EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—It looked like Kirk Cousins and the Redskins had turned the corner. It turns out that they actually went all the way around the block and were right back where they started from.
The Redskins quarterback had a rocky go of it in MetLife Stadium as the Giants took an early lead, thanks in part to a Cousins interception, and refused to get caught, beating the Redskins 32-21 in a game that wasn’t quite as close as the final score would indicate.
Cousins numbers didn’t look bad at first glance. He completed 30 of 49 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown and was sacked just once. But he had two interceptions and that’s only the start of the bad news.
The first interception was the most damaging. In the first quarter Cousins threw a play action pass over the middle intended for Pierre Garçon. Cornerback Prince Amukamara picked it off. Both Cousins and Jay Gruden called it a nice play by the defender but it looks like the pass never should have been thrown.
The other one also shouldn’t have been thrown either. The Redskins were on the move in Giants territory when Cousins scrambled out of the pocket and fired for tight end Derek Carrier, who was closely defended. The pass bounced off of his hands and linebacker Uani ‘Unga made a diving interception. It was a first and 10 play and Cousins said after the game that there was no reason for him to throw that pass.
As noted, there were other issues. In the second quarter he twice fired off-target passes when Jordan Reed was open in the end zone. They settled for field goals on those two drives so instead of trailing just 15-14 at halftime it was 15-6. Other passes were off target and either fell incomplete or forced the receiver to reach for the ball.
You certainly can’t blame Cousins for everything that went wrong. The Giants blocked a punt that went out of the end zone for the first score of the game. A rushing game that has allowed Cousins to play it safe offensively in the first two games couldn’t get untracked, gaining just 88 yards with 26 of them coming on a Chris Thompson carry as time ran out. Matt Jones, hailed as a rookie sensation just a few days ago rushed for just 38 yards on 11 carries. Alfred Morris rushed for just 19 yards on six carries.
But the play of the quarterback is on the list of reasons for the rather ugly loss if not at the top. As if we need any reminder that a quarterback who didn’t play well is perpetually on the hot seat in Washington, a reporter asked Jay Gruden if he contemplated make a switch to Colt McCoy when things weren’t going well. Gruden said no but it is clear that Cousins doesn’t have an unlimited amount of rope.