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Skins-Seahawks First Take

Skins-Seahawks First Take

Some initial observations, in no particular order.

  • The Washington Redskins went back to the formula that worked early in the year. They battled even through four quarters and then dominated the fourth. Seattle ran all of five plays after they scored to tie the game at 17 with 13:24 left in the fourth quarter. Washington wore down the Seattle defense for 45 minutes and then pounded them in the final 15.
  • Ladell Betts had no business fighting for extra yardage there. When it was clear that he was down, he needed to go down. He should buy Shawn Springs a big steak dinner for bailing him out (or buy Hasselbeck one, what was he looking at?)
  • Portis made up about 60 yards on Adrian Peterson today, but he still trails the Vikings' back by about 60. No matter, if you define it the way you should, he's the league's MVP. No player is more valuable to his team, period. Backed up at the three, crowd alive, he carries three times for 40 yards. It got quiet in a hurry.
  • Santana Moss didn't have a huge day, but he's shaking out of his midseason slump. He had one bomb just get knocked out of his hands, he drew a pass interference flag that converted a third and 20 to set up the Redskins' first score and he set up the Redskins' final score by gaining 24 yards on a bubble screen. The numbers weren't great, four catches for 72 yards, but he was in the middle of a lot of good things for the Redskins.
  • The Washington defense was either on or off. They allowed touchdown drives of nine plays (72 yards) and ten plays (62 yards). No other Seattle drive lasted more than five plays and only one, the one that resulted in their first field goal, covered more than 12 yards.
  • They got two interceptions for the second week in a row. The two last week stopped promising Cowboy drives and helped keep the Redskins in it until the late going. One this week set up a touchdown and the other ended the game. And all four of them have been by different players.
  • Decent offense, strong defense. Special teams? Next question. Suisham short from 43 yards. I thought it must have been wind, but after looking again I saw that the streamers atop the posts were limp. Big kickoff return to start the second half. The defense bailed them out. Plackemeier three punts for a 28.3 gross average.
  • Malcolm Kelly got a few shots. He hauled in two for 12 yards; those aren't numbers that make him that elusive other threat, not just yet anyway, but he bears watching.
  • Zorn went to the Sellers well once too often in the fourth quarter. He's a beast but he's not a pass catcher or ball carrier. Yes, he has to catch that ball, but that's not what he was built to do.
  • The Redskins are in the midst of a four-team chase for the two Wild Card playoff spots. They're ahead of the 7-4 Cowboys based on a better conference record right now, but they won't be if things play out as they should and Dallas beats Seattle on Thanksgiving and the Skins lose to the Giants. Atlanta also is 7-4 and Tampa Bay and Carolina are 8-3. It still seems probable that 10 wins will gain a playoff berth. If they lose to the Giants, the Redskins would have to win three out of four from games at Baltimore, at Cincinnati, at home against the Eagles, and at San Francisco. Of that group, only Baltimore has anything to play for.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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