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3-and-out: Redskins-Jaguars post game quick hits

December 16, 2018 - 7:44 pm

106.7 The Fan Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman was in the press box at TIAA Bank Field as the Washington Redskins took on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15 of the season. He combined his observations with post-game interviews to write his top-three takeaways from this week in football:

The Redskins and Jaguars played a football game today. It was exactly the football game we thought it would be.

1. The Redskins defense looked like the defense of old. Clearly, the Jaguars offense is limited, but the Redskins didn’t have a shot if they didn’t put on a really high-level performance. Not only did they force a pair of turnovers, including a late pick by Fabian Moreau that ultimately set up the game-winning field goal, but they stayed mostly true to a gameplan of stopping the run and attacking a banged-up Jaguars offensive line. Ryan Kerrigan and Jon Allen both had multiple sacks.

Next week will be a much better test to see if they truly fixed their problems or if they merely shut down an incompetent offense, but they did everything they needed to in allowing zero touchdowns and setting the offense up with good field position throughout the day.

2. The Redskins offense struggled to move the ball on the whole thanks to penalties yet again. Josh Johnson made some plays, but they were often negated by flags. The penalties are a direct result of the injuries ravaging the offensive line. Luke Bowanko cannot be reasonably expected to block Calais Campbell. He’s going to hold. He’s also going to get caught holding.

The penalties that are infuriating are the ones that are self-inflicted. Illegal motions and false starts should never happen in professional football. The Redskins also had simple failures in execution by the players they need to support backup tackles and quarterbacks. Johnson hit Vernon Davis in the hands while getting mauled at the end of the first half. Davis dropped it.

A massive amount of credit should go to Johnson, though. He just kept going. He kept scrambling. He kept taking hits. He kept trying to make plays and finally made one with a major assist to lady luck. On a 3rd down in the middle of the 4th Johnson threw behind Jamison Crowder, but a Jaguars defender tipped the ball in the air and Crowder caught it. The 33 yard gain was the chunk play they desperately needed. They scored a few plays later to tie the game.

The final drive was also impressive, albeit almost by accident. Jay Gruden was trying to inch closer to field goal ranch after Adrian Peterson’s catch and run. Instead, Peterson gained chunk after chunk and Dustin Hopkins field goal was only 36 yards. Easy kick for a good kicker.

3. Special teams is a part of the game that gets hurt when there are injuries, but it’s never mentioned enough. As the bottom of the original roster moves up to play on offense or defense, the replacement players have to fill on special teams. They are inferior players, or they would not have been available.

The ability to choose these players is critical. Jehu Chesson has been a good find in this regard and it’s why he’s on the roster. He isn’t a good receiver, as far as we know. He is a meaningful special teams player. Kapri Bibbs not only was a good running back, but an effective special teams player. Bibbs was cut on Saturday in favor of keeping Samaje Perine, who doesn’t play special teams and was inactive again on Sunday and Byron Marshall.

Marshall has played special teams, but he has not been as good as Bibbs. We know this because when they both were active, Bibbs would play over Marshall. Bibbs also has a better track record than Marshall on offense.

On the 78-yard punt return, the Marshall had a chance to make a play late in the runback that could have saved a touchdown. Instead, he mystifyingly ran into a blocker.

Ultimately though, the special teams unit did come through with good punt coverage in the second half and the aforementioned game-winning field goal. Jacksonville has a solid history of blocking kicks. The operation on the game-winner was clean as could be.

Stat of the day: The Redskins defense held Cody Kessley to 57 yards passing. The Jaguars quarterback had 68 yards rushing.

Quote of the day: “It’s like the little engine that could. Ya know, just chugging along,” Josh Norman said before making train noises that can’t really be transcribed. “Choo! Choo! And no matter what happens we just have to keep going that way.”

The Redskins are a half game out of the final Wild Card spot and a game out of the division going into week 16.

Follow Redskins reporter Craig Hoffman and 106.7 The Fan