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3 things we learned about the Redskins

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LANDOVER, Md. — The Washington Redskins held Miami to 17 yards during the first 28 minutes and led by 10 points before giving up a touchdown just before halftime and getting shut out in the second half of a 17-10 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday in the season opener for both teams.

The biggest plays that doomed the Redskins were Jarvis Landry’s 69-yard punt return touchdown with 10:22 left and an interception at the Miami 2-yard line by reserve cornerback Brice McCain that ended Washington’s next series 2:47 later.

McCain outjumped Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon for quarterback Kirk Cousins’ lofted throw.

“I thought I’d gave Pierre the opportunity to go up and get it and the guy for the Dolphins made a great play,” said Cousins, who started his first game since Week 7 of 2014. “We battled and came up short. I guess we’re all pretty tired of that around here.”

The Redskins’ final series ended at the Miami 20 with 2:17 left when Cousins couldn’t connect with tight end Jordan Reed.

Miami opened the second half with Tannehill (22-of-34, 226 yards, one touchdown) losing a fumble while being sacked by Washington linebacker Preston Smith.

The Dolphins got the ball back again at their own 20 with 1:47 left in the third quarter. After four straight gains of at least 11 yards, they began the fourth quarter on Washington’s 20. Miami had first-and-goal at the 3 but settled for rookie Andrew Franks’ tying 22-yard field goal with 11:34 remaining.

Miami’s defense then forced Tress Way’s punt, which Landry caught and raced through a huge gap in the middle of the field for his first career punt return.

“A lot of self-inflicted wounds,” lamented Washington coach Jay Gruden, whose career record sank to 4-13.

The Redskins broke on top 3-0 on the opening drive. Running back Alfred Morris (25 carries, 121 yards) rushed six times for 35 yards and Cousins (21-of-31, 196 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) completed two passes to Reed for 21 yards during the series, which was capped by Kai Forbath’s 45-yard field goal.

Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher stopped Dolphins running back Lamar Miller for no gain on third down to force a punt on Miami’s first series. Washington followed by driving from its 23 to the Miami 2. However, Forbath was wide right from 46 yards on a field goal attempt after Gruden opted against going for it on fourth-and-1.

The Redskins’ next series ended when Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted a Cousins pass for Reed on third-and-18 on a miscommunication at the Miami 23.

On the next play, the Dolphins lost tight end Dion Sims with a concussion after he dived for Tannehill’s pass in the end zone. Philbin went for it on fourth-and-1, but Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan stopped running back Damien Williams for no gain.

Washington’s offense responded by marching 88 yards in 17 plays for the game’s first touchdown — a 4-yard pass from Cousins to Reed with 1:49 left in the half for a 10-0 lead.

What we learned about the Redskins

1. The offense got pretty conservative minus deep threat DeSean Jackson, who led the NFL with 20.9 yards per catch in his Washington debut last season. He exited with a hamstring injury on the first play of its second series. Without Jackson, Kirk Cousins rarely threw downfield, producing just 171 yards on his final 28 attempts (18 completions).

2. Alfred Morris can be productive without Robert Griffin III at quarterback. The Pro Bowl running back had struggled noticeably when Griffin wasn’t under center the past three years but powered for 121 yards on 25 carries against Miami (4.8 per carry).

3. New coordinator Joe Barry’s defense isn’t that different than predecessor Jim Haslett’s despite five new starters. Last year, the Redskins were only outscored 301-225 during the first three quarters before being blown out 137-73 in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, Washington led 10-7 after three quarters before being outscored 10-0 the rest of the way.

Etc.

–WR DeSean Jackson exited with a left hamstring injury suffered on a deep throw from Cousins on the first play of the second series. Jackson is scheduled for an MRI.

–SS Duke Ihenacho left the game after fracturing and dislocating his left wrist while tackling RB Lamar Miller on Miami’s second series. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Ihenacho will have an MRI.

–QB Robert Griffin III was the inactive third-stringer after starting Washington’s previous three openers.


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