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Kirk Cousins Battles Weather And Injured Offensive Line, But Remains Efficient

Posted Oct 31, 2017

The Redskins' quarterback weathered Sunday's storm, coming one drive short of leading his offense to a comeback victory against the Cowboys.

The Redskins' quarterback weathered Sunday's storm, coming one drive short of leading his offense to a comeback victory against the Cowboys.

Despite the gloomy weather and an injury-riddled offensive line, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was able to maintain his efficiency in Sunday’s 33-19 loss to the Cowboys. The 29-year-old quarterback completed 66.7 percent of his passes, going 26-for-39 with 263 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one fumble.

Cousins’ completion rate against the Cowboys this weekend was right on par with his season-long mark of 67.9 percent, which ranks fourth in the NFL.

Partly as a result of Jordan Reed’s health and Terrelle Pryor Sr.’s early season struggles with consistency, Cousins called upon Jamison Crowder heavily on Sunday. The third-year wide receiver out of Duke hauled in nine of his 13 targets for 123 yards, including a 41-yard reception.

In addition to Reed leaving the game, Cousins was challenged with a historically depleted offensive line. The Redskins’ front line, which was already entering Sunday’s affair without three of its five starters, saw guard Shawn Lauvao and tackle T.J. Clemmings go down with injuries during the game.

“It’s a challenge,” Cousins said of the offensive line. “And I think the challenge for me as a quarterback is how much do you keep your eyes down the field, trust the rush and just play, and how much do you start to say I’m going to plan for the potential of it being loose.”

Much of Cousins’ playing style is modeled around his ability to throw downfield, something that he’s done his whole career. After ranking third league-wide in yards per attempt last year, he comes in at fourth this year at 8.02. The inexperience of the offensive line in front of him coupled with a constant stream of rain falling throughout the evening undoubtedly made it difficult for the quarterback to lengthen the field, something Cousins acknowledged after the game.

“It’s that balance of trying to play conservative and protect your opportunities in the game while also being aggressive and having to go make plays at some point,” he said. “That was the balance I was trying to find throughout the game, and I think for the most part handled it well, but there’s obviously plays here and there that you wish were different.”

In normal circumstances, rainy weather brings on a healthy dose of running plays, but with the status of the line, Cousins was asked to shoulder much of the load. The Redskins ran the ball just 15 times on Sunday and were unable to get much going in the limited amount of attempts.

“Not ideal with the new guys up in front and the weather what it was, you’d love to just throw the ball 17 times and go 12-of-17 and just pound the rock and go find a way to win the game, run the clock out. It just wasn’t the way the game went for us today,” Cousins said.

With a slew of unique circumstances in Sunday’s rivalry matchup, it’s not surprising that Cousins’ performance took a hit, as his 83.6 passer rating broke a streak of four straight games with a triple-digit mark.

The Michigan State product will have his work cut out for him next week as well, as the Redskins travel to Seattle to take on a Seahawks defense that boasts a 56.5 percent opponent completion percentage so far this season.

“Tuesday I’m going to focus on watching this game, taking criticism, taking notes, and then working on the run game for the Seahawks,” Cousins said. “That’s where it starts, I can’t play the Seahawks until Sunday, so I have a very focused perspective and approach each and every day of what can I do today and look no further than that.”

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