Redskins: The Whole 53

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Oct 15, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (25) carries the ball as San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) makes the tackle in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Well Redskins fans, we escaped by the skin of our teeth in this 5th opportunity. One important point was left on FedEx Field this past Sunday, by kicker Dustin Hopkins. I can’t blame it all on Hopkins, the defense allowed us to be in that situation. We’re approaching that crucial second half of the season where points are at a premium. The passing game isn’t a ready and available option in the second half of the season for the Redskins. When you are successful or fortunate enough to have called all the right plays to get you there, you have to make it count. The Redskins left one point on the field and almost lost by one point. Something different has to be done. I’m told the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing, expecting a different result. It would have been insane for this Redskins organization not to bring in at least one kicker and give them a fair opportunity at winning the job. Along those lines, the Redskins signed kicker Nick Rose who was waived by the San Francisco 49ers in September. Rose was picked up by the Redskins to replace Dustin Hopkins who is now on injured reserve.

The Redskins Offense seems to have found their rhythm. They moved the ball up and down the field with little to no resistance from the 49ers defense. They gained 419 yards of total offense. Cousins threw for 330 yards, completing 25 of 35 pass attempts. Cousins found WR Josh Doctson early for an 11-yard TD reception, along with rookie RB Samaje Perine for a red zone TD of 3 yards, which happened to be Perine’s first NFL TD of any kind. Mack Brown also found success in the passing game recording his longest pass reception of his carrier, with an 11-yard catch and run. TE Vernon Davis has proven to be a great pick up for this Redskins offense, averaging at least one catch of 30+ yards in multiple games this season. Safe to say Davis and Cousins have developed the chemistry we’ve heard so much about between Cousins and his receiving corps. TE Jordan Reed wasn’t really a focus this week and I’m okay with that. Reed did other important things to help the Redskins to victory. Your QB can’t pass for over 300 yards without blocking. In the past, I’ve been a rough grader when it comes to the Redskins offensive line play. Well, this past Sunday these guys showed why they’re playing in the NFL. Cousins had all day to make decisions of where to go with the ball, even for a QB scramble resulting in a TD. The run game left a lot to be desired, but I’m confident that they’ll find their way there as well. All in all, the Redskins entire team played well enough to win – barely.

Early in the game, the Redskins defense didn’t allow 49ers QB Brian Hoyer room to breathe. It was almost as if the defense knew what plays 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan wanted to call in each situation. The Redskins secondary was tested, finding themselves having to replace almost the whole secondary unit at the same time. Injuries played a huge part, but the rookies stood up and handled the task at hand. San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Shanahan decided he’d seen enough from Hoyer going 4 of 11 for 34 yards, and brought in rookie QB CJ Beathard (grandson of legendary Redskin Bobby Beathard). Beathard conducted himself as a trooper, bringing the 49ers back from a 17-point deficit, throwing for 245 yards with a TD and an interception in the second half of the game. It wasn’t pretty, but in the end, this Redskins defense did exactly what was needed to win. I’ll take that in any game. The Redskins defense has turned the corner and is playing good defensive football. The 49ers RB’s couldn’t find anywhere to run, going for 66 yards on 25 rushing attempts. Defensive linemen Preston Smith and Matt Ioannidis spilt the first sack of the day on 49ers QB Brian Hoyer. Redskins D-lineman Ryan Kerrigan also got in on the sack stats by sacking QB CJ Beathard as well. Redskins CB Kendall Fuller delivered the final blow by intercepting a late 4th quarter pass from Beathard to seal the victory.

If I had to grade this Redskins team overall, their combined grade would average to a high C. There are a few mistakes that need to be addressed on both sides of the ball. This is especially the case with the kicking game, so I’m interested to see what newly signed kicker Nick Rose will bring to the table. Steel has to be sharpened against stone in order to perform to its highest potential. Competition is that stone. At this point, the Redskins owe it to the other 52 men on this 2017 roster to provide the best option at all positions. It’s the second half of the season. This is the portion of the season that will be heavily influenced by the weather – high winds, rain, sleet and snow. I’m looking for kicker Nick Rose to have two things: 1. A strong leg to cut through the elements; and 2. Accuracy, to align his kicks to center the goal posts. Hopefully, Nick Rose’s performance will be enough to wake Hopkins up and give him the incentive to do his job consistently after he recovers from his injury, instead of what has been happening since last season’s game in London, England.

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