SEATTLE - The coach challenged his quarterback. The quarterback responded.
That's exactly what happened late in the Redskins win over Seattle on Sunday, when Kirk Cousins connected on a 38-yard pass to second-year wideout Josh Doctson.
The deep connection brought the Redskins to the Seahawks 1-yard-line, and was promptly popped in for a touchdown by Rob Kelley.
In one of the more improbable wins of the Jay Gruden era, the Redskins gutted out a victory in Seattle, mainly thanks to a tough defensive effort and a number of Seahawk mistakes. Russell Wilson threw too many interceptions, Blair Walsh was terrible, Pete Carroll's squad had way too many penalties, and frankly, the Seahawks just played sloppy.
In the end though, Seattle took a late lead and looked like they would get the win.
Cousins changed that.
Down four points with about 90 seconds to play, he took the Washington offense 70 yards on just four plays. The Redskins scored a touchdown in just 35 seconds.
"That’s just big time," Gruden said of Cousins’ performance on the game-winning drive. “We needed him to step up into some throws at the very end, he did it and made two big-time clutch throws."
First, Cousins connected with Brian Quick on a precise, and pretty, over the shoulder throw that went for 31 yards. The next play came the long ball to Doctson.
Without hyperbole, the throw to Doctson might have changed the Redskins season.
"It was big time," Josh Norman said after the game (full video above). "Hat's off to those guys."
Both in the sense that the win was vital for Washington's playoff chances. At 4-4 and with a favorable December schedule, the Redskins remain in the playoff hunt. Had the 'Skins lost, 3-5 would have made that daunting.
But the throw from Cousins to Doctson also signaled growth.
Gruden wants Cousins to take chances, particularly with Doctson, and go for big plays. Cousins had voiced some hesitancy to do so, particularly in a recent Sports Illustrated interview.
Sunday evening, playing in a cold and wet Century Link Stadium, Cousins took the shot to Doctson. The wideout used every inch of his 6-foot-2 frame to leap and grab the throw, hauling in an incredible catch.
And with that play, both the throw and the catch, the Redskins season changed.
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