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Kirk Cousins and Redskins evade pattern of blown leads becoming losses

Kirk Cousins and Redskins evade pattern of blown leads becoming losses

SEATTLE — The Redskins saved their season on Sunday, snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat, a reversal of the pattern of blown leads we have seen from this team in 2017.

They built early leads against the Chiefs, Cowboys and Eagles only to see them fade away. In two of those games — plus the season opener against Philly — they had a chance to win with a late drive, but that was short-circuited by turnovers and various other errors of commission and omission.

The Redskins did let the 10-2 lead that they had with just more than 10 minutes left in the third quarter slip away. Russell Wilson and company didn’t make it easy on themselves, with Wilson throwing an interception to Will Compton on their first possession after the Redskins scored and then committing 30 yards worth of penalties to help kill their next drive.

RELATED: Gruden's challenge for Cousins pays off

But things eventually clicked for Seattle, and it looked like the Redskins would blow another lead. Eventually, they did. It looked like the same movie we have seen all season, and fans didn’t like the ending. But Kirk Cousins and the rest of the Washington offense wrote a different script.

The game left the Redskins in decent shape in a few different ways. Physically, they got through the game without sustaining any serious injuries, although Brian Quick could end up in the concussion protocol after getting smacked while making the catch that jump-started their game-winning drive. Perhaps the injury woes have hit rock bottom, and the health of the team will head on an upswing — although we will have to wait and see on that.

They also are in good shape in the standings. At 4-4, they are just a game out of a wild-card playoff spot. The win gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over the 5-3 Seahawks. There is a long way to go before any degree of clarity comes to the playoff picture, but the Redskins are in a good enough place halfway through their season.

Perhaps most importantly, they are in better shape mentally after this win. While they came back from a smaller deficit this time, this game could be a springboard to an inspirational turnaround — just like the “You like that!” rally in the Bucs game in 2015 was. They won six of their last nine after that to finish 9-7, taking the NFC East title.

With the Eagles already sitting on seven wins the division may be out of reach. But the Redskins have a chance to make things interesting into late December, something that would have been unlikely if they had not rallied in Seattle on Sunday.

MORE REDSKINS: Washington's 10 best plays against Seattle, ranked

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top pick

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 20, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 45
—NFL Draft (4/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 232

The Redskins week that was

Jags big win could spell bad news for Kirk Cousins—If the Jaguars’ accomplishment of getting to the AFC championship game does indeed make Blake Bortles’ job safe, the laws of economics say that the amount of money that Cousins can command in a free agent contract should go down. It’s the demand part of supply and demand and if demand goes down, prices should, too. But the NFL quarterback market doesn’t follow the laws. If the Lions see fit to pay Matthew Stafford, a quarterback under whom they have had very limited success, a contract with an average annual value of $27 million without any team bidding against them, that sets the price.

Setting the odds on what happens with Kirk Cousins—Despite his happy talk at the 106.7 The Fan event earlier this month, the possibility that Cousins will play in a Redskins uniform in 2018 does not warrant a large bet of imaginary casino chips. If you missed the post, take a look and let me know what you think of my assessment.

Don't freak out about latest Zach Brown tweet—It’s that time of year. A player sends out a tweet with no context and fans assign the worst possible meaning to it. In Brown’s case, a tweet about not getting respect was interpreted as a sign that contract negotiations with the Redskins were not going well. But JP Finlay found out that the tweet was about Brown being upset that another alternate getting selected to the Pro Bowl and not him. It still is unclear if Brown will return to the Redskins but at least there are no indications of rocky negotiations at this point.

Bang for the free agent bucks for the Redskins? Brown was a solid free agent acquisition for the Redskins last year. Terrelle Pryor, not so much. Take a look at the post for the other hits and misses in free agency.

Tweet of the week

Even though the draft is over three months away there are plenty of opinions out there as this tweet drew a ton of reaction. On the offensive side of the ball, the suggestions ran towards quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield although some want a running back. It will be interesting to see how those two non-conventional quarterbacks look after they spend the next few months under the microscope of the NFL draft process. The defensive name that kept coming up was Washington defensive lineman Vita Vea, a large specimen who could play the nose in base defense and move to three-technique in nickel.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

RELATED: MOCK DRAFTS KEEP LINKIN 'SKINS WITH BAKER MAYFIELD

Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.