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Drive Of The Game: Fourth-Down Conversion Fuels Game-Sealing Touchdown Drive


This week's Redskins Drive of the Game, presented by Ford, was highlighted by a gutsy fourth-down call by the Redskins that sparked a pivotal scoring drive to put the Packers away on Sunday Night Football.*

Each time the Green Bay Packers were able to come within one score in the second half, the Washington Redskins had an answer, and usually in a big way. Kirk Cousins's 44-yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder with 2:07 left in the third quarter started a stretch of four consecutive drives in which the two teams traded touchdowns.

The final of those four drives – an Aaron Rodgers touchdown to Jared Cook – made the score 29-24, Redskins, with 10:08 remaining in the Week 11 matchup. Washington not only needed a score, but needed to take some time off the clock. Both were achieved in an 11-play, 81-yard touchdown drive that stripped 6:10 off the clock to take a commanding 35-24 lead.

The Redskins turned to the ground to start the drive, but running back Robert Kelley was stuffed for a four-yard loss. However, Washington regained the lost yardage and more when Cousins found DeSean Jackson for an 11-yard gain. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder was interfered with on third down, but a holding penalty on the Redskins offset the Packers flag. Replaying third down, Cousins hit Jackson again, this time for six yards and a first down.

Washington went back to the ground game for three straight plays with Kelley gaining six, two and one yard on three runs. A yard away from a new set of downs, the Redskins had a decision to make. Go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 41-yard line or punt it away to a hot Packers offense? The Redskins had a moment to ponder as Green Bay's Nick Perry was injured on the previous play, and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden decided to send the offense back on the field.

"The fourth-and-one was pretty simple," Gruden said after the game. "It was half a yard and the wind was pretty strong in our face. Thought our offensive line was getting pretty good movement [and] we'd get a half a yard with the quarterback sneak play."

The call worked as Cousins pushed forward on a quarterback sneak for a first down.

"I think you just have to because of the amount of time left on the clock, the margin, the way the Packers had been moving the ball and the players they have on the offensive side of the ball," Cousins said. "I think you had to do it. It's just a matter of which play to call and how do we execute it versus the front or blitz that they will bring. Credit Brandon Scherff, Spencer Long, and Shawn Lauvao for getting the push inside against a pretty good interior defensive line, to enable me to get in because I certainly don't get in there by turning my legs. It's those guys making some push up front."

Kelley followed with a three-yard gain, but Cousins's second-down pass intended for Pierre Garçon was incomplete, setting up another third down. Washington needed seven yards, but Cousins and Crowder picked up 53 as the second-year receiver was hit perfectly in stride and came up just short of scoring. Kelley took care of that on the next play, rumbling into the end zone from a yard out to put the Redskins up by 11.

The Packers never came closer as Redskins cornerback Josh Norman forced a fumble on the ensuing Green Bay possession and Kelley followed with his third touchdown of the night to bring out the "We want Dallas" chants at FedExField.

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