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Redskins Hope To Control Tempo With Run Game

In a rematch of a game that saw plenty offense the first time around, the Washington Redskins are hoping to finish the deal against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday.

When the two teams met in Philadelphia in a Week 3 showdown, they scored a combined 71 points and piled on 890 yards of total offense (511 for the Redskins). Both offenses averaged more than five yards per play, racked up a combined 49 first downs and ran at least 66 plays each.

Washington brought the deficit to within three when running back Roy Helu Jr. scored with 4:16 left in the game, but the Redskins' last-ditch effort to come from behind ended with a turnover on downs inside Eagles' territory.

To prepare for this Saturday's contest, head coach Jay Gruden said that the Redskins did things well in that game and that there is plenty to take from it.

"There's some positives to take from that game," he said. "We had some big plays and some good chunks of yardage plays. We were competitive obviously, but we're looking for more than that. We've got to finish the deal one time."

In that game, wide receiver DeSean Jackson returned to Philadelphia for the first time and provided one of those big plays that Gruden alluded to. Jackson -- who finished with 117 yards on five receptions that day -- caught an 81-yard touchdown pass that tied the game with two minutes left in the third quarter.

While there was plenty of emotion in that game, Jackson says it will be business as usual this time around.

"First game was the first time playing," Jackson said. "Now, whole season went on. They're playing there and I'm playing here. I can't put too much energy into that."

Since matching up with the Eagles on Sept. 9, Gruden says that the Philadelphia defense has evolved schematically, but that it still comes down to the offense doing what makes them the most comfortable.

"They've changed up some of their defensive schemes," Gruden said. "It's a matter of doing what we do and what Robert [Griffin III] is comfortable with, what our offense is comfortable with and trying to attack what they do."

When studying Philadelphia on film, tight end Logan Paulsen believes that the Eagles have talent across the board on defense.

"They got a really outstanding front group of guys," Paulsen said. "They got some really good linebackers. Their defensive line is outstanding. Their secondary's not bad, either. They got a really good defense, they fly around. They do a lot of different stuff."

To lead the charge, the Eagles' defense is headed by outside linebacker Connor Barwin. With 14.5 sacks, Barwin leads the NFC and has recorded a multi-sack game on four occasions. He's also deflected five passes while forcing a pair of fumbles.

In the defensive backfield, free safety Malcolm Jenkins has made a team-high three interceptions while cornerback Bradley Fletcher leads the team with 21 pass deflections. On the year, Philadelphia has picked off 10 passes.

Barwin, though, is the point-man for one of the league's best pass rushes. With 47 sacks, the Eagles are ranked 2nd in the NFL. Philadelphia has also recorded 25 takeaways, tying them for fourth-most in the NFL.

In order to slow down their pass rush, Gruden hopes to utilize checkdown routes in the passing game to get the ball out of quarterback Robert Griffin III's hands quickly.

"It's a matter of us finding them and throwing them and being able to get the ball off," Gruden said. "They have a good pass rush as does everybody we play. They have DBs that have great ball skills, and it'll be a great test for us."

In their previous matchup, rushing yards were hard to come by, despite each team running the ball at least 25 times. Alfred Morris ran for a game-high 77 yards, but neither team found much success on the ground.

As the old saying goes, your best defense is a good offense. This Saturday, the Redskins hope to control the tempo and clock with their running game, while also keeping Chip Kelly's high-powered offense on the sideline.

"They're a very good offense and we certainly want to be able to maintain control of the football and it all starts with the run game," Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. "Some of the things we do well come off that run game action, so that's always a big point of emphasis for us."




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