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Redskins-Chargers: Ingredients For Victory


The crew breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Sundays's Redskins-Chargers 2017 Week 14 showdown at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif.

"Redskins-Chargers: Ingredients For Victory" is presented by Papa John’s.

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The last time the Redskins were out, Washington simply could not put together a complete performance in a 38-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that significantly damaged the team's chances of making the postseason.

While the defense forced four straight three-and-outs to start the game, their collective performance faded in the second half. The offense, meanwhile, was plagued by turnovers and the inability to slow Dallas' pass rush.

Special teams also had their issues, allowing a Ryan Switzer 83-yard punt return in the second quarter that really swung momentum to the Cowboys' favor.

The Redskins must put that performance in the past as they face a 6-6 Los Angeles Chargers squad that is in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West.

"If you love the game of football or if you like the game of football, you go out there and compete no matter what," said veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood. "Regardless of your chances or not, you've got to go out there and compete and play and stuff like that. Not only that, you want to show your teammates that, 'I'm going to give everything I've got' regardless of what's happening at the end of the year."

Despite the slim prospects currently for postseason play, Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland doesn't "have any doubts" that the team will be ready to play over the final quarter of the season and that starts with Sunday's game at the Stubhub Center in Carson, Calif.

"I feel like as guys, we're professional and we know what's at stake and we know what position we're in," Breeland said. "Everybody here loves ball, so I feel like we're going to go out there and do what we've got to do in these last four games."

(Stephen Czarda)

Currently on a three-game winning streak, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has his offense riding high.

Rivers, who hasn't thrown multiple interceptions in a game since September, is on track to having one of his better years under center for the Chargers, with 3,292 passing yards on the season, fourth-best in the NFL entering Week 14 action.

"Just from the knowledge of the game, he knows where has got to go with the ball," said Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. "He is very effective getting it out of his hands, and from a pressure standpoint he knows where the pressures are coming."

Manusky knows all about how effective Rivers can be, having spent four years as the Chargers' linebacker coach and one year as their defensive coordinator in San Diego.

Out wide, Rivers has receiver Keenan Allen to depend on, who he targets more than twice as much as anyone on the team.

Inside the pocket, Rivers has carved up defenses with his arm, with 21 touchdowns compared to seven interceptions on the season. However, when pressured, Rivers consistently fails to make defenses pay with mobility, losing seven yards on his 16 rushing attempts this season.

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said the upcoming matchup against Rivers is something he has been looking forward to for quite some time now.

"His release is so quick, he can release it with the flick of the wrist and get it out there to the wide receivers," Norman said. "We're definitely going to have to be on alert, high alert and aware at all times with a guy like. He's going to test you."

(Brandon Hill)

For the first time this season, the Redskins will enter a game facing a wide receiver that has already toppled 1,000 receiving yards.

Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Chargers Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.

After recording more than 1,000 yards during his rookie season, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen didn't come within 200 yards of the mark over the next four years between injury issues and inconsistent play. Then during the 2016 regular season opener, Allen suffered a torn ACL.

The University of California product has made quite the comeback this year, though, as he has already tied his career-high in receptions (77) and is only 14 yards away from setting a new personal best in receiving yards in a single season.

Allen enters Sunday's game off a collective three-game performance the NFL has never seen, becoming the first player in the league's history to record at least 10 catches for 100 yards and one touchdown in three consecutive games.

While the majority of the Redskins have little experience going against Allen, he is the cousin of Washington wide receiver Maurice Harris.

Both grew up in Greensboro, N.C., and attended the University of California.

"I watch him a lot, watching film and stuff," Harris said. "I've obviously seen him on TV, he's been doing some great things and a lot of success. He deserves it. He's a good player and he's worked hard and had a lot of injuries and stuff, so I'm happy for him."

Harris said it is "going to mean a lot" to share a field with Allen once again, this time in the NFL.

"You know, growing up together, playing together is a big deal for us," Harris said. "This will be the first time in the NFL that we're on the same field. I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure he is too. It'll be very exciting for us to be on the same field at the same time. I know our families will be excited for that."

(Stephen Czarda) 

There might not be a more fearsome pass rush duo in the NFL right now than Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the ends for the Los Angeles Chargers' defensive line. 

With Bosa listed at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, and Ingram at 6-foot-2 and 247 pounds, the two former first-round picks offer a near perfect balance of speed, strength and intelligence in the edge defender role.

So far this season, the duo has combined for 20 sacks and five forced fumbles, all while drawing heavy attention from opposing offenses.

It goes without saying that the Bosa and Ingram will play a role in the Redskins' offensive game planning, but preparing for them offers another challenge – you never know where they might line up.

"Those guys are good, without a doubt," Gruden said of the Chargers pass-rushing duo. "And they move them around. You know, it's not like they're at one spot where you can plan and help. You know, I think Ingram especially does an excellent job lining up over guards, and they have different fronts where they can move him around."

As is the case with every great defensive lineman, the impact of Bosa and Ingram goes beyond their individual stats. The Chargers defense, particularly in the passing game, has been one of the surprise units of the season so far, and it is large part because of the constant pressure provided up front by the pair of edge defenders.

"They have been very good against the pass this year. I think they are fifth versus the pass, only allowing just over 200 yards a game," quarterback Trent Williams said of the Chargers' defense. "I've got to believe that a lot of the credit does go to the pass rush and then works back from there."

(Jay Cannon)

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