MIAMI -- When the Washington Redskins needed a big play in seeking their first win, they kept looking for one target: Terry McLaurin. And from their own 1-yard line late in the game, they found the guy they trust the most.
McLaurin's 32-yard catch gave Washington breathing room when it needed a lot en route to a 17-16 victory against winless Miami -- and its first game under interim coach Bill Callahan. It was McLaurin who kept coming up big. He ran a perfect route to score on a 25-yard catch in the second quarter; he added a 33-yard touchdown pass. McLaurin finished with four catches for 100 yards, his second triple-digit-yardage game. With his excellent route-running and speed he could have had one or two more already. Regardless, he leads rookie receivers with five touchdown catches and has 408 yards receiving in five games. McLaurin did have one drop, but he's the top bright spot in a dismal Washington season. By far.
Not sold on running game yet: The Redskins were absolutely committed to the run Sunday, and they needed to be; they should also continue this trend. Adrian Peterson rushed 23 times for 118 yards and the team finished with 145 yards on the ground. However, it's one thing to do it against the Miami Dolphins and another to do it against the next couple of teams on their schedule: San Francisco and Minnesota. The Dolphins could not put any pressure on Washington offensively, allowing the Redskins to stay committed. It'll take another week against a good team before convincing anyone it's a good idea to buy on this run game.
Promising trend: There were two, starting with the fact that Washington committed no offensive penalties for the first time this season. The Redskins entered the game having had the third-most accepted penalties in the league, and they did finish with five Sunday. But a bad offense wasn't set back because of self-inflicted wounds. It's a start. Also, the Redskins' defensive front won more of its one-on-one battles up front, leading to five sacks. Four players recorded sacks, with two by Jonathan Allen. The Redskins even blitzed safety Landon Collins for one sack. They lined up Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan next to each other on another pressure and sent inside linebacker Cole Holcomb off the edge once.
QB breakdown: Case Keenum completed the three passes he truly needed to, all to McLaurin. But he wasn't always sharp in his first game back as the starter after missing one week with a sprained right foot. Keenum was off-target on a handful of other throws, notably to Chris Thompson that should have resulted in another touchdown. There were others as well; some were incompletions and others resulted in fewer yards after the catch. But a big key for Keenum was not turning the ball over. He threw only 25 passes, and if the Redskins want to have improved play in the final 11 weeks, the passing game will have to be sharper.
Pivotal play: The game shockingly came down to a two-point conversion after the Redskins blew a 14-point lead. Any thought that this game could serve as a turnaround should be out the window. They had a chance to cruise against a winless team and failed to do so. Miami drew within one point with six seconds left on a touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to DeVante Parker. But Miami's Fitzmagic ran out after his pass to Kenyan Drake on the conversion attempt -- behind the line of scrimmage -- was dropped, allowing the Redskins to escape with a win. Even if Drake had caught it, it did not appear he would have scored anyway.