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Redskins report card vs Eagles—O-line shines

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Redskins report card vs Eagles—O-line shines

Here are my grades for some of the key players and other elements in Sunday’s 27-20 win over the Eagles.

A

Let’s give the Redskins’ offensive line an A+. They opened holes for three different running backs, setting up the team’s best day running the ball in nearly four years. They kept Kirk Cousins clean against one of the league’s top pass rushing units (the Eagles had at least three sacks in each of their first four games).

How often have the Redskins faced a fill-in player in a key position and then failed to exploit the weakness? Yesterday Ryan Kerrigan lined up against Eagles right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, a rookie getting his first snaps in the NFL. Kerrigan dominated the matchup, getting two sacks before the Eagles knew what hit them.

The team’s mindset is as solid as a rock. Past Redskins teams would have folded and allowed the Eagles 14-0 run on the kickoff return and interception return to turn into a tidal wave. Instead, they scored the next 10 points and reestablished control of the game.

I suppose that somebody will look at film of Matt Jones’ from yesterday and figure that he should have gained 300 yards. But he played pretty well while rushing for a career best 135 yards. His 57-yard run was the Redskins’ longest in a “run out the clock” situation (up by 1-7 points, less than 2 minutes left) since at least 1994.

Related: The numbers indicate a major Redskins turnaround

B

Tight end Vernon Davis was ready to go in the absence of Jordan Reed. He had two receptions for 50 yards, not up to Reed’s usual production but good enough. He gets dinged a bit because of what turned out to be a very costly celebration penalty, but not a lot because it’s a dumb rule.

After being in town for just a couple of weeks Donte Whitner made an impact. He played 40 snaps, got four solo tackles and was solid in coverage. Duke Ihenacho started but played just 17 snaps. Read into that what you will.

Normally someone who plays just nine snaps has too small a sample size to evaluate. But Robert Kelley’s 45-yard run was a thing of beauty as he changed direction and navigated through traffic.

Josh Norman had a very quiet day. The Eagles threw at him just once, for 12 yards. It’s hard to have much impact when they won’t send any action your way.

Related: Redskins defense continues second half dominance

C

Is it fair to give Kirk Cousins a C when he passed for 263 yards in a win? Maybe not but the pick six was ugly and he completed just eight of 20 passes after that. His passer rating was 85.8, under the NFL average of 89.5. So you can add a plus to the C but it was about an average quarterbacking performance.

DeSean Jackson probably didn’t have as big a day as he wanted to against his old team and he did have a drop of a likely TD. But he did have four catches for 55 yards, including a 35-yard reception that helped set up the Redskins’ first touchdown.

Who else deserves a good grade? Who should get a bad one? Sound off here in the comments!

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]