Oct 25, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (86) celebrates after catching the game-winning touchdown pass from Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the final seconds of the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 31-30. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Cousins vs the Buccaneers
Cousins’ “You like that?” game earned him the NFC player of the week award as did his performance versus the Saints. It was a big game for Cousins because of coming from being behind by such a large margin and also because it came after he had 2 poor performances in consecutive weeks against the Falcons and Jets.
The game began with a Morris run, as usual, and after gaining a yard, he gave way to Jones, as usual. Jones gained 4 yards on a swing pass out of the backfield on second down. On third and 7, Cousins checks down to a waiting Crowder who is tackled quickly after a 2 yard gain. +2 points.
Morris again runs for a yard on first down. A defensive holding call gives the Redskins a first down on an incompletion to Roberts and Cousins completes to Carrier in the flat and he almost turns it into a first down with a 9 yard gain. Morris is stopped for no gain and Jones drops a high pass from Cousins to force another punt. +1 point.
Morris gets the ball on a quick out when Cousins feels pressure and gets a 2 yard gain. Morris gains another 2 yards on a run before Cousins launches a deep throw to a streaking Roberts that is very short and almost intercepted. This is the second three plays and out drive for the Redskins with the other drive going a whopping 5 plays. 0 points.
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Jones gets 2 consecutive runs in the Redskins first drive of the second quarter and gets a first down with eleven yards combined. Cousins unloads a good pass to Garcon that goes for 21 yards. He throws to Reed for a short 4 yard gain but Jones is stopped for a loss on a run to bring up third and 7. Cousins is sacked and fumbles and Tampa Bay picks it up and scores a touchdown to give them a 24-0 lead. -2 points.
Morris is stopped for a 2 yard loss on first down but a penalty on the Buccaneers gives the Redskins a first down and finally decent field position at the Tampa 39 yard line. Cousins goes to work with a short pass to Carrier that gains 6 yards. He throws behind Crowder but Crowder makes a good catch for an 18 yard gain. +3 points.
Jones runs for 3 yards and Cousins throws a nice pass to Garcon for a seven yard gain and a first down. Grant turns a short pass from Cousins into a 19 yard gain down to the Tampa 8 yard line. Cousins runs the final 8 yards on a read option keeper for the touchdown to put the Redskins on the scoreboard. +7 points.
Trailing 24-7 now, Jones takes a short out pass from Cousins and turns it into a 12 yard gain and a first down. Cousins makes a good throw under pressure for a 5 yard gain to Reed. Roberts drops a high pass when he is hit and the Redskins go for it on fourth and 2. Cousins throws to Crowder for a first down but the play is negated by an illegal shift and the Redskins punt. +3 points.
The Second Half
In the third quarter, Cousins throws for 7 yards to Reed. He throws a screen to Crowder on second down that is stopped for no gain. On third down, Cousins throws downfield to Roberts who takes it for 38 yards down to the Tampa 14 yard line. +3 points.
Two consecutive roughing penalties on the Buccaneers puts the ball on the 3 yard line. Cousins threw incomplete to Garcon in between the penalties but the play was negated. Cousins throws to a wide open Grant for a touchdown that brings the score to 24-14. +3 points.
Hopkins nails an onside kick recovered by Trenton Robinson as the Redskins ride their momentum. Cousins strikes immediately to Grant who gains 32 yards down to the Tampa 19. A false start pushes the ball back to the 24 yard line but Cousins gains 8 yards on another read option run. +3 points.
Hopkins nails an onside kick…as the Redskins ride their momentum
Cousins throws to Crowder on a crosser for 8 yards and a first down. Jones is stopped for a loss and Cousins gets called for a false start to push the ball back to the 14 yard line. Cousins throws incomplete to Roberts but a defensive holding call gets most of the yardage back and gives the Redskins a first down at the Tampa 8. +1 point.
Cousins throws to Reed for 5 yards down to the 3. He then throws incomplete high and behind Garcon. Cousins hits Reed for a touchdown on a slant and the score is now 24-21. +4 points.
The Buccaneers have to settle for a field goal on the next drive and lead 27-21 early in the fourth quarter. The Redskins begin with four straight runs by Jones, Morris and Young to move the ball to the Tampa 44 with the help of a roughness penalty. Cousins throws a bad pass to Reed on a bootleg under pressure that is incomplete. 0 points.
Cousins throws to Reed over the middle for 6 yards and hits Garcon across the middle of the field for 15 yards and a first down. Jones loses a yard on a run and Garcon is stopped after a 2 yard gain on a Cousins pass. Cousins gets another delay penalty and is forced to check down to Reed who gets 10 yards but is short of the first down. +4 points.
Hopkins kicks his first field goal of the game and the Redskins trail 27-24. Tampa Bay gets another field goal to force the Redskins to drive for a winning touchdown with 2:24 on the clock. Cousins starts the drive with a 6 yard throw to Jones on the sideline. +1 point.
Cousins throws a pass for 5 yards to Reed for a first down. He throws another to Reed for another first down and 13 yards. Cousins then throws to Roberts for 8 yards and he steps out at the Tampa 48 yard line. +5 points.
Cousins throws to Garcon who turns up the sideline for a 10 yard gain and a first down. He throws to Reed for another 7 yards down the middle of the field. A neutral zone infraction gives the Redskins another first down. Roberts gets a three yard pass from Cousins down to the 24. +4 points.
Cousins finds Reed on a slant to tie the game
Crowder makes a great catch over his defender for 18 yards down to the Tampa 6 yard line with seconds remaining. Cousins throws out of bounds on an attempted fade to Reed. His next pass goes through the hands of a Tampa Bay defender in the end zone. +2 points.
Cousins finds Reed on a slant to his right for a 6 yard touchdown to tie the game. Hopkins kicks the PAT to give the Redskins their first lead of the game. Tampa’s Charles Sims fumbles when he attempts a pitch back to a teammate and Chris Baker recovers to seal the game for the Redskins. +4 points.
Cousins finishes with 48 points on 46 graded plays for a 1.04 rating. On the final drive, Cousins scored 16 of those points on 11 graded plays for a 1.45 rating. Even though Cousins had a perfect rating for the Saints game, I think he was better versus Tampa Bay.
The circumstances of the great comeback versus the Buccaneers weighed against the blowout victory over the Saints verify that this was Cousins best game as a pro. Tampa Bay doesn’t have a great pass defense but it is much better than that of the Saints who fired their defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, this week.
If Cousins can be more consistent and accurate down the field, he could be the quarterback that the Redskins need as they build a strong roster. If Cousins continues to show the same weaknesses from game to game and doesn’t improve his consistency, the Redskins may look elsewhere. It would benefit Cousins and the Redskins if they are able to complete some early passes deep against the Carolina secondary.