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Next Day Thread: Falcons Fall Flat


KDawg
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Start with the elephant in the room: Taylor Heinicke. He played poorly by virtually any standard. Yes, the weather conditions were harsh. But he stacked poor decisions on top of each other and just wasn't having a good day with the football. The pass to Bates in the back of the end zone is an example of his lack of natural NFL arm strength. Because he has to use his whole body and a lot of hip torque to generate zip on the ball (it certainly had some zip on it) he appeared to throw it more off his back foot than he intended (I have not watched the game back, so this is a real time observation) and it sailed a touch high. That was his day yesterday. 

 

I think the biggest thing with Heinicke is that the team doesn't try to get too cute with the passing game with him. The players believe in him and he has a very short memory, and since they know the key to winning with him is the run game and minimizing his pass attempts the team has to put the ball in our backs' hands more often. Therefore, the combination of Heinicke's overall Jedi ways, the running game and the defense has led to a winning formula for this football team. 

 

It's tough for some people to ride the wave, and I think it's in part due to the fact that they think admitting that the team is winning with Heinicke may reach the ears of the Football Gods and he will be our starter for the next decade. It won't. We are in need of an upgrade at quarterback and it's fairly clear. But for the time being, even an off day from Heinicke can allow this team to win. And when he's on our offense makes plays where it matters. We don't light up the scoreboard but with this defense we don't necessarily need to.

 

My advice: Ride the wave. Enjoy the run. It could end at any point so getting caught up in the Heinicke Hysteria is a detriment to you. Snyder is selling soon. The team has a winning record in December. 

 

Brian Robinson is an absolute mauler. His legs don't stop, he can catch, he is finding the holes and he is back to Alabama form after being shot. Again. He was shot. For the Gibson fans out there that were appalled that we drafted Robinson because they thought Gibson was a lead back... I was among Gibson's biggest fans (along with @Skinsinparadise) when we drafted him. But there was too much being put on his plate and we weren't able to use him dynamically and he got dinged up and ball security issues popped up due to those things. The addition of Robinson has made Gibson much more dangerous. Oh, and Jonathan Williams. Guy runs similarly to BRob. That is a nightmare backfield for teams to defend.

 

Our receivers were quiet in this one, but that happens when your QB struggles.

 

The defense is missing some key pieces that makes for some explosive plays at times. But what they aren't missing are the two interior defensive tackles. I am willing to say it... as a duo we have the best interior tackle duo in the NFL. There are individuals that may be better than Allen and Payne but no one... no one... is better than the two of them together. Montez Sweat made plays when they needed to be made as well. JSW and Toohill have done well all things considered, but a healthy Chase Young can make things really interesting if he is even semi-close to the form we thought we were getting when we drafted him. Daron Payne's batted down pass was a thing of absolute beauty. The TFLs... Pay him. They should have paid him on the flight home. Yes, I know they played in Washington. But I would have gotten him a plane, flew him around in circles for an hour and signed him and then landed it on his street. Flight violations... pfft. We have to get him inked. ASAP. 

 

I'm also willing to say this: We have one of the best young safety duos in the league. They remind me of Hyde/Poyer in Buffalo. Forrest is the ballhawk, hard hitting safety who plays very much in the mold of Sean Taylor. No, he's not ST. That is a lofty expectation. But his style is so similar. Downhill wrecking ball and a ballhawk. Kam Curl is the most fundamentally sound player in our secondary. He doesn't force/get many turnovers. But he's there. Where is there? There. Everywhere.

 

Jamin Davis. Not much else I need to say about him. I've said it week after week. He is a player and he is, by a wide margin, our best linebacker on the roster and may be for the considerable future. His sideline to sideline speed, his sure tackles, his reads, his ability to play downhill and cover. That is why they drafted him. These moments. These games.

 

Kendall Fuller is a bit of a ballhawk, too. I think our fanbase undervalues him but not necessarily because of his play but his cost and we as a group feel like he won't be back next year so we've kind of detached. But he finds the ball. Routinely. 

 

We are a LB, Edge (Young may fix this and should but we'll see), hybrid and depth positions away from being a high end defense. The spots that are weak are very weak (not every position can be stacked) and slight improvement from those spots mean a much scarier defense... and it's been really good for weeks.

 

Joey Slye -> I'm not sure what to think.

 

Terry McLaurin watch: Heading into today he was 13th all time in Washington Football Redskin Commander Team History with 3,882 yards. Today he added 48 yards bringing him to 3,930. #12 is Henry Ellard with 3,930 (McLaurin is tied with him for #12 all time) and #11 is Michael Westbrook with 4,280. He's in range for both this year. On this season McLaurin has 50 receptions for 785 yards.

 

Sweat/Allen/Payne career sack placing: For career sacks, all three guys are in the top 20 in Washington history. Jon Allen leads the way at #9 with 32.5. He needs 2 to pass Andre Carter and 3.5 to pass the great Dave Butz for #7 all-time. Sweat is second. He passed Darryl Grant for #11 all time. He is 1.5 away from passing Bruce Smith for #10 in franchise history. Da'Ron Payne is tied for 20th with 21. He needs 1 sack to move to #19 and 2 to pass LaVar Arrington for #18.

 

 

Studs and Duds:

*** - Daron Payne

*** - Kendall Fuller

*** - Brian Robinson

** - Antonio Gibson

** - Darrick Forrest

** - Montez Sweat

* - Jonathan Williams

* - Jack Del Rio

* - Scott Turner (both coordinators probably deserve more than a star for their gameplans in this one, but this should be more about the players. But their plans were noticed)

* - John Bates

 

No duds.

 

 

Season to date:

* x 16 - Daron Payne

* x 13 - Terry McLaurin

* x 12 - Jon Allen

* x 7 - Curtis Samuel

* x 7 - Darrick Forrest

* x 7 - Montez Sweat

* x 7  - Antonio Gibson

* x 6 - Benjamin St-Juste

* x 6 - Jamin Davis

* x 5 - Brian Robinson

* x 5 - Kendall Fuller

* x 5 - Jahan Dotson

* x 3- Dyami Brown

* x 3 - Back Judge in Vikings Game

* x 3 - Jack Del Rio

* x 2 - Joey Slye

* x 1 - Scott Turner

* x 1 - Rachad Wildgoose

* x 1 - James Smith-Williams

* x 1 - Jonathan Williams

* x 1 - John Bates

:( x 1 - Wes Schweitzer

:( x 3 -Rivera's Clock Management

:( x 3 - Cam Sims

:( x 4 - John Ridgeway

:( x 5 - Charles Leno

:( x 5 - Trai Turner

:( x 6 - Nick Martin

:( x 6 - WJ3

:( x 7 - Sam Cosmi

:( x 8 - Andrew Norwell

 

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Was commenting to a friend yesterday....I'm just going to enjoy it.  We have enough games left against teams where this style can work, that a 10-7 finish is not impossible.  The style might even work for one game in the playoffs.  I have no expectation that we will make a deep playoff run like this, but we're so far beyond what anyone expected out of this season that I'm not worried about it.  For the locker room and the next few seasons, I'm hoping this run will pay off.

 

Back up the freaking brinks truck to Payne's house.  I know they already paid Allen and I suppose there's an argument about not committing too many resources to one position, but I don't feel logical right now.  I want this duo together for the next 5 years.

Edited by Forehead
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I am going to enjoy the wins. For the first time in a long time this team is fun to watch and I believe they have a chance to win every week. We are winning with Heinicke so I am willing to roll with it as long as that is the case. The team seems to believe in him. But this O is a shell of what it could be by simply having a better arm at the QB spot. We have 3 different guys with 4.3 speed and another 2 that are 4.45 or better on offense. There is no reason a QB with those weapons should be throwing for 180 yards every game while the run game produces just as much. That one upgrade would amount to another 7-10 points a week I think.

 

This isn't a bash or bench him post. I am enjoying games again with him in. But man could it be so much better.

 

And I have had to change on Payne. I didn't think we should or could keep him at the start of the year but there is no way we can let that guy go. He is a beast that would be pretty impossible to replace. I agree that those 2 are the best tandem in the league. If Chase comes back and resembles his rookie year self this could get really fun down the stretch.

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It's a little curious that Samuel has basically disappeared from the passing game. Especially considering most of his routes are within 10 yards of the LOS. His average depth of target is only 6 yards.

 

In the last 3 games, he's got 6 total targets and 10 carries.  He's more running back than receiver now.  

 

I only bring it up because he had zero targets yesterday.  Now, they didn't throw it a lot either, but his lack of involvement seems like a trend.  Considering how limited the offense is, feels like they're not taking advantage of a playmaking asset that fits the limitations of their QB.  With his quickness, he should be killing LBs and slot corners underneath, crossers, bubble screens, stuff like that.

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As a resident antagonist and hater, I have to say that the current style is sufficient to win enough remaining games to coast into the playoffs. So, as much as I'd love to see Ron meddle and change up the chemistry, the right thing to do would be to stay the course. 

 

This team with this formula will pretty easily split with or sweep the Giants and beat Cleveland. I think the Cowboys and 49ers would be tough. But that's either 9 or 10 wins and a playoff trip by just not getting their own way and riding their defense. 

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https://www.nfl.com/news/2022-nfl-season-week-12-what-we-learned-from-sunday-s-games

  1. No reason to go away from Taylor Heinicke. Sunday was not Heinecke's finest performance since taking over for Carson Wentz, but it was good enough to deliver a much-needed victory. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 138 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The pick was a bad one -- no sugar coating -- coming immediately after a turnover on downs and costing the Commanders three points thereafter. But otherwise, it was a typically solid performance from the quarterback who has led Washington to a 5-1 record on his watch. He received good pass blocking, but also got rid of the ball quickly and was moderately efficient moving the ball, with four drives longer than 58 yards. Washington's run game was a big part of that, and the Falcons did get their hands on a few Heinecke passes. Heinecke, who was listed on the injury report with a back ailment, also kept grabbing his elbow or forearm in the second half. But even with the news that Wentz has been activated to start practicing again, Ron Rivera has few reasons to switch back now, even after a quiet day from the passing game.
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It really is remarkable. Heinicke is really not doing anything at all in the passing game. Had like 30 yards passing in the 2nd half yesterday, total was around 150 or less. I knew he threw 2 TDs, but one was B Rob catching a short one in the flat and powering through guys and the other was off play action to a wiiiiiide open Bates. Yet somehow, the team keeps winning. Its 2022 and they're playing 1970s style ball and its somehow working. It really makes you wonder what the possibilities could be with a legitimate NFL QB. It really does remind me of when Tebow was pulling games out of his arse with the Broncos(except Heinicke actually might be a better passer than Tebow was).

 

But in a way we were also kinda let off the hook. The Falcons could have run the ball on every play and probably scored on every drive. Everytime they passed the ball they bailed us out, and that was encapsulated perfectly on that last pass that was deflected by Payne and then picked off. Sometimes you just let the other team make the mistake and you can win. Or maybe its the Heinicke Magic. Who knows.

 

Overall though it was nice to escape with a win. I knew going in Falcons would be a tough matchup with their run scheme and mobile QB and even predicted a coin flip game which it essentially was. Came down to us getting TDs in the red zone while holding them to 1/4 TD to RZ ratio.

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23 minutes ago, zCommander said:

 

https://www.nfl.com/news/2022-nfl-season-week-12-what-we-learned-from-sunday-s-games

  1. No reason to go away from Taylor Heinicke. Sunday was not Heinecke's finest performance since taking over for Carson Wentz, but it was good enough to deliver a much-needed victory. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 138 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The pick was a bad one -- no sugar coating -- coming immediately after a turnover on downs and costing the Commanders three points thereafter. But otherwise, it was a typically solid performance from the quarterback who has led Washington to a 5-1 record on his watch. He received good pass blocking, but also got rid of the ball quickly and was moderately efficient moving the ball, with four drives longer than 58 yards. Washington's run game was a big part of that, and the Falcons did get their hands on a few Heinecke passes. Heinecke, who was listed on the injury report with a back ailment, also kept grabbing his elbow or forearm in the second half. But even with the news that Wentz has been activated to start practicing again, Ron Rivera has few reasons to switch back now, even after a quiet day from the passing game.


This. Remember that Hiney got dinged up in the Houston game where he had to get a massage on the bench + the obvious injury that happened in Atlanta. I doubt he looks particularly good next week and think he’ll need the bye to heal.

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@KDawg, you could've passed the collection plate after this post. I agree with every word. And maaaan, Payne. I remember you saying, early on, that Gibson wasn't the workhorse back and we needed that bellcow. Robinson is nothing but the absolute TRUTH. 

 

Heinicke's decision-making has to improve, significantly. Physical limitations and poor decision-making are a deadly combo when there's not much room for error (i.e., the scoreboard operator is watching Young & the Restless for most of our games).

 

Love this D (not in the Zeke way), and as you said KDawg....just a few pieces and it's lights

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A few observations:

no sacks given up.

Took away Mariota’s primary passing target with no BSJ.  They played Holmes on London at times and they wouldn’t try him.

 

Starts.  The team has had better starts in three of the past four weeks.  The offense answered the FG with a TD then the defense gave them the ball back a minute and a half later.

 

QB play: came out with a TD scoring drive out of the gate with some chunk plays.

Missed out on 4 extra points on their next FG drive.  Not really down on the Bates inc (I think Thomas pulls it down).  But the miss to Terry on 3rd down was bad.

This offense can be efficient if it doesn’t beat itself.  He has a tough time overcoming long down and distance.  A hold killed one drive and an opi lead to a FG when a TD would have iced the game. The int has been much talked about.  Brutal.  Could have gone into half up 7 with the ball.

 

Playcalling: in the drive mentioned above, why abandon the run?  Robinson and Williams had them on skates.  Break their will there. Also, hate the long developing plays on 4th and short.  They converted, but gross. I do like getting Williams involved.

 

Defense:  So much respect for the guys on that side of the ball.  Yeah, they gave up some rushing yards, but they are the reason we are hunting the playoffs.  They are giving up 14.4 points per game over their past seven. 101 points.  14 of those were turnovers in the red zone.

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Why did Atlanta succeed in gashing the D running the ball...was it;

1) Their OL scheme was something we more than expected?

2) Our LB's weren't filling the gaps well. (KDAWG saw no "duds" here??).

3) Their backs were better than our previous opponents in the winning streak

 

How would we stop a repeat of this with Barkley and Elliot...

 

Got me worried our D has been exposed some.

 

 

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Assuming Young can return to form I think the only thing this D needs to become truly elite, like best in the league potentially, is a real lockdown #1 CB. I like St. Juste and think he is a #1 but he's not a real lockdown type. To be fair there are very few. But historically the top Ds have had those. 2000 Ravens had Chris McAllister. 02 Bucs had Ronde Barber. 13 Seahawks had Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. 15 Broncos had Aqib Talib. Last year's Rams(though not on the same level but you get it)had Jalen Ramsey. We're missing that guy. But this is a really strong CB draft so maybe we can snag one if we don't go QB.

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Just now, The Hangman- C_Hanburger said:

Why did Atlanta succeed in gashing the D running the ball...was it;

1) Their OL scheme was something we more than expected?

2) Our LB's weren't filling the gaps well. (KDAWG saw no "duds" here??).

3) Their backs were better than our previous opponents in the winning streak

 

How would we stop a repeat of this with Barkley and Elliot...

 

Got me worried our D has been exposed some.

 

 

I saw no duds in the sense that with the way the team has been playing it's hard to be negative. Bostic was meh. Gets caught flat footed too often. Our ends get too vertical up field at times opening vertical lanes and our perimeter run support isn't the best.

 

Combine that with Patterson and Algier being explosive and hard nosed and you have a tough day. 

 

That's where the personnel issues on D raise their head. But fortunately we have some dudes on the D that can erase those things in other ways and win on other plays to negate those a little. 

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1 minute ago, The Hangman- C_Hanburger said:

Why did Atlanta succeed in gashing the D running the ball...was it;

1) Their OL scheme was something we more than expected?

2) Our LB's weren't filling the gaps well. (KDAWG saw no "duds" here??).

3) Their backs were better than our previous opponents in the winning streak

 

How would we stop a repeat of this with Barkley and Elliot...

 

Got me worried our D has been exposed some.

 

 

The run threat of Mariota makes a big difference. You noticed a few times where he'd hand it off, guys would freeze because when Mariota kept it he was a guaranteed 10 yards. Offenses like that are hard to stop. Also their OL is legitimately very good in run blocking(but not great in pass protection).

 

I'm a bit worried because the Giants can replicate a similar strategy with Daniel Jones who is also a very good running QB and obviously Barkley is a stud. Not sure if their OL is really of the same caliber though. 

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4 minutes ago, The Hangman- C_Hanburger said:

How would we stop a repeat of this with Barkley and Elliot...


We can limit Barkley. Yes he has bounced back this year but he has been struggling lately as defenses are gearing up to stop him. Not worried about Zeke as he is a similar runner to Barkley, straight ahead downhill runner. Pollard is concerning to me as he can get to the outside. 

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5 minutes ago, The Hangman- C_Hanburger said:

Why did Atlanta succeed in gashing the D running the ball...was it;

1) Their OL scheme was something we more than expected?

2) Our LB's weren't filling the gaps well. (KDAWG saw no "duds" here??).

3) Their backs were better than our previous opponents in the winning streak

 

How would we stop a repeat of this with Barkley and Elliot...

 

Got me worried our D has been exposed some.

 

 

We’ve played other good rushing attacks.  Pierce is ninth in the league.  The Eagles put up 360 rushing yards last night.  

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15 minutes ago, The Hangman- C_Hanburger said:

Why did Atlanta succeed in gashing the D running the ball...was it;

1) Their OL scheme was something we more than expected?

2) Our LB's weren't filling the gaps well. (KDAWG saw no "duds" here??).

3) Their backs were better than our previous opponents in the winning streak

 

How would we stop a repeat of this with Barkley and Elliot...

 

Got me worried our D has been exposed some.

