Cousins Has a Pretty Good Reason for Throwing That Ball in the Dirt

WASHINGTON — Early in Sunday’s game, on the Redskins’ second drive of the game to start the second quarter, quarterback Kirk Cousins inexplicably chucked the ball into the dirt on 1st-and-10.

It didn’t make a lot of sense to viewers reacting on Twitter, many befuddled, wondering why Cousins would possibly think to do that.

Cousins, though, had good reason. As the passing play developed, a familiar scene unfolded.

Sunday's game: Cousins as he's about to release his throw with Terrell Suggs waiting to intercept it.

Sunday’s game: Cousins as he’s about to release his throw with Terrell Suggs waiting to intercept it.

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs broke through the offensive line and had a clear track to Cousins, but as Cousins reared back to throw, Suggs pulled up lame, just as he had done a year earlier in a preseason game against the Redskins. That time, in Aug. 2015, Suggs reached up at the last possible second after Cousins released the ball and intercepted the pass.

Cousins facing nearly an identical situation in an Aug. 2015 preseason game against the Ravens.

Cousins facing nearly an identical situation in an Aug. 2015 preseason game against the Ravens.

Cousins recognized the bait immediately this time around, and refused to take it. So he grounded the ball at Suggs’ feet.

Cousins, not taking any chances, throws the ball on a beeline into the dirt.

Cousins, not taking any chances, throws the ball on a beeline into the dirt.

His other options in that split-second? If he throws it, it’s another easy interception. If he holds onto it, he’s taking a nasty open-field sack. Throwing the ball into the dirt, as strange as it sounds, was Cousins’ best option.

Asked Monday during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance — Under Center, driven by the Lindsay Automotive Group — if that was a case of ‘you live and you’ve learned,’ Cousins replied, “Yeah.”

“Welcome to quarterbacking in the NFL,” he told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. “I keep talking about reps, and experience and game experience and needing to be out there, needing to learn from things and I say that like a broken record over and over.”

“That would be an example of saying I’ve been in this exact stadium before against that exact guy in that exact situation,” he said. “And, doggonit, I’m not going to do it again.”

“Sometimes it’s been harder for me to learn, and there’s been mistakes I’ve repeated,” he said. “But, boy, that’s where experience is so valuable and why I think a lot of quarterbacks who have played 10, 11, 12 years are able to play at a high level consistently, is because they’ve been through so much and they don’t get fooled as often.

“I’m on that journey and trying to learn and grow every game, and that would be one play, yeah, where I think I’ve hopefully taken a step forward.”

You can even see Suggs point at Cousins after the play, as if to say, ‘You’re learning.’

Suggs points at Cousins after the play.

Suggs points at Cousins after the play.

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter.

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