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Nate Sudfeld Overcomes Conditions With Clean Game

Posted Sep 1, 2016

Despite at times a heavy rain falling Wednesday evening, Nate Sudfeld was able to keep possession of the football, throwing neither an interception nor having a fumble.

Despite at times a heavy rain falling Wednesday evening, Nate Sudfeld was able to keep possession of the football, throwing neither an interception nor having a fumble.

The numbers weren’t the prettiest for Redskins rookie quarterback Nate Sudfeld, on what was a rain, sloppy night in Tampa Bay, but he still did his job exactly the way he wanted to.

No turnovers and a win.

Sudfeld played the entire final preseason game for the Redskins as Washington held a lead as big as 17 points in a 20-13 win over the Buccaneers at a soaked Raymond James Stadium.

“There’s no excuse because both teams are playing in the same elements on a given day, but it’s a little different dynamic,” Sudfeld said after the game. “The ball gets a little heavy and it gets pretty slick, but that’s why you’ve got to practice it in the offseason and during the week so you can prepare for it and understand how to adjust. Overall, I’m glad we had no turnovers and got the win tonight.”

As Sudfeld talked with reporters it became clear that taking care of the football was the No. 1 priority for the Redskins.

Sudfeld didn’t throw an interception and Washington didn’t fumble once. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers fumbled five times, although none were recovered by the Redskins, and threw an interception as Duke Ihenacho dove to grab a tipped pass.

The other part of Wednesday’s game plan: Run the ball. Washington had success early and often on the ground as Mack Brown and Robert Kelley combined for 248 yards rushing. The Redskins threw just 18 times, but Sudfeld was able to connect on an impressive 13-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Ross in the back left corner of the end zone.

“We really made a focal point of running the ball with the way the weather was. We wanted to run behind our lineman, we thought we had some good looks in the running game,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. “We got stuck in some third-and-longs, had some drops, but overall managing the football game, protecting the football, getting us in some good solid runs, based on the game plan, I think (Sudfeld) did a good job.”

Sudfeld finished Wednesday night’s game 8-for-18 for 72 yards, including a 41-yard catch and run by T.J. Thorpe. The sixth-round pick from Indiana concludes the preseason having completed 28-of-53 passes for 238 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

“I thought it was a blue-collar performance by our offense. Really we just walked up with our lunch pails and just rode down the field as much as we could,” Sudfeld said. “Again, I understood the game plan. We were going to really establish the run. When they did ask me to throw it, I tried to be accurate with the ball. There were a few balls that I thought really got away from me that you just can’t do, but again, just glad we didn’t have any turnovers.”

Of course, come 11 days from now, Kirk Cousins will be starting at quarterback for the Redskins against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football with veteran Colt McCoy as his backup. But if Washington does keep Sudfeld on its 53-man roster, it likely will have a quarterback it can both trust and develop.

“I’ve been seeing the same stuff in Nate since I got here,” running back Robert Kelley said. “He’s very poised in the huddle. He takes control. The game’s never too big for him. He goes out there and gets everybody ready. He takes control of the huddle.”

 Gruden perhaps said it best of Sudfeld’s performance Wednesday night: “It wasn’t pretty, but when you win a football game in the National Football League, no matter the situation, it’s a hell of a thing for a quarterback.”

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