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5 Takeaways: Redskins-Bengals


Here's five takeaways from the Washington Redskins' Week 8 27-27 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium in London.

1. The Redskins weren't quite sure how to respond to a tie with the Bengals.
Very few NFL players and coaches will ever experience at tie (Josh Norman just so happened to tie this same Cincinnati team in 2014), but on Sunday in front of an international crowd, neither the Redskins nor the Bengals could come out with an advantage in the score column, playing to a 27-27 draw.

"Should I be upset or happy or whatever?" Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said after the game. "But I think the one thing I'm happy about is the way we competed and fought. Some guys came in and played hurt, and that was a dogfight. That's a heck of a team over there in Cincinnati. …But we fought, made some good plays, made some dumb plays, made some things happen, but couldn't get it done at the end."

The Redskins jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game, methodically marching down the field on 15 plays before Rob Kelley capped it off with a one-yard touchdown.

The Bengals would respond just minutes later with their own touchdown, though.

It was just that kind of day with neither team really being able to create separation.

"It doesn't just boil down to that one play," safety Donte Whitner Sr. said. "There was a number of other plays made in football game. There was a couple of interceptions we should've had from trap coverages. But also, sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way and today it didn't bounce either one of our ways."

Washington enters the Bye Week with a 4-3-1 record before facing a Minnesota Vikings team that has lost just one game so far this season.

While the confusing feeling of a tie will sit with the team for a little bit, they must put the game in the past and starting preparing for the second half of the season where Washington faces five teams currently above .500.

"We've just [got to] put it behind us and prepare for Minnesota," cornerback Quinton Dunbar said.
The game's behind us now, so all we can do is prepare for Minnesota." 

2. Trent Williams was locked in throughout the day.
Outside of a deep throw interception, Cousins was mostly on point against a Bengals defense that attempted to hurry him.

Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' offense in their 2016 Week 8 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals Oct. 30, 2016, at Wembley Stadium in London.

The fifth-year Michigan State product would finish the game completing 38-of-56 for 458 yards and two touchdowns.

The 38 completions set a new franchise-high for a single game and he also pulled even with Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen for the most 300-yard passing games (15) in Redskins history.

While Cousins was able to move the ball up and down the field with ease, the offense was only able to score three touchdowns despite collecting more than 540 yards of total offense.

The Redskins entered the red zone on four separate tries, but only the first drive of the game resulted in a touchdown scored inside the 20-yard line.

"I think that's the key is that you always look towards what's next, what's the next challenge," Cousins said after the game. "We don't live in the past in this league, so it is what it is and what I'm proud of is the fact that so many guys laid it on the line and gave us everything they had and I was proud of the effort and the mental and physical toughness that guys showed through the course of the game."

Cousins heads into the Redskins' Bye Week with solid numbers, as he's passed for 2,454 yards – second most in the NFL through Sunday's games -- and 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

"We certainly want to go into a Bye Week with a good taste in our mouths, and while it's not a win, it's certainly better than a loss," Cousins said. "I know it's a cliché thing to say, but I've really run out of words. I think that's the best way to describe it. We'll take from this game from an offensive perspective that a lot of good things happened, a lot of plays were made, a lot of yards were produced and we just need to keep going, keep learning, and hope that the second half of the season we can get in a rhythm where we finish strong."

3. Robert Kelley flashes in first NFL start.
With Rob Kelley sidelines with a knee injury, the Redskins called on undrafted rookie Robert Kelley to be the team's No. 1 back against the Bengals.

The Tulane product didn't falter under bright international lights, as he carried the ball 21 times for 87 yards and a touchdown.

But his effectiveness went well past the stat sheet, as he held up in pass protection (Cousins was sacked just once on the afternoon) while churning out yards after contact.

"I liked the way he ran," Gruden said. "He protected the ball, had some big runs there. That big one in overtime was a huge run to get us down into field goal range. I think he had a couple opportunities to pick up some blitzes, did a good job, so I thought he played well."

Kelley's rushing touchdown – the first of his NFL career – punctuated a long opening drive for Washington.

While Cousins threw the ball 10 times on the drive, Kelley's five runs kept the defense on its toes before he punched in the four-yard touchdown run.

"I had a front row seat every time I hand the ball off to watch him read the holes and make the cuts and attack and keep his shoulders downhill and take on contact, and I was very pleased with the way he ran the football, the toughness he showed, the way he competed, the way he fought for extra yards," Cousins said. "I enjoyed the front row seat that I had today to watch him run."

4. The defense was able to clamp down on the Bengals' final drives of regulation and overtime.
It looked all too familiar.

Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' defense and special teams in their 2016 Week 8 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals Oct. 30, 2016, at Wembley Stadium in London.

After Dustin Hopkins booted through a game-tying 40-yard field goal with only 71 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the Bengals were getting the ball back with an opportunity to potentially win the game.

But unlike the Lions game just one week prior, the defense was stout against Andy Dalton and his crew, as they ultimately forced the Bengals to punt with 11 seconds left on the clock.

Setting up in shotgun for the entire drive, Dalton was able to complete his first pass for 13 yards to get Cincinnati to its own 38-yard line.

Cincinnati would eventually move up to the 43-yard line after an illegal use of hands penalty on Washington, but the drive would be thwarted there, as Su'a Cravens notched his first NFL sack on third down.

Then, after Hopkins missed a potential game-winning kick just before the two-minute warning in overtime, the defense forced its second turnover of the day, as Chris Baker and Will Compton combined to force a fumble that the debuting Anthony Lanier II would recover.

"They tried to run a quarterback sneak, and I split the center and the guard and got my hands on the quarterback," Baker said. "Once I felt the ball, I practiced the strip and it actually worked on that play. I'm glad Anthony was able to recover it, we gave our offense another chance to go out there and try to finish the game off, but we just came up a little short today."

While the offense ultimately couldn't get any more points up on the board before the final whistle blew, those two appearances by the defense prevented a second straight loss.

"We showed up when we needed to be at the right time," defensive end Ricky Jean Francois said. "We were in a drought for turnovers for a while, but those turnovers came. Could've got more, but when we needed that turnover it came through. We pounced on it."

5. The Redskins have quite the tandem at tight end with the younger Jordan Reed and the experienced Vernon Davis.
Even though Jordan Reed returned from a two-game absence to record a nine-catch, 99-yard performance against the Bengals on 72 snaps, the Redskins continued using Vernon Davis as well.

After his first catch of the day went for just one yard, Davis quickly opened up the defense on back-to-back plays in the second quarter, hauling in a 44-yard reception on a beautiful placed ball from Cousins on a wheel route and then followed it up with a 15-yard reception.

The two catches helped Washington get into Cincinnati territory before Hopkins completed the drive with a 20-yard field goal.

Davis would finish the day with 93 receiving yards, the most he's recorded in a game since Week 6 of the 2013 season. It was also his fourth games this season with at least 50 receiving yards.

"I just feel like we've got a great court of players, first of all," Reed said, referring to the Redskins' tight ends. "And we were able to take advantage of the matchups.

Heading into the Bye Week, Davis and Reed have combined for 65 catches for 731 yards and four touchdowns.

"[Reed] comes out and does what he does every single Sunday," Davis said. "He gives his very best. He's a tremendous talent. Niles Paul, tremendous talent. We as a group collectively, we went in and handled our responsibilities and played football."

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