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Giants—After Further Review

Giants—After Further Review

Fishing a few nuggets out of last night's stream of consciousness.

Pregame

--Dallas lost which, as I said earlier, is OK with me. If—and it's a big if—the Redskins' chances of making the playoffs comes down to the last game, I'd rather it mean something to the Cowboys. After last week's near-miss against the Lions and today's dud against Philly, they're running into choppy waters for the first time of the year and at the worst time of the year. Not only that, the Redskins went toe to toe with them in Dallas last month. Bring 'em on.

I got a comment last night lamenting the fact that Dallas may not have the top seed wrapped up when they go to FedEx on the eve of New Year's Eve. And I certainly can understand that point of view. Who wouldn't rather face Brad Johnson and Sam Hurd than Tony Romo and TO? Still, I hate games that have no meaning for one or both teams. It would be great to force the Cowboys to travel to Lambeau to play in the NFC title game.

That is, if they make it that far. They haven't exactly looked like one of the best teams out there the last couple of weeks, needing a late score to beat a reeling Lions team and failing to post a TD in losing at home to the Eagles.

First Quarter

12:10—McIntosh is down with an injury. He's sitting up and it doesn't appear to be that bad, but the way this season is going for the Skins on the injury front anything is possible.

As we now know, it was quite serious. His year is done and training camp seems to be in jeopardy after suffering multiple torn knee ligaments. H. B. Blades and, in passing situations, Khary Campbell played well in Rocky's spot. This team was being panned for having no depth at the beginning of the year. McIntosh with be the 12th of the 22 opening-day starters to miss a start. He is the sixth of that group to suffer a season-ending injury (counting Jason Campbell, who may or may not be back for the playoffs, and, of course, Sean Taylor in that group). The fact that they're 7-7 and in the playoff hunt is quite a tribute to their depth.

A low line drive by Suisham gets the Skins on the board.

FG Suisham 50
Redskins 3, Giants 0

It was officially a 49-yarder and it would have been good from 55. Suisham is getting his leg back under him and he's again looking like a valuable asset. Still, he's far from proven. I'd like to see him with a 40+ yard attempt with the Skins trailing Dallas by two in the fourth quarter.

Second quarter

14:10—Collins is now 0-8. He's been getting some pressure, but he's been misfiring with time to throw, too.

Yes, Collins started out poorly and wasn't spectacular at any point. Eventually, he seemed to figure out the wind's effect on the ball and he dropped a couple into the arms of Moss to get things going. The important thing was that he didn't put the ball anywhere near a Giant's hands.

Who says the third-down draw won't work?

Betts 14 run (Suisham kick)
Redskins 13, Giants 0

I was thinking, of course, of the pure hell that Gibbs and Saunders caught for calling a draw play in the fourth quarter of the Eagles game in Week 10. It was third and goal at the seven with the Redskins up by two. Portis was stuffed, the Skins settled for a field goal and Philly was able to come back for the win. This one was on third and nine at the 14 with the Redskins up by six. Is there a difference in the two play calls other than one of them worked and one didn't? When it works, you're a genius, when it doesn't you're an idiot.

1:51—Bad, bad play by Landry after a great, great play. He pops the ball out of Burress' hands and then taunts him. Dumb, dumb, dumb. The rookie needs to grow up.

At least when he popped the Bears receiver late he gained a little bit of an intimidation factor in exchange for the 15 yards. Wagging your finger at a receiver doesn't get you anything except laughed at.

Landry cost them three points. I think Joe Gibbs was very tempted to use words stronger than "buns" when he saw that penalty.

You could make a case that he didn't really cost the Skins three points, at least not in net terms. If the Giants punt there the Skins probably are pinned back well inside the 20 with about 1:45 to go. Maybe they drive for a field goal from there, maybe they don't. It was a lot easier to do so after getting the kickoff return to the 30, that's for sure. So, it's possible that the Redskins carry a 13-point lead into the locker room regardless of Landry's penalty. That doesn't make it OK by any means, but the net result wasn't too damaging.

Third Quarter

Portis has 16 carries for 88 yards after a slow start. If he hits near those same numbers in the second half and the Redskins continue to play with what I'll call intelligent aggression, the Skins will win. Oh, and the D needs to adjust to NY's halftime adjustments.

Portis ended up with 25 carries for 126 so he had nine for 38 in the second half, so his production did drop off in the second half. Actually, the team's offensive output after the opening drive of the second half was minimal. They had 197 in the first half, 46 on the drive that made it 22-3 and just 66 after that.

1:47—Thank you, Amani Toomer. He smoked Springs and then flat-out dropped a pass in Washington territory.

A couple of New York and national media outlets have been saying that Toomer dropped a sure touchdown here. No. Landry was playing his deep safety position and he was in the vicinity of Toomer, who isn't going to outrun anyone, much less Landry. New York would have had the ball in Redskins territory, but not very deep and certainly not anywhere near the goal line.

Fourth Quarter

13:10—Tynes (I think I've misspelled his name earlier once or twice) goes wide left on a 38-yard try. I still think the Skins will need another score, but a 12-point lead looks pretty nice right now.

That was more the lack of confidence caused by so many second-half collapses than logic talking there. That, and a memory of Manning going from looking awful to leading the Giants back in the fourth quarter against Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Still, for all intents and purposes, the Tynes miss sealed it for the Redskins. Even if he'd hit it it still was a two-score game.

5:10—Portis for four. A big third and six coming up here. I'm not sure what the call will be, which is a good thing. A few weeks ago, I knew it would be a run.

Again, not really being rational here. There was a zero percent chance that Collins was going to drop back there. The only way the Giants were going to get back into the game was with a turnover and quick score.

1:54—Ironic, isn't it? Betts was in at the end in September against the Giants and he couldn't score. Today, he gets three carries and the Skins go into victory formation.

Of course, it was a very, very different situation compared to when Betts couldn't get into the end zone in Week 3, but there was a touch of irony there.

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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

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

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Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

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