April 16, 2014

Washington Redskins Week 4 Review: Skins outlast Raiders 24-14

Entering play Sunday, having traveled across three time zones and staring 0-4 in the face with their bye week coming up, the Washington Redskins faced as much of a “must-win” situation as a team could against the Oakland Raiders. When they fell behind by two touchdowns in the first quarter, you couldn’t help but think, “Oh, no. Here we go again.”

But the Redskins rebounded from the terrible start to get within four points at halftime, then imposed their will a little bit on the terrible Raiders, winning 24-14 to avoid the ignominy of being winless going into their bye week.

Robert Griffin III still did not look much like his old self, but did enough, passing for 227 yards, one touchdown and — most importantly — no interceptions as Washington (1-3) won for the first time this season.

Even better, the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys all lost in Week 4 as well, keeping the worst division in football right now a tight race.

Things didn’t get off on the good foot. After their second straight three-and-out to start the game, Sav Rocca’s punt was blocked by Rashad Jennings and recovered by Jeremy Stewart in the end zone to give Oakland a quick 7-0 lead.

The Raiders extended that lead to 14-0 as a 10-play, 81 yard drive culminated in an 18-yard strike from Matt Flynn, playing for the injured Tyrelle Prior, to Mychal Rivera, who was wide open in a seam.

But that ended Oakland’s scoring for the day.

After the ensuing kickoff, the Skins marched on an 11-play, 73-yard drive which stalled at the eight yard line, where John Potter made good for a 25-yard field goal.

On the next series, Flynn tried to find Denarius Moore on a slant route, but cornerback David Amerson jumped the route, stepped in front of Moore for the pick, and raced 45 yards for his first NFL interception and touchdown to cut the score to 14-10.

Finally playing with a lead, the Redskins defense did some good things in the second half against Flynn and the Raiders offense. They applied a lot of pressure on the backup quarterback, disrupting him on just about every throw.

But the Skins offense still couldn’t get into a good rhythm. On their second possession of the half, Griffin found backup tight end Logan Paulsen for a short pass the Paulsen turned into a 33 yard gain while breaking tackles left and right. Unfortunately, he was double-teamed at the end and stripped of the ball to end the series.

But the next time the Skins had the ball they ground out an eight-play, 58 yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon on a slant play that upped the Redskins lead to 17-14.

The bad news on the drive was that Alfred Morris got banged up and left the game with a injury in his rib cage. After the game, head coach Mike Shanahan didn’t think it was broken, but Morris would be reevaluated when the team returns to D.C.

Washington capped the scoring a few series later. Ryan Kerrigan sacked Flynn and forced a fumble that gave the Skins the ball on the Oakland 42. Griffin escaped containment and connected on a check-down pass to Roy Helu, Jr. for 28 yards, then on the next play Helu burst up the middle untouched for a 14-yard touchdown run.

Flynn led the Raiders on one last chance to get back into the game, but he fumbled attempting a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-one and lost the ball, sealing the Redskins’ first win of the season.

SKINS NOTES: Morris finished with 71 yards on 16 carries before leaving the game. Helu ran 13 times for 41 yards.

Garcon caught six balls for 59 yards. Leonard Hankerson grabbed four catches for 49 yards.

Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo and Barry Cofield all finished with two sacks apiece.

Redskins beat Steelers in injury-filled second preseason game

COUSINS SPRAINS FOOT; COFIELD BREAKS BONE IN HAND

The last thing any NFL coach wants is for critical players to get injured in meaningless preseason games. The Washington Redskins probably missed out on any big injuries, but watching backup QB Kirk Cousins limp off after spraining his right foot had to cause some anxious moments on the Skins sidelines.

Cousins went 2-for-3 for 19 yards before he hurt his foot at the end of a run. After the game, District Sports Page contributor Sky Kerstein of 106.7 The Fan tweeted from FedEx Field that Cousins’ injury was a “mild sprain” and that x-rays were negative, though the team would perform an MRI after the swelling went down out of an abundance of caution.

Barry Cofield, who will be counted on to anchor the Redskins defensive line from the nose tackle position, suffered a broken bone in his right hand, but all indications are that surgery doesn’t seem necessary and Cofield will play through the injury with his hand in a cast.

The Skins also saw injuries to wide receivers Aldrick Robinson (left thigh) and Leonard Hankerson (right knee), but neither appear serious.

As for the actual game, Washington beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-13, though once again the team held out several starters. One of the starters that did play, however, was defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, and he opened the scoring in the first quarter with a  22-yard interception return for a touchdown. Kerrigan also added two tackles and a sack for a nice night’s work.

