WASHINGTON — The Redskins are riding high after securing their first win of the season, a 29-27 victory over the New York Giants Sunday, bringing their in 2016 record to 1-2.
The key for them now, quarterback Kirk Cousins says, is to stay the course, but not feel too good about the win.
“I feel great. In the NFL, if you win, it’s the highest of highs, and if you lose, it’s the lowest of lows, and the key for me as a quarterback is you just not ride that roller coaster,” Cousins told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Monday on 106.7 The Fan’s Under Center, driven by the Lindsay Automotive Group.
“It’s tempting to do,” he said. “But I just try to stay even keel either way. After the last two weeks, I’m not jumping off a bridge. There are people that may have wanted to and thought we should, but we just can’t afford to hit the panic button. And if we win, you know, I’m not walking around feeling like we’ve arrived and that now we can just go out there and everything will fall in place.
“I think you try to stay as even keel as you can, and as boring as that may be, I think that’s the approach that works best for me and that’s what I’m gonna stick with. But just try not to get too high after yesterday, and after the previous two weeks, try not to be too low. And just stay the course and trust it. If you do that, good things will happen in the long run.”
Cousins explained his thought process during the Redskins’ final drive of the first half. Trailing 21-16 with one minute and 10 seconds left on the clock, the Redskins drove down inside the Giants’ red zone, earning a fresh set of downs.
With the clock ticking, Cousins spiked the ball on first down from the 4-yard line to stop the clock at 11 seconds. With one timeout, the Redskins could have conceivably taken two cracks at the end zone while still preserving enough clock time to kick a field goal.
On 2nd-and-goal, Cousins threw an incomplete pass intended for Jamison Crowder. On third down, with six seconds remaining, Cousins went through his progressions and, after scrambling from the pressure of the defensive line, took a sack, and fumbled (which he recovered) as time expired, missing an opportunity to add three points on the scoreboard.
“Really the play call, what [offensive coordinator] Sean [McVay] wanted me to do was to just basically work a one-on-one route to my left or throw it away,” Cousins said. “If it wasn’t there, just throw it out of bounds.”
“I didn’t realize that and tried to work based on the coverage to the other side of the field, and then my thought was if those guys aren’t open, I’ll just launch it over their heads out of bounds,” he said. “Well, at the moment I was trying to do that, I got a little spooked by the rush and instinctively tried to get out of there. That’s where it just starts to hurt you.”
“You know, in hindsight, it really is just a fade ball or nobody, out of bounds, and then kick the field goal,” he said. “That was a tough moment. Fortunately we didn’t have to reap the effects of that if we had lost, but certainly a play we need to clean up — I need to be better. Those are the kind of things that we, as a team, in order to win games and go to the playoffs and win games in the playoffs, we just have to be on the screws, and when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘I’ just have to be on the screws and be better than that to consistently win in this league.”
The Redskins made a noticeable commitment to the running game against the Giants, running the ball 30 times for 90 yards, a clear uptick from their 12 rushing attempts — for 55 yards — against Pittsburgh in Week 1, and their 17 rushes — for 82 yards — last week against Dallas.
“I think there was a commitment,” Cousins said. “And it can be tough. I could feel at times, a run call would come in on a 2nd-and-long and you’re kind of thinking, ‘Really? Do we really want to be in 3rd-and-5 or 3rd-and-6 when we could just get the first down right here throwing it?'”
“But I think we learned our lesson the last couple of weeks that it’s okay to stay patient and run the football, and let the game come to you, and fortunately, we were able to convert some of those 3rd-and-mediums that kept us on the field,” Cousins said.
“The last drive, as you mentioned, was the key, to be able to run the ball when they know we’re running the football, and just take it to ’em was special. When we have 30 rushing attempts, it certainly enables me to play a little more efficiently. I think it helps everyone. That’ll always be something we’re trying to do. We just want to be an efficient offense. Whether it’s throwing the ball or running the ball, we want to be efficient on every play and do whatever’s required to win.”