Quick Links

RG3, Redskins glad to take ugly win over Raiders

rg3-at-line-vs-raiders.png

RG3, Redskins glad to take ugly win over Raiders

It wasn’t pretty and it was closer than the final score looked but the Redskins surely don’t care. They got their first win of 2013 by rallying from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to beat the Raiders 24-14.

They don’t care that the Raiders played their backup quarterback as Terrelle Pryor missed the game with a concussion and that starting running back Darren McFadden left the game very early with a hamstring strain.

“We had to do whatever it takes to come out of this 1-3 going into the bye week,” said quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Like the game, Griffin’s performance was not a thing of beauty. Some passes were off target, he made a few key mistakes, and he still doesn’t seem to have his scrambling legs under him. But he made some plays when he had to and he helped the Redskins rally.

For the first time this year, Griffin did not throw an interception. His final stat line was 18 for 31 for 227 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 91.7. Griffin gained 10 yards rushing on three carries.

It was the first time in four games this season that Griffin did not throw for more than 300 yards. It is not a coincidence that this was the Redskins’ first win of the year. The offense works best with a balance of passes and runs. They achieved that today with 32 pass plays and 32 runs.

His most highlight-worthy play came midway through the fourth quarter with the Redskins clinging to a 17-14 lead. The Redskins had just recovered a Matt Flynn fumble on the Oakland 42. On first down Griffin dropped back, looked deep, found nothing, stepped up, executed a spin move, rolled right and hit Roy Helu Jr. in stride about 10 yards downfield. Helu contributed to the highlight quality of the play by hurdling over a would-be tackler and getting a few more yards down to the 14.

It turns out the play involved some improvisation by both Griffin and Helu.

“[I] talked to the offensive line, asked them to give me a little time because we had a deep concept going. I came out of it,” said Griffin. “No. 1 and 2 (his first and second options) weren’t there so I had to pull it down and try to get to No. 4.

“They did a good job holding up on the play and then Helu actually did a great job running an off-schedule route as well. You get out that, the backside corner blitzed, that’s what made me have to step up and move out of it. Then I rolled out and got it to Helu.”

On the next play Helu dashed up the middle into the end zone to give the Redskins some breathing room.

After the Raiders initially took command of the game by scoring one touchdown on a blocked punt and another on Flynn’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera, the Redskins started to climb back into it. They got the offense moving by going no-huddle on a drive that got the Redskins on the board.

After the Redskins moved to second and goal at the Raiders four, Griffin made one of his errors. Facing pass rush pressure up the middle, he just heaved the ball away and was flagged for intentional grounding. The Redskins had to settle for a 25-yard John Potter field goal.

“It’s just to give you a little spark,” Griffin said of the no-huddle attack. “It caught them off guard. It’s a curve ball you can give them every now and then.”

The next points came courtesy of the Redskins’ defense. David Amerson picked off a Flynn pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown and all of a sudden it was 14-10.

The two teams then reverted to what may have been good defense but probably was inefficient offense until midway through the third quarter. After Sebastian Janikowski missed a field goal, the Redskins took over on their own 42. In a drive that was some Alfred Morris running (3 carries for 29 yards and some Griffin passing (3 of 4 for 26 yards), the Redskins moved in. The payoff came on a quick third-down dart to Pierre Garçon, who made the catch and fell into the end zone.

That gave the Redskins their first second-half lead of the season at 17-14. The defense did the rest, stopping Flynn on an attempted quarterback sneak on fourth and inches to snuff out the Raiders’ last threat.

Quick Links

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

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!

Quick Links

Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL:

Before we get going, let’s line up the NFL wild card contenders by current seed and their remaining four games.

Giants (8-4): Cowboys, Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins
Bucs (7-5): Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (6-5-1): @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Vikings (6-6): @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Packers (6-6): Seahawks, @Bears, Vikings, @Lions
Cardinals (5-6-1): @Dolphins, Saints, @Seahawks, @Rams
Saints (5-7): @Bucs, @Cardinals, Bucs, @Falcons
Eagles (5-7): Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys

—The Redskins can knock the Eagles out of any practical chance of making the playoffs with a win on Sunday. An Eagles loss would mean they could finish no better than 8-8 and that is highly unlikely to get it done this year.

—For a second straight week, Redskins fans need to root for Cowboys to win. Or for their opponent to lose. Some wanted to make that distinction last week when Cowboys played the Vikings and the optimal outcome for the Redskins was a Dallas win. However you want to look at it, a Giants loss to Dallas could move the Redskins to within a half game of the No. 5 seed.

MORE REDSKINS: Assessing the four remainig opponents

—There should be no hesitation about pulling for the Saints to beat the Bucs. A Washington win and a Tampa Bay loss puts the Redskins back into playoff position with the No. 6 seed. The Bucs are 2.5-point favorites at home. They are the hot team, coming in with four straight wins while New Orleans has lost three of four. The Saints are on the fringe of contention but Redskins fans need to pull for the teams ahead of Washington in the standings.

—The Redskins can’t look for much help when it comes to the team immediately behind them in the standings. The Vikings visit the Jaguars, who are locked in to yet another season of double-digit losses. You might be tempted to look for the home underdog to put up a fight and they might. But Blake Bortles has thrown three pick sixes this year and the Vikings have returned two interceptions for TDs this year. Look for such a play to be decisive and for the Vikings to remain tight with Washington in the standings.

—The other team a half game behind the Redskins is the Packers. They host the Seahawks in what could be very snowy conditions in Green Bay. Seattle is a three-point favorite but if the weather gets crazy anything could happen. Redskins fans need to root for the Seahawks, for obvious reasons.

RELATED: Three Redskins out on Sunday, Reed questionable

—The Cardinals creeped back into contention with their win over the Redskins. That win and the fact that they have a tie on their ledger means that the Redskins do not want to finish with the same record as Arizona. This is one of the few situations where a tiebreaker would matter. It’s an easy call to pull for them to fall to the AFC Dolphins.

—I went 2-1 last week, winning with the Patriots over the Rams and the Seahawks over the Panthers. I have four NFL picks this week, all of them road favorites: the Redskins -1 on the road over the Eagles, the Cowboys -3 at the Giants, the Falcons -6 over the Rams in L.A., and the Seahawks giving three to the Packers.