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Cousins outduels Mallett in battle of backups


In a matchup of backup quarterbacks who have been the subject of trade chatter, Washington’s Kirk Cousins has out-played New England’s Ryan Mallett.

Although Cousins made a bad decision and had a near-interception early, he quickly settled down and looked good in his first live game action running new coach Jay Gruden’s offense. Cousins played some of the first quarter and all of the second and finished with nine completions on 13 attempts for 103 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions. Colt McCoy came on in place of Cousins in the third quarter and promptly led a touchdown drive.

Mallett, who started for the Patriots, struggled and never looked particularly comfortable behind a New England offensive line that wasn’t doing a particularly good job of protecting him. Mallett played the whole first half and completed five of 12 passes for 55 yards. He was replaced in the third quarter by rookie Jimmy Garoppolo.

To the extent that we can tell anything from the preseason, Washington fans should be pleased: The first-string offense played well, with running back Alfred Morris getting off to a good start and quarterback Robert Griffin III looking comfortable, and Washington’s backups have soundly out-played New England’s backups. Early in the third quarter, Washington leads 20-0.