The Skins scored again in the second quarter, with Hankerson hauling in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rex Grossman. Kai Forbath added a 38-yard field goal as time expired on the half to give the Skins a 17-6 lead.

Pittsburgh capped an eight play, 76 yard drive early in the fourth quarter with a Derek Moye 10-yard TD catch from Landry Jones, but the Skins answered with 3:21 remaining as Roy Helu, Jr. busted up the middle for a 30-yard touchdown run — his only carry of the night – that completed a seven play, 74 yard drive of their own.

Grossman went 10-for-16 for 133 yards, with one touchdown and one interception in relief of Cousins. Pat White finished things up and went 3-for-6 for 22 yards and a pick.

Keiland Williams led Washington in rushing, carrying eight times for 39 yards. Alfred Morris started and rushed four times for 12 yard before being given the rest of the night off.

Robert Griffin III took the field for warm-ups, as he did for the first preseason game last week. According to reports, he’s been cleared by Dr. James Andrews for play, but the Skins expect to continue to hold him out during the preseason.

Washington Redskins LBs London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan named to Pro Bowl

Kerrigan Pro Bowl

Ryan Kerrigan sacks Eli Manning. (photo by Brian Murphy)

Fletcher Pro Bowl

London Flecther celebrates a play in 2012. (photo by Brian Murphy)

 Press Release:

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The National Football League announced tonight that linebackers London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan have been selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl. The annual contest of the AFC and NFC’s best will take place Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Fletcher and Kerrigan will take the places of San Francisco 49ers linebackers Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith, respectively.

Fletcher and Kerrigan join special teamer/linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, quarterback Robert Griffin III and tackle Trent Williams as the team’s Pro Bowl selections for the 2012 season. The 2012 season marks the first time the Redskins have had five Pro Bowl selections since 1996.

Fletcher, 37, will appear in his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, making him the first Redskin since tackle Chris Samuels to earn four consecutive Pro Bowl berths (2005-08). He is the first defensive player for the Redskins to make four straight Pro Bowl appearances since linebacker Ken Harvey (1994-97).

Fletcher, a defensive captain and the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month for December, finished the season with a team-high 188 tackles (112 solo) as credited by the coaching staff. He also posted a career-high five interceptions and pushed his consecutive games played streak to 240, tied for the longest active streak in the NFL.

Kerrigan’s selection is the first of his career. Kerrigan, 24, led Washington in sacks in 2012, posting a career-high 8.5 sacks in his second NFL season. In addition, Kerrigan posted his second career interception return for touchdown in Week 5 vs. Atlanta, making him the only player in the NFL to have posted at least 10 sacks (16) and two interception returns for touchdown (two) across the last two seasons.

With the selections of Fletcher and Kerrigan, the Redskins have had at least two linebackers selected to the Pro Bowl in three of the last four seasons (2012 – Alexander (special teams), Fletcher, Kerrigan; 2010 – Fletcher and Brian Orakpo; 2009 – Fletcher and Orakpo).

With the Redskins’ selections this year, the team has had at least one Pro Bowl player for 19 straight seasons. The only year Washington has not had a Pro Bowler in team history was 1993. Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan has now coached players responsible for 75 Pro Bowl selections during his tenure as an NFL head coach.

Washington Redskins Open Locker Room Audio: Moss, Hall, Garçon & Many More!

ASHBURN, VA–The Washington Redskins held their final open locker room of the season today as they conclude their 2013 season.  There was a lot of optimism in the locker room after their surprising finish, but nobody is quite sure yet on the health of Robert Griffin III following yesterday’s loss.

“You feel like you have something you can build on,”  Redskins free agent linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said.  “You feel good about the group of guys we have here. I think this is probably one of the closest team’s we’ve had from top-to-bottom…hopefully I can be apart of it next year as we move forward.”

Redskins starting guard Kory Lichtensteiger is also a free agent and he hopes to return as well.

“The best case scenario for me is I get a new deal here. At the same time, you’ve got to explore all the options.”

So is Redskins starting tackle Tyler Polumbus.

“I have no idea what the future’s going to hold. I know I want to be back here.”

Redskins starting cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who has a pretty big contract, is also hoping to return.

“Whatever I gotta do to be here, I’m gonna try to get it done.”

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan also addressed the media Monday and gave an update on Robert Griffin III’s knee injury, plus tons more as it’s the final time he’ll speak until the NFL Draft in April.

Listen here to what Santana Moss, DeAngelo Hall, Pierre Garçon, Lorenzo Alexander, Ryan Kerrigan, Tyler Polumbus, Kory Lichtensteiger, Reed Doughty & Kai Forbath had to say during open locker room today.

