Washington’s 38-30 loss to Minnesota was a game of missed opportunities, says Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“I just felt it was a unique game in a sense that we moved the ball as we wanted to up and down the field,” Cousins told 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier during his weekly segment Monday — ‘Under Center,’ driven by the Lindsay Automotive Group.
“But a few missed opportunities, or an error here or there, kept us from coming away with the points and the overall production that we needed to come out with a win,” he said. “At times, it felt like we were doing everything we wanted to do offensively, but then missed opportunities — and we can go through them — just led to not enough points to be able to outscore the Vikings.”
Cousins went on to name several failed scoring opportunities — either drives in which the Redskins had to settle for a field goal, or didn’t come away with any points at all — which would have added up to 45 points and a Redskins victory.
“When you look at the throw to Chris Thompson on fourth down earlier in the game, if we can keep our feet there, or the ball can be thrown a way where he can keep his feet, then that’s four more points,” he said. “And if we can hit the route to Josh in the end zone where he falls down, that’s four more points. And then if we hit the seam to Josh, that’s seven more points.
“You start to add it up and you go, ‘Wow. We were three throws away, or three plays away, from having 45 points doing nothing different. Even with the interception.’ So there were a lot of plays there that you just feel are missed opportunities, and at the end of a game against a good team, they come back to haunt you.”
To sum up Washington’s offensive shortcomings, Cousins borrowed a line he’d heard from Cris Collinsworth the night before, on NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast of Patriots-Broncos: ‘Teams that kick field goals in this league lose. Teams that score touchdowns win.’
“While we were 2-for-4 in the red zone, we very possibly could have been 4-for-4,” Cousins said. “I mean, there’s a couple plays we can go through that could easily be 4-for-4 down there. And then the Vikings were 5-for-5. That starts to become a difference, because every time it’s a four-point difference between being 2-for-4 or 5-for-5. It adds up fast and we fell short.”
“That’s what’s tough — you put the ball in the air so well, so much of the time,” he said. “And then, whether it’s the interception or a couple red zone misses, and next thing you know, you fall short.”
“We were consistent with drop-back game, with the play-action game,” he said. “People were open, creating separation, and there was a lot of production, a lot to build off of or to feel good about, but you can go down the line and point to ways that we could have scored 45 points as an offense.”
This Minnesota offense scored five of the first six possessions they had, marching down the field scoring touchdowns. Is that more difficult for you guys as an offense, where you feel extra pressure because you’ve got to match that? — Tom in Gaithersburg
“We want to play the game that we need to play,” Cousins said. “There have been games where we don’t fill up the stat sheet offensively, but we win and we play the game that needs to be played, which may be running the ball a few more times, it may be settling for field goals, it may be running clock, it may be taking a sack to run clock instead of forcing the ball down the field.”
“We’re not as explosive as an offense, but if we win, we win,” he said. “This week, we had to play the game that needed to be played, which was going to be: we’ve got to move the ball quickly, we have to be efficient on all of our possessions, we’ve got to score. Frankly, when you are able to move the ball well and the game is calling for that, it’s fun.
“As receivers and in a passing game, you kind of look forward to those opportunities to let the ball loose and see how much you can score, and if it becomes a track meet, so be it. So we play the game that needs to be played, and yesterday it was a game that needed to be a high-scoring shootout.”