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Five Takeaways: Redskins-Rams

Posted Sep 18, 2017

Here’s five takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Rams that took place at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Here’s five takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ Week 2 game against the Los Angeles Rams that took place at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.


1. After a week in which the Redskins struggled to run the ball, Washington breaks out with more than 200 yards on the ground.
In Washington’s Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins’ running backs accounted for just 34 rushing yards.

It was a different story on Sunday against a vaunted Los Angeles defense, as Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine combined for 229 rushing yards. All three running backs collected at least 65 yards on the ground, marking the first time that has happened for the Redskins since the 1957.

“I think we just came out with the mindset we were going to run the ball enough so we did,” said Kelley, who finished with 78 rushing yards on just 12 carries before being removed from the game with a rib injury. “I think we also run the ball I think he first couple plays we showed up and we were actually running it, so coach stuck with it.”

In the second quarter, Thompson broke the game open with two touchdown runs. On the first play of the quarter, Thompson benefitted from setup blocks from Trent Williams and Terrelle Pryor Sr. to take a pitch seven yards to the house.

Then just a few minutes later, the shifty running back showed off his moves, weaving in and out of the Rams’ defense for a 61-yard score. Thompson said the play was something the Redskins saw the Steelers use.

“We’ve seen Le’Veon [Bell], he does it a lot,” Thompson said. “It’s one of those plays where he has the option to run through a lot of different gaps and we thought we could possible get that going this week. The O-line, they did a great job and it’s all credit to them because they did such a good job at blocking.”

Perine finished off the strong ground game performance on Washington’s 10-play, 70-yard game-winning drive, as the rookie collected 38 rushing yards before Kirk Cousins found Ryan Grant for an 11-yard touchdown.

 “I like the way he ran,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. “He’s a tough, physical guy like we thought.”

2. Ryan Grant comes through with the biggest moment of his career to date.
Opportunities.

That’s been the buzzword with the Redskins’ coaching staff when it comes to the fourth-year veteran.

In his first three seasons in Washington, Grant was hidden on the depth chart behind the likes of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. But with the two veterans off the roster, Grant has finally been given the opportunity to produce.

While the Tulane product was quiet for most of the day, he hauled in the game-winning score with less than two minutes left.

On 3rd-and-5 from the 11-yard line, Grant lined up in a bunch formation on Cousins’ left. After a slight delay off the line, Grant ran out to his left before Cousins found him on the side of the end zone for a score.

“It felt good, man,” Grant said. “Everyone’s happy and our goal was to come in here and get the [win] and that’s what we did.”

As Washington seeks to get the passing game back on track after two quiet performances to start the season, Cousins hopes to get Grant involved more.

“He continues to show up on our practice film being wide open, running really good routes,” Cousins said. “I’ll work a go ball on the left and I can pick either side and Ryan is running by his defender on the other side. It was great to get him a touchdown today. We’ve got to continue to get him involved and get him opportunities, because he’ll prove his strength.”

3. A dislocated shoulder didn’t stop Mason Foster from slamming the door shut on the Rams.
Even though Grant’s touchdown put the Redskins ahead with less than two minutes left, Los Angeles still had time to piece together a potential game-tying touchdown drive.

But Foster, who had suffered a dislocated shoulder in the third quarter, jumped a route intended for Cooper Kupp on Los Angeles’ first offensive play following the touchdown.

“They had widened the stack out a little bit, so I felt like earlier in the game I barely missed one and I told Kendall [Fuller] and [Zach Brown] next time we see it I’m just going to go play it – I’m going to go jump it, and it just so happens that the time that we [saw] it again was when we needed it the most,” Foster said. “But it was something that the coaches had alerted all week, something that everybody talked about, I just happened to be the one to make the play. So, it’s a great team win.”

Foster has been impressive in the role of starting Mike linebacker for the Redskins this season.

Along with his game-sealing interception, Foster also had six tackles and a pass defensed.

But the pick, his first in three seasons with the Redskins, capped off Washington’s late-game heroics.

“I think he was waiting on that play the whole day,” said D.J. Swearinger. “The linebackers were waiting on it, the safeties, the corners, and we finally got it at the end of the game and he did what he was supposed to do to it. That’s a great play by him and a great team win.

4. The Redskins showed resiliency in the face of adversity.
Early on, it looked as if the Redskins were going to easily handle the Rams.  Washington jumped out to a 10-0 lead and were primed to extend that lead to 17-0 after a Todd Gurley fumble. But a drive that started at the Los Angeles 30-yard stalled out with two incompletions on fade routes.

Still, Dustin Hopkins was able to extend the lead to 13-0. But the Rams would fight back and score 10 unanswered points in the second half to knot the game at 20 apiece.

Between the game-winning touchdown drive and Foster’s interception, though, the Redskins did not break.

“I think the guys just coming out here and battling four quarters and not three-and-a-half,” said Josh Norman. “We did our job today and we executed. Offensive line, you’ve got to tip your hats off to those guys, they are awesome. There were role models today, they did everything. Give our running backs the rock, they plow away and that’s what you need from an offense like that.”

Thompson was also pleased with how the Redskins fought back, especially after a third quarter in which the offense was shut down.

“In that third quarter, our offense, we couldn’t get anything going and our defense continued to fight,” Thompson said. “They continued to help us stay in the game and they got us the ball back later in the game and we just made some plays. I love this group. There’s just something different with this group of guys that we have this year. We’re a lot closer, everybody’s like brothers out there. You want to do things to not let your brothers down. We made the necessary plays.”

5. As the offense still tries to seek an identity, Cousins thinks the passing game will improve as time goes on.
Last season, of course, the Redskins were one of the best passing teams in the NFL. Cousins nearly passed for 5,000 yards while three different receivers posted at least 800 yards.

Through two games this year, though, the passing game hasn’t been quite as prolific. Through Sunday’s action, Cousins ranks 16th in passing yards (419) with just two touchdown passes.

In Sunday’s victory, Cousins passes for just 179 yards with the late touchdown throw to Grant.

It was productive enough to get past the Rams, but Cousins remains high on the potential of the passing attack’s abilities.

“I think we’re optimistic that right away we were going to be able to operate out of the gate,” Cousins said. “But, when you’re going against your own defense day after day after day, it doesn’t necessarily give you a great picture of what the real thing is going to look like against different teams every single week. We’re going to figure out an identity as we go, and see what we do well. We’ve got to figure it out, the sooner the better.”

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