Santana Moss Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Santana Moss Open Locker Room RAW

DeAngelo Hall Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 DeAngelo Hall Open Locker Room RAW

Pierre Garçon Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Pierre Garcon Open Locker Room RAW

Lorenzo Alexander Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Lorenzo Alexander Open Locker Room RAW

Ryan Kerrigan Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Ryan Kerrigan Open Locker Room RAW

Tyler Polumbus Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Tyler Polumbus Open Locker Room RAW

Kory Lichtensteiger Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Kory Lichtensteiger Open Locker Room RAW

Reed Doughty Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Reed Doughty Open Locker Room RAW

Kai Forbath Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Kai Forbath Open Locker Room RAW

Washington Redskins Postgame Audio: 24-14 Loss To Seattle

LANDOVER, MD–The Washington Redskins give up 24 unanswered points and fell to the Seattle Seahawks 24-14 as their season officially comes to an end.

The big story was Robert Griffin III.  Griffin III (10-of-19, 84 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) re-aggravated his right knee in the first quarter and looked gimpy the rest of the game.  He could barely run and an ugly play off a bad snap late in the fourth quarter left him in even more pain, allowing the Seahawks to recover a fumble at the Redskins five yard line which set up a chip shot field goal that put the game out of reach.

“I’m the quarterback of this team,”  Griffin III said. “My job is to be out there if I can play. The only time I couldn’t play was when I went down. I took myself out of the game. That’s just the way you have to play. Just to tackle the next question, I don’t feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way. I’m the best option for this team, and that’s why I’m the starter.”

Kirk Cousins came in, but didn’t have much time to work any magic.  Following the loss, Griffin III went straight to the hospital to have an MRI and will know the results sometime later tonight.

“I think I did put myself at more risk by being out there,”  Griffin III said.  “But every time you step on the football field in between those lines you’re putting your life, your career [and] every single ligament in your body in jeopardy. That’s just the approach I had to take toward it. My teammates needed me out there, so I was out there for them. When it comes to the impact of the injury, I’m not sure what it is. We’ll figure that out here in the next few days. Whatever it is, I’ll make sure I come back healthy from it.”

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan had no problem with him being out there.

“Robert will have the MRI,”  Shanahan said.  “We always check that out to see how serious it is… I did and I talked to Robert and he said to me, ‘Coach, there’s a difference between being injured and being hurt.’ He said, ‘I can guarantee I’m hurt right now but give me a chance to win this football game because I guarantee I’m not injured.’ That was enough for me. I thought he did enough this year to have that opportunity to stay in the football game. It’s always a tough decision when to pull a guy and when not to. I talked to him at halftime and had to feel good about him to go back in. I told him we’re going to run the football and he’s going to have to prove to me and like I said before, he said, ‘Trust me. I want to be in there and I deserve to be in there,’ and I couldn’t disagree with him.”

Even though they lost, Shanahan was happy with how the team responded from a 3-6 record at the bye to finishing the season as NFC East Champions.

“I told the players after the game that not too many football teams can be 3-6 and have the type of character to play how they did in the last half of the season. It’s really a compliment to the guys in that locker room, really a compliment to the fans out there to support us the way they did – really got our team energized throughout the second half of the season. It was a fun run. I’m very disappointed today. You always want to play your best football during the playoffs. We probably had our best first quarter. After that first quarter, we just didn’t seem to get things done. It was very tough, but I’m excited about this football team – the direction we’re headed. We’re not very happy. There’s only one team that’s happy at the end of the year, and unfortunately, we’re going home a little bit earlier than expected.”

Listen here to what Mike Shanahan, Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garçon, Kirk Cousins, Darrel Young, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Lorenzo Alexander, Logan Paulsen, London Fletcher, Josh Wilson & Stephen Bowen had to say as their season comes to an end.

Mike Shanahan Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Mike Shanahan Postgame RAW

Robert Griffin III Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Robert Griffin III Postgame RAW

Pierre Garçon Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Pierre Garcon Postgame RAW

Kirk Cousins Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Kirk Cousins Postgame RAW

Darrel Young Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Darrel Young Postgame RAW

Trent Williams Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Trent Williams Postgame RAW

Ryan Kerrigan Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Ryan Kerrigan Postgame RAW

Lorenzo Alexander Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Lorenzo Alexander Postgame RAW

Logan Paulsen Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Logan Paulsen Postgame RAW

London Fletcher Postgame Audio

01-06-13 London Fletcher Postgame RAW

Josh Wilson Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Josh Wilson Postgame RAW

Stephen Bowen Postgame Audio

01-06-13 Stephen Bowen Postgame RAW

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