Before Further Review: Redskins' Special Teams Saves The Day

The Washington Redskins kicked one into the win column thanks to Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way and Jamison Crowder.

The Washington Redskins (1-2) pulled out their first win of the season against the New York Giants (2-1) on Sunday. It wasn't pretty and it was a bit of a bloodbath with numerous injuries. Yet, the Redskins were able to scrape their way to a win thanks to a game-sealing interception by rookie LB Su'a Cravens. The film will be dissected later this week and it's sure to contain plenty head-scratchers. For now, we'll share our initial observations below: 

Special Teams:

  • I decided to put special teams first because the unit(s) played a monumental part in winning this game. They were the glue that kept that less-than-half-full glass from completely breaking. It started with kicker Dustin Hopkins, who tied a team record for field goals in a single game by converting all five of his attempts. Punt returner Jamison Crowder had an early blunder but made up for it with a 50-yard return, the team's longest in 54 games. Not to mention, the fake punt! Punter Tress Way flashed his arm strength by throwing a 31-yard pass to cornerback-turned-receiver Quinton Dunbar


  • Besides his long return, Crowder also scored a 55-yard touchdown off of a well-designed screen play on third and long. He is quickly becoming one of the more explosive players on the team. 
  • Speaking of explosive players, the Redskins knew whom to depend on for a spark in the first quarter. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson's 44-yard touchdown reception gave the team life and quarterback Kirk Cousins a confidence boost. Jackson continues to be one of Washington's most valuable players. 

  • Cousins did enough in this game to not lose it. He was, for the most part, efficient. The team was able to overcome his vacuous mental error prior to halftime which cost the Redskins a major opportunity to close the first half with points.  
  • The Redskins depended on RB Matt Jones late in the fourth quarter to run down the clock while putting the team in field goal position. Jones did just that, notching 37 yards on eight carries.  


  • Perennial Pro Bowler Trent Williams deserves a round of applause for filling in a left guard. He wasn't perfect but did extremely well at a position he hasn't played since high school. 

  • Rookie RB Robert Kelley received his first regular season snaps Sunday. For some reason, he had issues staying on his feet. Kelley slipped several times.


  • Of course, the most talked about storyline in this game was Redskins CB Josh Norman versus Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. Although Beckham had a big day with seven receptions for 121 yards, Norman competed hard and kept the All-Pro receiver from dominating. Norman had a near interception that could have changed the course of this game in the first half. 

  • Rookie ILB Su'a Cravens had the game-clinching interception. The former USC captain has played very well early this season. I've compared him numerous times to Thomas Davis, and he hasn't done anything to change that opinion. 

  • Second-year CB Quinton Dunbar made a big interception in the end zone minutes after his fake punt reception. He's had his negatives, but the guy competes and knows how to attack the football like a wide receiver. 

  • For the second straight week, ILB Will Compton struggled to shed blocks and make tackles.

  • The Redskins appear to have some kind of rotation going on with their outside linebackers that I really haven't figured out yet. But, in a way, it's working. Trent Murphy relieved both Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith on certain occasions. Murphy recorded another sack this week. Kerrigan and Smith had four solo tackles each, several of which were key plays.

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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