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RG3 leads decisive drives in Redskins' win over Giants

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RG3 leads decisive drives in Redskins' win over Giants

The Redskins’ season was in the balance when they started a drive at their own 14 with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.

The Giants had just scored on a field goal to take a 16-10 lead. If New York would have been able to hang on they would have had a stranglehold on the NFC East, a three game lead with four to play. Even a wild card spot in the postseason would be very much a longshot for the Redskins if they fell to 5-7.

But, as we have seen all year long, the moment was not too big for quarterback Robert Griffin III. He was asked what his mindset was when they took the huddle at that time.

“Just go score,” he said. “The guys took it to heart.”

Alfred Morris got things started runs of 10 and 16 yards. Griffin scooted around left end for seven. A nine-yard pass to Morgan got them into New York territory at the 41. Hankerson caught a slant for 14 yards that made it first and goal at the eight. Wasting no time, Griffin rolled right and sucked up the defense thinking he was going run. His touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon was an easy toss and the Redskins were up 17-16 with 11 and a half minutes left to play.

Garçon was the target of 11 of the 21 passes Griffin threw and he caught eight for 106 yards.

“He’s supposed to be our guy and he’s playing like it,” said Griffin of the Redskins’ prize free agent acquisition of the offseason.

The 12-play drive didn’t have any tense moments. They didn’t face a single third down and their most challenging down and distance was second and seven.

Just because the drive was relatively easy, though, doesn’t mean that it weren’t some tense moments before the Redskins could post their third straight win.

A sack stopped the Giants’ subsequent possession. The Redskins pushed into Giants territory on their next drive but a questionable pass interference penalty spiked it. A holding penalty negated a first down in Redskins territory on the Giants’ next drive and they punted it away.

The Redskins got the ball at their own 27 with 3:51 left. They certainly did not want to allow Eli Manning, who had beaten them with an improbable bomb in the last minutes of their game in October, to get his hands on the ball with any amount of time left on the clock.

They picked up one first down on Darrel Young’s four-year run on second and two. That forced New York to start burning its timeouts. On second and eight Griffin dropped back and fired a bullet over the middle to Garçon, who caught it for 17 yards.

The final nail in the Giants’ coffin came a few plays later when Morris pounded up the middle for six yards on third and three. One play from victory formation later, the Redskins were winners.

“We made the plays when it counted,” said Griffin. “I couldn’t be any more proud of the guys.”

Although Griffin said that “stats don’t mean anything” his numbers were pretty good. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and the touchdown for a passer rating of 101.9. Griffin did not throw an interception and he was not sacked. On the ground, he gained 72 yards on five carries, including a 46-yard dash in the third quarter.

The Redskins now trail the division leading Giants by one game with four to play. New York now has three division losses while the Washington has only one. That means that the Redskins potentially has the tiebreaker advantage should they catch New York for the division lead.

“There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this team and I think everybody feels it,” said Griffin.

A lot of people are feeling it and RG3 is the man mainly responsible for creating it. 

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The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

The Final Countdown: Redskins defense can't stop Matt Stafford for 5th worst play of 2016

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. 5 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Lions Week 7

0:22 left in Q4, Lions ball at the Redskins 18, 3rd and 10, Redskins leading 17-13

Matthew Stafford pass short left to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

More Redskins: Podcast--All eyes now on Cousins

Tandler: The Redskins had just taken the lead on a nifty 19-yard option run by Kirk Cousins with 1:05 left to play. All they had to do was keep the Lions out of the end zone but the defense was not up to the task. In fact, it was laughably easy for Stafford. The first three times he dropped back he completed passes for 23, 14, and 20 yards and just like that the Lions were in the red zone. It looked for a minute like the Redskins might hang on as two passes went incomplete. But on third down Stafford found Boldin open inside the five and the defense couldn’t get there quickly enough to keep him out of the end zone.

Related: Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky

Finlay: 65 seconds was all the 'Skins defense needed to preserve a win by holding the Lions without a touchdown. 65 seconds away from a five-game win streak, and knowing what we do now, a playoff berth. The Redskins defense couldn't stop Stafford, or Boldin, and lost in Detroit. A gut wrenching loss as the momentum on the Washington sideline seemed incredibly high just minutes before when Cousins ran in what looked like the game-winning score. 

