Before Further Review: Five Redskins-Packers Observations

Manny Benton gives a pre-film review look at the Redskins' huge victory over the Packers, including Su'a Cravens and Robert Kelley stepping up.

LANDOVER -- The Washington Redskins (6-3-1) came up with a huge victory over the Green Bay Packers (4-6) Sunday night thanks in big part to their QB Kirk Cousins putting on an absolute clinic and two rookies shining in the national spotlight. Below we'll take a look at five pre-film review observations using our game notes.

  • QB Kirk Cousins in the wind: In the Wild Card round last post-season, Cousins had a below average game against the Packers (29/46, 329, 1 touchdown). Sunday night, Cousins had a near elite-level game, completing 21 of 30 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns. Now, it's just one game. In my opinion, this was the best game of his career. I really liked the way he performed, especially in the wind. Post-game, Cousins credited his ability to throw tight spirals as an offset to windy conditions. It worked Sunday night. Although this Packers' defense is young, especially in the secondary, Cousins was outstanding from the start to finish. He threw some complete dimes. It's definitely one of those games that gives the Redskins no other choice but to pay him. Whether they do that or not is still not set in stone. But I think Cousins took a major step to forcing their hand with his performance on a National stage Sunday night. Cousins no doubt understood the magnitude of what he accomplished against the Packers. He was barking "how you like us now" as he walked into the locker room. Cousins even changed up the quote to "how you like [me] now" when he walked past GM Scot McCloughan. You can draw your own conclusions with that.

  • LB Su'a Cravens in key role: Washington's rookie linebacker was given a key role in this game and essentially was the starter over Mason Foster. His job was to both spy the QB and be a guy who can split out and help cover the slot and backfield. For the most part, I think Cravens fared well. He again had a couple impact plays. He did, however, have a costly penalty that helped allow the Packers to score a touchdown. Otherwise, I thought he handled his role pretty well.

  • LT Ty Nsekhe half-way through the Trent Williams suspension: Nsekhe has really surprised me since starting in place of the suspended Trent Williams. He once again had a pretty spotless day especially in pass pro. No, he's not taking Trent Williams' job. In fact, players in the locker room are counting down the weeks until Trent returns. He's still their guy. But you do wonder if Nsekhe will ever get a look at guard. He's played like a guy who should be starting. 

  • Rookie RB Robert Kelley just keeps rolling as the team's lead back. He had his best professional game Sunday night picking up 137 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns. When asked what he attributes his success to, Kelley credited the offensive line. "I'm telling you, it was the offensive line man, that's them," said Kelley. "I can't stop saying it enough, that's them." 

  • Big time players come up with big time plays in big time moments: That's exactly what second year WR Jamison Crowder did and star corner Josh Norman completed. Crowder's 53 yard reception that set the Redskins up for a one yard Robert Kelley touchdown put the Redskins up by two scores late in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing defensive drive, Josh Norman came up with the dagger -- forcing a Jared Cook fumble that was recovered by Will Compton. If I had to pick a Redskins offensive MVP and Defensive MVP to this point of the season, Crowder and Norman would receive those awards, hands-down. 

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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