Thanks to an expanded role, rookie wide reciever Jamison Crowder became an important part of the Redskins' plans on offense against the Eagles.
With the knowledge that he'd be receiving a larger role in the offense, and with Andre Roberts a healthy scratch before the game, wide receiver Jamison Crowder began his ascension towards becoming a crucial part of the Redskins' offense on Sunday.
Crowder led the team with a season-high seven catches for 65 yards en route to the Redskins' 23-20 victory over the Eagles at FedExField. He was targeted 12 times by quarterback Kirk Cousins and became a reliable weapon as the game progressed.
"We've seen that all camp," head coach Jay Gruden said. "He had the injury there at the end of camp. He's starting to emerge himself into a quality slot receiver for us and outside. The injury set him back just a little bit. Once we felt like he was 100 percent, we felt like he's deserving of being where he is, and that's on the field. He's a tough guy. He handles the running game, smart, obviously makes big catches. The game's not too big for him, you can see that."
That's largely due to preparation, something Crowder said he could credit to studying each day throughout the week in order to feel completely ready for Sunday. Once he made his first catch, the jitters disappeared and confidence began to blossom.
"I was in my playbook and everything just making sure I'm on top of my stuff so I don't have any mental errors once I'm out there," Crowder said. "So I felt like going into this game I did a great job this week preparing."
Crowder, also doing his best on punt returns throughout the game, caught six balls for 56 yards in the second half. One critical catch in the fourth quarter went for no gain, a crossing route over the middle that he extended and hauled in right before the sideline, saving a potential safety had Cousins, passing inside the end zone, not found him.
Another catch, his longest of the day, showed off his ability to grab the football and shake the perception of his height being a limiting factor.
With six minutes left in the third quarter and the Redskins facing 3rd and 13 just into Eagles territory, Cousins launched a 22-yard pass to Crowder, who was surrounded near the left hash by a trio of Eagles defensive backs. The 5-foot-6, 185 pounder grabbed the pass at its highest point and survived the hits waiting below for a first down.
"I know once the ball was thrown I could feel the guys around me, I knew that I had to go up and I knew that I was probably going to take the hit," Crowder said. "So I just really focused in on catching the ball and coming down with it and maintaining position."
On the game's final, 90-yard game-winning drive, Crowder took in a four-yard pass before Cousins and Garçon took over in the red zone.
"I mean, [Cousins] was poised, confident, knew that we had to score and he was definitely throwing the ball on the money," Crowder said. "He did what he had to do- he was calm and kept everybody else calm. We knew what was at stake, we got it done."