The Washington Redskins hosted the New England Patriots for the 2014 preseason home opener at FedExField on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
*Redskins.com's Andrew Walker takes a closer look at Thursday's preseason opener against the New England Patriots at FedExField: *
Two hundred twenty-one days. That's how long it had been since the Washington Redskins last took the field – that is, until tonight's preseason opener.
After three days practicing together earlier in the week, the Redskins hosted the New England Patriots at FedExField, where the home team was victorious, 23-6.
Of course, the final score means little to either team. After all, the Redskins went undefeated in the preseason last season, and then struggled to a 3-13 record in the games that actually count.
Jay Gruden – in his first-ever game as head coach of the Redskins tonight – said earlier in the week that he wanted to see which players would make the most of their opportunities throughout the game.
In tonight's contest, pretty much every player on the Redskins' 90-man roster was given plenty of those opportunities. They know that the first round of roster cuts – which occur after the third preseason game – are coming up quick.
That being said, with everything on the line for so many players, the Redskins certainly played with pride in front of their home crowd tonight.
There's been plenty of talk coming from the Redskins' training camp about rookie wide receiver Ryan Grant. Head coach Jay Gruden even said the Tulane product has been playing like a 10-year veteran so far in practices, but Grant was yet to get any game action – until Thursday night. By the third quarter, Grant was targeted three times and caught all three passes for 37 yards, showing why his teammates and coaches have been raving about the fifth-round pick's elusive route-running abilities.
PLAY OF THE GAME
The offensive starters were already out by the Redskins' second drive of the game, but quarterback Kirk Cousins got the opportunity to show why he's one of the best backups in the league. After driving to the New England 10-yard line, Cousins threw a dart to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, splitting two defenders in the process, to give Washington – after the extra point – a 10-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter.
PLAYER OF THE GAMEThere's plenty of competition among the Redskins' wide receivers. Aldrick Robinson showed Thursday night that he certainly belongs in the conversation for a spot on the 53-man roster. Robinson hauled in three catches for 45 yards and the aforementioned touchdown, but his most impressive play came in the second quarter, when he hauled in a Cousins pass for 23 yards along the sideline.
UNSUNG HEROThe Redskins officially have a competition on their hands at kicker.
Rookie Zach Hocker -- a seventh-round draft pick out of Arkansas -- came out strong in his professional debut, making both of his field-goal attempts (with a long of 39 yards) and his lone extra-point attempt to put seven points on the board. Hocker also showed up strong on the opening kickoff, booting the ball out of the back of the end zone for the touchback.
Incumbent starter Kai Forbath, meanwhile, made one of his two field goal attempts, also converting from 39 yards, but missing from 46 yards.
The Redskins have one more home game on the schedule before twice going on the road to close out their preseason slate of games.
Washington plays host to the Cleveland Browns Aug. 18 in a game being televised nationally on ESPN's "Monday Night Football." By that time, much of the national attention for the game will likely be centered on Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel and whether or not he's ready to start. But here in D.C. and at training camp in Richmond, the Redskins will continue to be focused on continuing to evolve and improve as a team.
But, seriously, the Browns are a much-improved team overall, and feature some very talented pieces in Ben Tate, Nate Burleson and Miles Austin.
With ESPN in town, it'll certainly be a preseason game with a little extra hype attached to it. It should be a fun one.
(For more on this story -- and for much more from the game -- check back with www.redskins.com.)