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!

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Who else could be trade partners with the Redskins in a Cousins deal?

Who else could be trade partners with the Redskins in a Cousins deal?

With the offensive and defensive coordinators now in place, the Redskins now turn their attention to two other matters.

One is the NFL combine, which gets underway on February 28. The other is the NFL franchise tag deadline, which happens to come the very next day, on March 1.

There has been plenty of talk lately about the possibility of the Redskins giving Kirk Cousins the franchise tag designation and then trading him if they don’t think that they will be able to sign him to a long-term deal.

While one team, the 49ers, has been talked about as a potential landing spot for Cousins they would not be the only interested team if there is going to be a deal.

Let’s take a look at what teams might be moderately interested or highly interested.

RELATED: GRUDEN'S FATE WITH REDSKINS HINGES ON MANUSKY

49ers (2-14)
Head coach:
Vacant, but will be Kyle Shanahan after the Super Bowl
First-round pick: No. 2
2016 leading passer: Colin Kaepernick

Connecting the dots here is easy as Shanahan was the offensive coordinator when Cousins was drafted by the Redskins in 2012. There would be no need for the two to get familiar with each other; they had two years to do that. Cousins seems like a natural fit in Shanahan’s offense. The 49ers are likely to move on from Kaepernick rather than taking his $19.4 million cap hit. They may try to move that No. 2 pick, or a package of other picks, to try to get Cousins. Anticipated interest: High

Bears (3-13)
Head coach:
John Fox
First-round pick: No. 3
2016 leading passer: Matt Barkley

This is the year that the Bears can finally move on from Jay Cutler without taking a crippling cap hit. Releasing Cutler, who played in just five games last year due to injury, would cost them just $2 million in dead cap. But do they really want to move on from Cutler, who wasn’t bad the last two years he was able to play? If they do, it seems unlikely that they would part with the No. 3 pick. Anticipated interest: Moderate

RELATED: 2017 MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Jets (5-11)
Head coach:
Todd Bowles
First-round pick: No. 6
2016 leading passer: Ryan Fitzpatrick

In the last four drafts, the Jets have spent a second-round pick on Geno Smith, a fourth on Bryce Petty and a second on Christian Hackeberg. Smith is on his way out, Petty was shaky in four starts last year and Hackenberg didn’t see the field as a rookie. It would not be surprising to see them shop for an established, young-ish starter like Cousins. The No. 6 pick might be too much for Cousins. Another factor to consider is if Cousins would agree to a long-term deal to play in New York. They would have to carve out some cap space to get a deal done; they currently are $7.7 million over the anticipated cap. Anticipated interest: Moderate

Browns (1-15)
Head coach:
Hue Jackson
First-round pick: No. 1 and No. 12
2016 leading passer: Cody Kessler

Robert Griffin III is under contract for 2017 with a $6 million salary plus a $1.5 million roster bonus that the Browns can move on from for a relatively modest $1.75 million cap hit. It would not be outrageous for them to deal the No. 12 pick for Cousins. The question is if Cousins would want to be the latest QB to join the Browns’ Trail of Tears. Anticipated interest: Moderate

Other possibilities: The Cardinals might wonder if Carson Palmer’s slide from MVP candidate to mediocrity will continue and look to bring in an alternative . . . The Broncos can’t be happy with Trevor Simeon as their long-term starter and if they didn’t like what they saw from Paxton Lynch they might want to deal. But John Elway isn’t going to overpay . . . It will be another year before the Texans can move on from Brock Osweiler without a killer cap hit but they could just bench him and bring in their long-term answer a year early . . . Blake Bortles has just one more year left on his rookie deal and the Jaguars may move to get his replacement this year.

Note: The Rams are not mentioned here despite the presence of Sean McVay. They gave up a lot of draft picks to move up to No. 1 overall to take Jarred Goff last year and while he struggled they are not going to move on from him after one season. 

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS FREE AGENTS

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