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Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Redskins 24, Raiders 14

By John Keim

OAKLAND -- A few thoughts on the Washington Redskins' 24-14 victory against the Oakland Raiders:

What it means: Washington can exhale for at least another game. After an ugly 0-3 start, Washington's victory at Oakland enables them to enter their bye week feeling a little better about themselves. Yes, Oakland's offense is not that great when quarterback Matt Flynn is starting. But the Redskins needed a boost and Oakland provided one. The Redskins will not spend two weeks answering as many tough questions as they would have had they suffered their fourth straight loss. The Redskins showed a little more swagger in the second half on offense, with flashes of the old Robert Griffin III -- and a heck of a hurdle by running back Roy Helu.

Hurry up: The Redskins’ offense started to find its rhythm when they went to a no-huddle attack in the second quarter. They did not get a touchdown out of that look, but it sped the tempo and provided them with a little surge. It also seemed to provide some confidence. The Redskins do not like to use that strategy for an entire game because they feel it changes too much of what they like to do. But they favor it as a change-up approach, and it did its job Sunday. But perhaps the play that really turned their momentum around was a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by rookie corner David Amerson.

Stock watch: Rising: Nose tackle Barry Cofield. The past two weeks Cofield has been the Redskins’ best defensive player. His quickness in the middle, plus his ability to handle -- and occasionally beat -- double teams has been huge. He recorded two sacks in a game for the first time in his career. The Redskins’ defense recorded seven sacks and made one stop after another in the second half. Cofield recovered a fumble caused by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan's sack.

Falling: Special teams. They continue to make mistakes each game and put the Redskins in an early hole when Perry Riley allowed a stunt to get past him for a blocked punt and touchdown. They’re not atoning for their mistakes.

Fortunate bounce: The Redskins received a number of good bounces a year ago when they’d turn their fumbles into touchdowns. That hasn’t been the case this season.  But they received one huge break in the fourth quarter when Helu fumbled a third-down reception. The Raiders would have had the ball inside the Redskins’ 30. But an offside penalty negated the play. The Redskins ended up punting on the play; it could have been worse.

What’s next: The Redskins have a bye on Sunday before traveling to face the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 13.