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RG3, Redskins glad to take ugly win over Raiders

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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.

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Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Kirk Cousins had his eye on Kyle Shanahan's offense, but is there more to it?

Of course, Kirk Cousins is disappointed the Redskins didn’t make the playoffs, but among the various things he’s done in the offseason, one of them is a little curious.

Sunday, Cousins wasn’t just watching the Falcons dominate the Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship Game. He sent out a picture on Instagram from the stands of the Georgia Dome.

“Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!” Cousins wrote.

But — especially with rumors that Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be offered the head coaching position with the 49ers — is there more to this post than the Redskins’ quarterback simply watching the game?

Shanahan was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator from 2010-2013 and was reportedly “integral” in the team selecting Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft.

So if Shanahan makes the move out to San Francisco and if the Redskins don’t put a franchise tag on Cousins, could the pair be reunited?

It’s possible, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who said, “don’t be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player.”

There’s a lot of if’s involved for that to happen, but it’s possible. It’s also possible Cousins was just enjoying the NFC Championship Game and decided to Instagram about it. 

MORE REDSKINS: Why Matt Cavanaugh makes sense for Washington

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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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