WASHINGTON — The Redskins’ dependence on the fade route in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys brought to mind a memorable moment from the 2012 season for former Redskins lineman Will Montgomery.
Montgomery, recalling to Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan his time with the Broncos in 2014, used Peyton Manning to explain how, sometimes, “it is easier to pass the ball down [in the red zone] when it’s so condensed.”
“Although… you can play the old hindsight game,” Montgomery added. “If you throw it and you don’t get it in, and you’re on the 6-yard line, then you want to go back to, ‘Well, maybe we should have just pounded it in.'”
“Yeah, but that’s Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas,” Dukes quipped. “It’s not Kirk Cousins to Josh Doctson.”
In Sunday’s game, the Redskins, leading Dallas 23-20 with 12:46 left in regulation, drove the ball down to Dallas’ 6-yard line with a chance to take a commanding 10-point lead.
Cousins threw consecutive fade routes to receiver Josh Doctson and tight end Jordan Reed, both falling incomplete, before throwing an interception in the end zone on a pass intended for Pierre Garcon.
Dallas took a 27-23 lead on its next drive, with former Redskins running back Alfred Morris running in what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. Cousins explained on 106.7 The Fan the following afternoon the decision to call a pair of fade routes, and any earlier fades in the game, was his and his alone.
When Montgomery was asked if the Redskins could have considered a quarterback keeper on that game-changing drive, in an attempt to catch the defense off guard, Montgomery recalled one memorable example of that working in the Redskins’ favor.
“You can just look back a couple years ago when Kirk came into that Baltimore game, the initial game when Robert got hurt,” Montgomery said of Washington’s 31-28 come-from-behind overtime victory over the Ravens in 2012.
This was an iconic game, one in which the Redskins trailed Baltimore by eight on their final fourth-quarter drive. Robert Griffin III was en route to leading the Redskins down the field before being forced out of the game after getting crushed on a run by then-Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
Cousins entered the game for one pass play before Griffin returned to lead the Redskins down to the Ravens’ 16-yard line. Griffin left again after being charged with intentional grounding. The Redskins made it back into the red zone, where Cousins threw an 11-yard touchdown strike to Pierre Garcon, pulling Washington within two. At 28-26, Washington had to go for the two-point conversion.
“There at the end of the game, what did we call, when I had big Haloti Ngata head-up over me, a 350-pound behemoth?” Montgomery recalled. “They called QB Draw, Kirk Cousins.”
“And, big Haloti Ngata ran right down my face mask,” he said.
“When the call came in, and you knew that was the matchup, did you have time to think about it?” Dukes asked.
“I was like, ‘That is such a horrible call, it’s going to be perfect,'” Montgomery recalled. “They’ll never see it coming because I never saw it coming.”
Cousins ran a keeper off the left guard and into the end zone to tie the game, 28-28.
“I was able to grab onto one of [Ngata’s] love handles or something like that,” Montgomery said. “And Kirk was able to slither right past and got into the end zone. So, Kirk can move a little bit. He’s not the fleetest of foot, but that is a good call down there with Kirk.”
The Redskins forced the Ravens into a three-and-out at the start of overtime. Richard Crawford returned the punt 64 yards, eventually leading to Kai Forbath kicking the game-winning field goal from 34 yards out.
Asked why the Redskins don’t do more of that, like, in Sunday’s game, for instance, Montgomery explained you can only risk your quarterback’s health in such close proximity to defenders so many times in a season.
“You want to save your franchise quarterback,” he said. “You don’t want him running a lot and getting his head taken off by NFL linebackers and defensive linemen, so you can maybe call that call twice a year.”
“And I don’t know if Week 2 was the time to do it,” he said of Sunday’s game. “Maybe it was at this point, but you can always second-guess and third-guess. I guess that’s the whole Monday morning quarterback, and we’re sitting here in the air conditioning and the radio, so we have the privilege.”