Cousins throws for 3 TDs, Redskins beat Broncos 27-11
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
By Stephen Whyno, Associated Press
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — As his mind wandered to whether it was his final home game as the Washington’s starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins had a bigger concern early against the Denver Broncos and their top-ranked defense.
“After the first couple of possessions, I didn’t know if we were going to get 100 yards on them,” Cousins said.
Cousins and the Redskins rebounded from losing 2 yards on their first two drives to put up 386 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos in a 27-11 rout Sunday. Cousins was 19 of 37 with TD passes to Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Vernon Davis and an interception, and managed the game well.
“It just came down to protecting, making the throws, making the catches and converting,” said Cousins, the first quarterback in Washington history with three seasons of 25 or more TD passes and needs 65 yards for his third in a row with 4,000-plus yards. “It was an imperfect game, certainly, but when you have a defense playing at such a high level, it kept us in the game and kept giving us a chance, and then we finally got rolling and made enough plays to pull away.”
Washington’s 386 offensive yards are third most by a Denver opponent this season, behind only Philadelphia and New England. The Broncos came in giving up an average of 276.8 yards a game.
The Redskins (7-8) came 78 seconds from not allowing a touchdown for a second consecutive game for the first time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Washington, which allowed a combined 68 points in its previous two games, forced three turnovers.
“That’s the name of the game,” said linebacker Zach Vigil, who recovered a fumble. “The more turnovers a defense can get and get the ball back to the offense, just gives you a great opportunity to win the game.”
After a week of uncertainty, Brock Osweiler started at QB over Paxton Lynch for the Broncos (5-10) and was 22 of 38 for 193 yards with a fumble and an interception .
“I’ve been a backup in this league, I’ve been a starter in this league,” Osweiler said. “I know how to prepare with no reps and I know how to prepare with all the reps. So was it ideal? No. But is it an excuse? Absolutely not.”
C.J. Anderson scored a late touchdown and was the game’s leading rusher with 16 yards on 88 carries.
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sacked Osweiler twice and has 11 this season, becoming the first Redskins player with 10 or more in consecutive seasons since Dexter Manley and Charles Mann in 1985 and 1986. His 69 1-2 sacks are tied for fourth since entering the NFL in 2011, behind only Von Miller, J.J. Watt and Cameron Wake.
WHAT’S HE THINKING?
Rookie receiver Isaiah McKenzie made a memorable blunder late in the first half that likely cost Denver three points. With the Broncos out of timeouts, McKenzie caught the ball near the sideline inside the Washington 30-yard line and kicker Brandon McManus’ field goal range. But he didn’t go out of bounds, and Osweiler and other offensive teammates were visibly upset not to get another snap.
Coach Vance Joseph called McKenzie over after the play and gave him an earful while putting his arm around the 22-year-old.
“I should’ve got out of bounds,” McKenzie said. “I just caught the ball and mentally was like, ‘Make a play.’ And unfortunately I didn’t make the right decision.”
Broncos: WRs Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and Cody Latimer (thigh) were inactive.
Redskins: NT Ziggy Hood left with a dislocated right elbow early in the second quarter. Coach Jay Gruden said Hood would have an MRI. ... Rookie WR Robert Davis was knocked out with a concussion. CB Kendall Fuller was pulled from the game for a potential concussion late in the second quarter, but was cleared. ... LB Zach Brown missed his second consecutive game with various injuries, including Achilles tendon and toe.
Broncos: Host Kansas City next Sunday.
Redskins: Finish at the New York Giants next Sunday.