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After losing in the final minutes of Week 3, Washington looks to pull the upset as they host the Cowboys. Here are the key area’s the Redskins must excel in, in order to get the win:
1) Protect Grossman: The Redskins quarterback received a lot of criticism after being benched in Week 5 against the Eagles, due to his weakness with turnovers. Although he looked decent last week, he was rushed a lot and forced to make bad throws. If the offensive line can hold off some of the most brutal linebackers in the league, Grossman will have the opportunity to make accurate throws, and more importantly, touchdowns.
2) Get the run game going early: Ranked dead last in the league in rush yards with 86.7, the running back system has been out of form since lead rusher Tim Hightower was lost to injury. In order to make this a close game, Roy Helu and Ryan Torain will have to step up and make plays.
3) Catch the ball: Something the Redskins have been lacking at is catching the ball. Sure, the receivers on this team are young and learning the system, but they need to learn quicker. Veteran Donte’ Stallworth was re-signed this week and looks to lend a hand, along with David Anderson and Jabar Gaffney. Also, after a quiet game against the Dolphins, team leader in receiving yards Fred Davis will look to rebound with a strong, difference making game.
4) Keep Murray contained: Cowboys rookie star DeMarco Murray has been a big help this season, rushing for nearly 700 yards on 100 carries. Week by week, he has shredded opponents, shaking defense’s out of their shoes. The Redskins need to chalk up some defensive schemes on how the will contain him and limit the run game. The strong defensive ends Stephan Bowen and Adam Carriker will look to keep him from running wide, and the linebackers will try to clog up the middle.
5) Hit Romo: Hobbled by injuries in Week 3, the Redskins had every opportunity to make Cowboys QB Tony Romo feel the pain, yet they failed, barley laying a hand on him. The Washington defense will have to put pressure on Romo early and hit him hard, even if the first one draws the flag. If they can efficiently hurry and trap Romo, he will be forced to throw a bad pass (a good thing), or take a big hit (a great thing).
One more for good luck: Maybe the biggest factor in the game is Kyle Shanahan. He will need to be smart and call what is best for the team in the long run, not just at the moment. If Helu runs wild, let him run wild. If the pass game gets going, trust the receiver’s and take advantage of it. If not, someone else on the coaching staff may be calling plays the rest of the season.