22-yard field goal accounted for the final score.

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN 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!