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With a depleted roster, Redskins needed excellence from Kirk Cousins, but didn't get it

With a depleted roster, Redskins needed excellence from Kirk Cousins, but didn't get it

The obstacles mounted for the Redskins on Sunday. Injuries and fat rain drops and wind and more injuries, stacking up like Beltway traffic. 

There were plenty of reasons for the Redskins to lose to the Cowboys, every one of the 70,000 people at FedEx Field knew as much.

For Washington to win, in a game with a depleted roster and a devastated offensive line, Jay Gruden's team would need to play their best. 

And they didn't. 

Early in the game, it looked like the Redskins had a chance for their first NFC East win of the year.

Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott fumbled his first carry of the game. The first play from scrimmage, the Redskins defense got a turnover and gifted the offense with prime field position. Only the offense couldn't convert, not even a single first down, and the team settled for a field goal. 

It was a sign of things to come.

There was a brief period of prosperity for the Redskins and an early 13-7 lead even. But late in the second quarter, disaster struck. The Cowboys blocked a Redskins field goal attempt, a low shot from rookie kicker Nick Rose. Dallas returned the ball more than 80 yards, nearly scoring, and Elliott punched it in a few plays later. 

It was a 10-point swing. Instead of a 16-7 lead, the Redskins now trailed, 14-13. 

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"The blocked field goal which was very costly, obviously. We could have gone up by nine," Gruden said after the game. "Instead, they got the ball at our one-yard line. That was a big one."

In the second half, turnovers and ineffective offense combined with even more injuries to sink the Redskins. Even Chris Thompson, Washington's best player through seven games, had a fumble. 

In a game that started with a beat up offensive line lacking three starters, things got worse when guard Shawn Lauvao left the action. The line was a mess, the Redskins couldn't run the ball, and Kirk Cousins didn't play all that great either.  

Cousins' play has become a flash point for Redskins fans. Like the city's biggest business of politics, Cousins has become a divisive topic in Washington. 

His stats show a player that completed 26 of 39 passes for 263 yards to go with one touchdown and one interception. Like he usually does, Cousins completed more than 65 percent of his passes. 

Beyond the stats though, Cousins had two near interceptions in the second half, one thrown right after the other. The same thing happened against San Francisco. 

And Cousins also threw a late interception that sealed the loss for the Redskins. The same thing happened last week in Philadelphia. In three of the Redskins four losses, Cousins has thrown a late interception that effectively ended the game. 

To be fair, the INT came on a tipped ball. It was hardly Cousins fault, or at least entirely his fault. 

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And it's also worth pointing out Cousins played the game in terrible conditions.

The rain fell fast and hard by the end of the game, and it was nasty out there on the field when the Redskins passer had the chance to pull off the game-winning drive. Cousins also had a patchwork offensive line, no Jordan Reed or Niles Paul for much of the game, and had to deal with wide reciever drops all game.

In no way did Cousins lose the game for the Redskins, but he didn't win it either. 

A few different times now this season, Cousins has had the opportunity to go win the game for the Redskins. It's not all on him, obviously, but a lot of it is. Quarterbacks get too much credit for wins, and yes, they also get too much blame for losses. 

To beat Dallas on Sunday, the Redskins needed the best out of Cousins. They didn't get it. And they didn't win. 

Some games, some teams can win without a great game from their quarterback.

For the Redskins, Sunday's contest against Dallas was not one of those games. 

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

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Redskins getting thin at receiver with two more injured wideouts out on Sunday

In August, Redskins fans would freak out if they heard Jordan Reed and Terrelle Pryor would both miss a November game.

In November, that news doesn’t carry much worry.

Washington coach Jay Gruden announced that Reed and Pryor, along with center Spencer Long, won’t play Sunday against the Saints.

RELATED: KEYS TO VICTORY AGAINST THE SAINTS

Reed hasn’t played in a few weeks as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. It seemed he might have returned last week before a setback slowed down his progress.

In his place, Vernon Davis has proved to be a sturdy backup capable of some big games.

Long injured his knee and while he played last week, he did not practice this week.

Not having Pryor is a bit of a surprise. His ankle injury popped up this week and he will see a specialist next week to examine the joint. In the middle of a disappointing season, the Redskins offense won’t lose much with his absence.

Elsewhere on the injury list, a number of players will be questionable for Sunday’s contest against the 7-2 Saints.

Perhaps most important, Trent Williams is questionable but will probably play.

MORE ON THE REDSKINS: FIVE PLAYERS UNDER PRESSURE

Receivers Ryan Grant and Brian Quick are expected to play after undergoing concussion protocol, but that will leave the Redskins with only three fully healthy wideouts: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Maurice Harris.

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

Redskins' Josh Norman is using his platform as a professional football player to help those in need, and this week it earned him NFLPA's community MVP.

The cornerback has been raising funds for youth enrichment programs in the D.C. area, as well as starting a campaign to help those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. 

Norman's foundation, Starz24, provides backpacks and school supplies for children in need and creates initiatives for students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in D.C.. He recently raised almost $100,000 for Starz24's Imagination Team Rooms, a STEM-based "makerspaces" that will be placed in several inner city middle and high schools. 

Then, when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria back in September, Norman started a social media campaign to help those affected. The campaign brought in $150,000. Norman also donated $100,000 of his own with part of the money going to the Boys & Girls clubs in Puerto Rico.

I look at it as I’m on this earth to help people and help them be the best that they can be,” Norman said. “I have the means to do so. I’m going to do that.

Every week during the regular season, the NFLPA selects a NFL player who is making a difference in their community. They are going to be making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or a charity of his choice in addition to an in-kind donation on behalf of their supporting partner, Delta Private Jets.

I am so honored to be recognized by the NFLPA for my work in the community,” Norman said. “All of this work is bigger than football. I want to make an impact in the lives of children who need it most and to help develop those children to help change the future.