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Josh Johnson leads Redskins over Jaguars

December 16, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. What, you didn’t have “Josh Johnson quarterbacks game-winning drive over disappointing Jaguars team” in the preseason pool?

Though Sunday’s game could beeasilysummed up as a bad team squeaking out a bad win over a bad opponent, the result meant the Washington Redskins have something to look forward to for the holidays.

The team that was riding a four-game losing streak and starting its fourth quarterback of the year kept its playoff hopes on life support, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 16-13 on a last-second field goal Sunday at TIAA Bank Field.

In the pressure cooker known as the NFL in December, Washington snapped a four-game losing streak. The Redskins (7-7) weren’t even eliminated from the NFC East race Sunday, as the Dallas Cowboys lost and fell to 8-6.

In his sixth career NFL start and first since 2011, Johnson went 16-for-25 for 151 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. It was the journeyman’s first career win as a starter.

Down 13-6 early in the fourth quarter, Johnson engineered a 10-play, 68-yard drive for the Redskins’ first touchdown of the game. It was buoyed by a 33-yard catch on 3rd and 15, in which Jamison Crowder caught a tipped pass. Tight end Jeremy Sprinkle caught the 6-yard score.

On the next drive, Jacksonville quarterback Cody Kessler overthrew a deep pass through the hands of a jumping Dede Westbrook, and Fabian Moreau intercepted, setting the Redskins up for a last-minute drive capped by Dustin Hopkins’ 36-yard game winner.

Ryan Kerrigan’s strip-sack on the first drive of the game provided an early spark of hope that the defense would return to form, even though Washington couldn’t capitalize with points. The Redskins stumbled into a 46-yard field goal on their second drive and maintained a 3-0 lead for most of the first half.

The defense picked apart Jacksonville’s line in the first half Kerrigan’s was one of four sacks in the half, including two from Jonathan Allen. But after the Jaguars drew even 3-3, Washington special teams mistakes created a wild shift in field position and an unexpected score.

Jaguars punter Logan Cooke uncorked a 63-yard punt from his end zone that Maurice Harris wasn’t ready for. He backpedaled and muffed the ball, ruining Washington’s chance at field position.

One quick three-and-out later, Westbrook returned Tress Way’s punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the half. The gaffe featured Byron Marshall failing to see a clean opportunity to tackle Westbrook.

The Redskins responded with a 16-play scoring drive to open the second half, though it was just another field goal. Meanwhile, the Jaguars didn’t necessarily figure out how to exploit Washington’s defense so much as they accidentally found their most effective weapon: Kessler scrambling out of the pocket.

After scrambling four times for 44 yards in the first half, Kessler was able to rip off a 21-yarder early in the fourth quarter. By day’s end, none of Kessler’s six carries were designed runs, yet he was the game’s leading rusher.

Jacksonville tacked on a field goal to go up 13-6 with 11:16 left in the fourth, leading to the Redskins’ game-tying drive.

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