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QB Josh Johnson helping keep Redskins playoff hopes alive

By
The Sports Xchange
Washington Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson (8) runs a keeper play against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL game on December 9 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Washington Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson (8) runs a keeper play against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL game on December 9 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Washington Redskins are still alive for a playoff berth.

That's no small feat for a team that's on its' fourth starting quarterback and has seen more than 15 players placed on injured reserve. After four straight loses the Redskins defense returned to form and Josh Johnson and offense did just enough in a 16-13 win in Jacksonville that ended with Dustin Hopkins' field goal.

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"I think Josh did some good things," Redskins coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Monday. "First half there were some ugly plays. We didn't handle a lot of their movement up front, they did a nice job spiking their three-technique and their defensive ends created havoc in the running game.

"In the passing game, we struggled a little bit, but stuck with the plan, got a little bit better in the second half. ... Then Josh made enough plays at the end to get us down there."

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Johnson was making his first start in seven years. Prior to throwing a pass in last week's loss to the Giants, Johnson hadn't thrown a pass since Dec. 11, 2011.

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Against the Jaguars' defense, Johnson was 16 of 25 for 151 yards and one touchdown. He did not throw an interception.

"I saw him playing catch and threw one 180 miles an hour at the guy and almost killed him," Gruden said when asked what he told Johnson before the game. "Yeah, I just told him, relax, calm down and everything is going to be. But he's got a lot of poise for a guy who just got here. A lot of confidence."

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Washington travels to Tennessee (7-7) Saturday for a matchup of teams who both hold the eighth spot in their respective conferences. The Redskins are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles, one game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Washington and Philadelphia, who play in Week 17, are one-half game behind the Vikings for the second wild card spot.

Gruden will be hoping the defensive effort carries over against the Titans and Derrick Henry. After allowing 403 yards against the Giants, the Redskins held the Jaguars to 192.

"I just think that they complimented each other very well. I think the pass rush complimented the secondary and vice versa," Gruden said. "The secondary held up when we didn't have a lot of pass rush and that's what it's all about. In the run game, I think everybody did their job and that's kind of what we preach. I think most teams try to preach the same thing and that's do your job.

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"So, I think everybody is held accountable and I think they answered the challenge."

--QB Josh Johnson was 160f 25 for 151 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in Sunday's win against Jacksonville. Johnson also ran nine times for 49 yards.

--RB Adrian Peterson gained 51 yards on 19 carries. Peterson has topped 70 yards in game just once in the past seven weeks.

--CB Fabian Moreau grabbed his first career interception in Sunday's win against the Jaguars.

--LB Ryan Kerrigan had two sacks against the Jaguars, giving him 11 on the season. His career high is 13 1/2 in 2014.

--DT Jonathan Allen had two sacks on Sunday, giving him seven on the season.

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