Redskins fans were finally able to see Josh Doctson’s unique talent on display Sunday night.
Up until the third quarter of Washington’s 27-10 blowout win over the Raiders, there was little sign Doctson would ever live up to his billing as a first-round pick. That all changed against the Raiders.
With Washington around midfield, Kirk Cousins saw Doctson streaking down the sideline in one-on-one coverage — Doctson alone against former Redskins corner David Amerson — and unleashed a jump ball. Doctson leaped up as the ball arrived, shielding Amerson with his body from making a play on the ball, and came down with it. Docston gathered himself and walked into the end zone.
“I don’t like to just throw the ball up for grabs and just trust the guy to come down with it,” he said. “And even as the ball was falling down, it looked like Amerson still had a chance to intercept it and so I was nervous, but Josh made me right.”
“That was why he was a first-round pick,” Cousins said. “Because when it’s not open, when it’s not perfect, you want to draft a guy and have a guy on your team who can make it right and bail you out, because there are going to be plays in the game where it’s covered and you need a guy who can do something that not everybody can do. Josh showed that last night.”
“The more we can built that rapport and that chemistry,” he said, “I’d like to think that that can happen more often and I can have a better feel for how to throw those passes so that he can make those spectacular plays. Hopefully we got him going last night, got some momentum and it can carry on for the rest of the season.”
“Just a huge play, to get that big score there,” he said. “We’re at midfield and next thing you know, we’ve got seven points. That’s the kind of play, and the kind of player, that can change a game and give your offense a spark.”
Cousins was asked why he’s so reluctant to make those throws considering, if he had thrown an interception, the Redskins — leading 14-0 at that point — are effectively punting with the Raiders starting inside their own 10-yard line.
“I think it was — whatever it was, first or second down there — you don’t want to just give the ball back to them,” Cousins said. “Especially when we’re at midfield and we’re driving. But yeah, I think it’s just the risk of interception, the fact that you are throwing into a tough look and there’s no guarantee that it’s going to work out for you.”
“The receiver does have to protect you,” he said. “And we always say, ‘Worst-case scenario, if I do throw it, hey, that’s got to be an incompletion. You’ve got to find a way to become a defender and break it up if that happens.’ Again, I don’t want to get in a habit of throwing a lot of passes into traffic, but when you’re one-on-one on the outside with no safety coming over to help, there are a lot of times where you’ve got to give your guy a chance. If he’s a first-round pick, let him go show that and last night he did.”
Cousins was about as efficient as a quarterback could be in Sunday’s win, completing 25 of 30 passes (83.3%) for 365 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 150.7 passer rating.
“When you have an efficiency like that, it all goes back to play-calling, protection, players getting open, being in favorable down-and-distances,” Cousins said. “The game situation has to play itself out in a way where you’re in a position to be successful when you have efficiency like that. When you talk about having a total team win, I think it’s reflected in those statistics, being able to complete so many balls and have so much efficiency.”
The Redskins defense dominated all game long, holding the Raiders — one of the highest-octane offenses in the league — to 128 yards. Derek Carr was sacked four times and threw two interceptions.
That defensive dominant has been critical to Washington’s 2-1 start, Cousins says.
“It really was [dominant],” he said. “And, really, I think it’s been three weeks. I think they’ve really played well on defense all three games and have been a big reason why we’ve been able to win two, and why we probably should have won or had a great chance to win the first game.”
“Last night was dominant,” he reiterated. “You just don’t see that much in the NFL. With how much parity there is, you don’t see a performance like that very often. I still don’t fully understand how — with all the talent that the Raiders have on offense and what they’ve been doing for the last year and a half — I don’t understand how it happened.”
“I kept thinking that they’re gonna explode at some point,” he said. “We can’t just sit back with our lead; we’ve got to stay aggressive, because at some point they’re gonna get going and find a rhythm, but they just never really did. You’ve got to credit the whole defense, coaches, the scheme, the players — it was impressive.”
Cousins also provided an update on his expecting wife Julie, whose due date for their first child passed seven days ago.
“Really no symptoms yet,” Cousins said, adding that she’s begun doing things today to induce labor in hopes that the baby will arrive prior to next Monday, when Kirk will be in Kansas City.
Passing accuracy was on point. What changes have you made? On days where you come out where you’re sharp, what is the difference between that and the games where it takes a little while to get in a flow? — Marie
“It’s just about executing the plays,” Cousins said.
Cousins is rarely critical of others in public, even if it’s the opposition, but in describing the Redskins’ first score — Chris Thompson’s 22-yard touchdown catch down the left sideline — even Cousins was at a loss for a better way to describe what happened.
“When you think about the first touchdown pass,” he said. “The defense screwed up. I mean, they blitzed two players off the left side when they were meaning to have one drop in coverage, and so Chris Thompson is completely uncovered and, as a result, it’s an easy play to make.”
“I think also we get man-coverage on the first third down of the game and Vernon Davis beats his guy in man-coverage, and he creates separation and it makes for an easy throw and does the rest,” Cousins said. “So when you have plays like that, where guys execute or they drop the coverage or we create separation, I’ve just go to throw the ball with accuracy and make the right decision, and next thing you know, you’ve got seven points.”