Johnson leads Redskins to late scores, 16-13 win at Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Josh Johnson’s Madden rating should get a bump after his first NFL start in seven years.
Johnson, who played Madden NFL 19 to learn his new teammates’ names, led Washington on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 16-13 on Sunday.
With a lot of help from running back Adrian Peterson, Johnson drove the Redskins (7-7) into field-goal range in the closing minutes and set up Dustin Hopkins’ 36-yard field goal on the final play. Hopkins drilled it, ending Washington’s four-game losing streak and keeping it on the fringe of the NFC playoff picture.
It was the first victory of Johnson’s professional career — he had been 0-5 as a starter — and the first for the Redskins since quarterback Alex Smith broke his right leg last month.
The 32-year-old Johnson, the franchise’s fourth starting quarterback in as many weeks, completed 16 of 25 passes for 151 yards and the score. He also ran for 49 yards.
“I know every opportunity I get could be my last one,” Johnson said. “It’s the reality of my situation, so I just wanted to leave it all on the field. I owe the game that much because I love it that much. For me to go out there and not leave it on the field, I would be disrespecting it. If I had the opportunity to go out and make a play, I’m going to do it.”
His 6-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Sprinkle with 5:47 remaining tied the game. The Redskins got the ball back with an interception on the ensuing possession, and Peterson carried five times for 28 yards and had a 7-yard reception to get the team close enough for Hopkins to win it.
“Josh made enough plays, and people around him made enough plays to get us the victory,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.
Peterson finished with 51 on the ground, more than half of those coming on the winning drive.
“It was a situation where it was do or die,” Peterson said. “It was not that serious, but obviously for our season and what we’re trying to accomplish, we needed this W to get out of this funk by any means necessary. One point, two points, we didn’t care.”
The Jaguars (4-10) have dropped nine of 10, raising more questions about the future of coach Doug Marrone, top decision-maker Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell.
Jacksonville managed 192 yards, another anemic performance under Marrone. The Jags now have double-digit losses for the seventh time in the last eight years.
Cody Kessler was 9 of 17 passing for 57 yards with an interception in his third start since replacing Blake Bortles. He has directed one touchdown drive in 31 possessions.
Kessler limped through the locker room with red marks and scratches on his back after being sacked six times behind a makeshift offensive line. He also was Jacksonville’s leading rusher with 68 yards on the ground, 22 more than Leonard Fournette.
Fournette touched the ball just once in the second half and returned kickoffs for the first time in his career. Marrone said the plan was to get a better look at undrafted rookie Dave Williams.
“He’s been here working hard so we just wanted to see him in there and see what he can do,” Marrone said.
Jacksonville’s lone highlight was Dede Westbrook returning a punt 74 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
Smith was released from the hospital after multiple surgeries to his broken right leg. His wife, Elizabeth Smith, posted an update Sunday on Instagram and said she was grateful to have her husband home.
Smith sustained a spiral fracture to his right leg when he was sacked in a game against Houston on Nov. 18. He underwent surgery the following day to repair his fibula and tibia. Two media outlets reported that a leg infection complicated his recovery and required further procedures.
Redskins tight end Vernon Davis was evaluated for a head and neck injury and cleared to return, then left to be re-evaluated for a concussion in the fourth. ... Jaguars rookie safety Ronnie Harrison injured his left knee on Washington’s first series, limped to the sideline and did not return. Jarrod Wilson replaced Harrison and had two pass breakups before leaving with a leg injury. ... Redskins offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe (knee), cornerback Joshua Holsey (knee) and cornerback Danny Johnson (finger).
Redskins: stay in the AFC South and play at Tennessee on Saturday.
Jaguars: remain in the Sunshine State and play at Miami next Sunday.