- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 13, 2019

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Terry McLaurin turned his head to the right and the defender bit. As Dolphins cornerback Ken Webster started to drift that direction, the Redskins wide receiver cut back to his left — creating enough separation to break free.

By the time Webster realized it was a fake, he couldn’t make up the ground. Case Keenum unleashed the ball, finding McLaurin in the end zone for the touchdown.

“I thought the seven-cut corner route that he ran,” interim coach Bill Callahan said, “it was an art-form piece of work in terms of his route running.”

McLaurin’s precise route running made a huge difference in the Redskins’ 17-16 win Sunday over the Miami Dolphins as the 24-year-old hauled in both of Washington’s touchdowns. It was another instance this season of McLaurin emerging as the Redskins’ top receiver.

Against Miami, McLaurin had four catches for 100 yards on seven targets.

This season — even with a game missed due to a hamstring injury — McLaurin leads the Redskin in targets.

“He’s extremely talented,” Keenum said. “He’s friendly on the eyes as a quarter. Just the body language he gives in and out of his breaks, it makes sense. I know where he’s going to be at all times.”

The Redskins have long-needed a receiver like that. After Washington lost DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in the 2017 offseason, the team has lacked a No.1 target as various options — Terrelle Pryor in free agency, Josh Doctson through the draft — failed to pan out. With McLaurin, the Redskins drafted the 24-year-old in the third round, but didn’t expect him to be this much of a contributor right away.

McLaurin, though, quickly rocketed up the team’s depth chart. He impressed in OTAs and in training camp — so much so that former coach Jay Gruden held the rookie out of a preseason game as a precaution when McLaurin was dealing with a minor injury. He won the starting spot opposite of Paul Richardson, leading Washington to cut Doctson before the start of the regular season.

In five games, McLaurin has 23 for 408 yards. Beyond being a deep threat down the field, McLaurin’s precision in his routes gives the Redskins’ offense versatility. They can dial up a variety of plays and McLaurin tends to execute.

“That’s why I work so hard,” McLaurin said. “That’s why you want to be one of the great receivers in this league. You’ve got to be able to beat press-man when the game is on the line.”

McLaurin’s best route of the day, however, might have been on a play that didn’t result in a touchdown. As the Dolphins were mounting a comeback in the fourth quarter, the Redskins ran play-action backed up near their own goal line. The fake fooled Miami’s defense and McLaurin again created enough separation to be found for a 31-yard gain.

By converting the first down, the Redskins continued to take time off the clock until they had to punt with more than two minutes left.

McLaurin said he was just trying to atone for a mistake earlier that quarter, when he dropped a pass from Keenum. The drop, he said, was “stuck” in his head.

“I told the guys that I was going to make up for it,” McLaurin said. “I feel like that was a big play in the game and I just wanted to make up for the previous mishap.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide