Kirk Cousins Nearly Leads Second Game-Winning Drive Of Season

Oct 04, 2017 | by Brandon Hill, redskins.com

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins had a lot on his mind Monday night.

Just two days after his son Cooper was born, Cousins traveled west to play in a primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cousins, like any other new father, would have been understandably distracted with the arrival his first child. However, the veteran passer focused his attention on football for a few hours and put on a performance that nearly earned the Redskins a victory against the last unbeaten team in the NFL.

“I think in this league, the 16-week season is a grind and it’s not for the faint of heart. You’ve got to be physically, emotionally and mentally tough,” Cousins said. "I feel very blessed, very fortunate to be in the position I am in for so many different reasons.”

A third-down incompletion on Washington’s last drive forced the Redskins to kick a field goal. Kansas City later came back with a last-second kick of their own, preserving their unbeaten record.

Although the final series stalled, Washington’s offense, led by Cousins, had been hot from the start. During the Redskins’ first drive, Cousins hit wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. on a 44-yard bomb. Pryor hauled in the pass in the end zone and put Washington up early.

For the first half, the entire Redskins offense played with tenacity. Cousins looked on point with most of his passes. He finished the game with 220 yards through the air and two touchdowns while completing 58 percent of his throws.

However, Washington’s quick start was soon marred by injuries. Left tackle Trent Williams went down with a knee injury during the second quarter, leaving third-string T.J. Clemmings to fill in for four plays. Running back Rob Kelley also headed to the sideline with an ankle injury.

The Chiefs’ offense, meanwhile, started to click as the first half drew to a close, and Kansas City inched back from an early 10-point deficit, coming within three as the teams left for the locker rooms.

Once quarterback Alex Smith put his team up 14-10 moments into the third quarter, Cousin began spreading the ball around, trying to keep the Washington offense from losing tempo. Seven players caught passes from Cousins, including 33-year old tight end Vernon Davis on Washington’s first drive of the third quarter. Cousins, backed up on his own 25-yardline, floated the ball over two Kansas City defenders. Davis made the catch at midfield and used the agility of a much younger man to shift his way to the Chiefs’ 5-yard line. Ryan Grant hauled in a Cousins’ touchdown pass not long after, giving the Redskins’ their final lead of the game.

“Kirk did some great things competing at the end and using his legs when he had to,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “The guys competed, man. I am happy the way they competed. We unfortunately didn’t finish today.”

After Kansas City took the lead with two field goals, Cousins tried a new strategy to get the team down the field. After checking for open receivers, Cousin tucked the ball and ran on multiple occasions. Instead of sprinting toward the sideline, he often took off in the middle of the field, lowering his shoulder and fighting for extra yardage. He finished the game as the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards on seven carries.

“When team’s play man coverage that’s when you really have an opportunity to run because guys are chasing their man and they don’t have eyes on you,” Cousins said. “They did a good job of taking guys away and doubling some people and really all I had was to run and I think that’s an area of my game that I can use more I think.”

Cousins found Josh Doctson in the end zone for what would have been a game-winning touchdown, but the second-year receiver could not hold onto the ball once he hit the ground. Cousins lamented Washington’s one weakness during the game: converting only four out of 11 third downs. However, he said there would be plenty of time to address that during the team’s upcoming bye week.

“I like our team. I think we are better than people probably thought we would be at the beginning of the season,” Cousins said. “We’re excited about the group of guys we have. We just have to stay together. Hopefully stay as healthy as we can and continue to play mature, smart football.”