 

 

For the first time this season teams have attacked our edges. While Jamin is playing better I wouldnt say hes playing well yet. For some reason teams all year have been hell bent on trying to run it between the tackles against us and I dont know why. Teams have not been testing our LBs what so ever. 

 

It also not a surprise that there is a lot of back side contain and gap integrity being stressed with a mobile QB like Marcus. 

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1 minute ago, Zim489 said:

For the first time this season teams have attacked our edges. While Jamin is playing better I wouldnt say hes playing well yet. For some reason teams all year have been hell bent on trying to run it between the tackles against us and I dont know why. Teams have not been testing our LBs what so ever. 

 

It also not a surprise that there is a lot of back side contain and gap integrity being stressed with a mobile QB like Marcus. 

 

I'm interested to see why you think the ILB is responsible for the perimeter run D or the edges getting too far up field. 

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I will say this, I don't know if it is just the passing scheme/concepts but I am a bit concern that Dotson has been targeted a total of four times in three games since he returned, and Samuel is starting to disappear.  It feels like Heinecke is looking for McLaurin, and if he isn't there, then he goes straight to a TE for a check-down.  

 

I'm not going to quibble too much when the team has won 6 of their last 7 games, but I'm a bit concerned about the lack of additional threats in the passing game.

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2 minutes ago, Forehead said:

I will say this, I don't know if it is just the passing scheme/concepts but I am a bit concern that Dotson has been targeted a total of four times in three games since he returned, and Samuel is starting to disappear.  It feels like Heinecke is looking for McLaurin, and if he isn't there, then he goes straight to a TE for a check-down.  

 

I'm not going to quibble too much when the team has won 6 of their last 7 games, but I'm a bit concerned about the lack of additional threats in the passing game.

 

I mean, yeah. McLaurin was targeted less with Wentz because he wasn't AS open as Samuels/Dotson. And the times he was Wentz didn't expect him to be. And he didn't force the ball into Terry.

 

Heinicke forces the ball into McLaurin at a much higher rate than the other receivers. But in doing so he barely looks the other guys' way.

 

That is part of why Heinicke isn't the long term answer but worth rooting for in the short term. 

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2 minutes ago, Forehead said:

I will say this, I don't know if it is just the passing scheme/concepts but I am a bit concern that Dotson has been targeted a total of four times in three games since he returned, and Samuel is starting to disappear.  It feels like Heinecke is looking for McLaurin, and if he isn't there, then he goes straight to a TE for a check-down.  

 

I'm not going to quibble too much when the team has won 6 of their last 7 games, but I'm a bit concerned about the lack of additional threats in the passing game.


I agree with you. It would be nice to have all your weapons involved. Dotson is still a rookie and I’m not sure Taylor has a tremendous amount of confidence in him coming down on a 50/50 pass. I still love him and think he will be fine but that Christian Watson who’s 6’4 is looking pretty damn good. He took a simple slant last night to the house for 60 yards and ran away from everyone. 
 

As for Samuels, he is our 3rd down receiver and when you have a bunch of 3rd and really short, I prefer the run game to convert. I’m sure he will be more involved when we need longer conversions. Just my 2cents. 

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Like it nor this team has found an identity.

 

Solid D, good running game, and an average passing game with some specks of extremely good luck.

 

It was baseless to think we would ever be a high-caliber passing team. Rivera never wanted that.

This team fits his idea of an NFL winning formula.

 

It won't take us deep into the playoffs. No way in hell.

 

But at least we are finding some respectability.

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22 minutes ago, NoVaSkins21 said:

This team is lucky as hell that the Falcons went Seahawks vs Patriots in the SB by passing the ball instead of running it.  Heinicke is a slightly better version of Alex Smith with mobility.  He is what he is, but he can be better.  Defense is still leading this team

Ya..that pass was a brain f*rt....they could have punched it in on the ground. Skins got lucky (with great play though on D)

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44 minutes ago, Warhead36 said:

The run threat of Mariota makes a big difference. You noticed a few times where he'd hand it off, guys would freeze because when Mariota kept it he was a guaranteed 10 yards. Offenses like that are hard to stop. Also their OL is legitimately very good in run blocking(but not great in pass protection).

 

I'm a bit worried because the Giants can replicate a similar strategy with Daniel Jones who is also a very good running QB and obviously Barkley is a stud. Not sure if their OL is really of the same caliber though. 

 

Yeah I think this was what happened too.  Looked like they were super keyed in on Mariota's run threat.  The Atlanta radio broadcast team noticed that too and talked about it.  And yeah, they're a good running team and we were a bit undermanned in the back 7.

 

That was a good game where the two teams were pretty evenly matched, our defense is just better than theirs, and that was the difference.

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