The last time we saw Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins, they had just erased a 24-0 deficit and beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-30, behind 24 second-half points and a game-winning touchdown pass with 24 seconds left.
Cousins ran off the field and was seen screaming to nobody in particular: “You like that?!”
He undoubtedly liked it. For the first time all season, Cousins threw multiple touchdowns in a game – three, to be exact. He rushed for another. And just as important, he didn’t throw an interception. For those keeping track, he’s thrown two on four separate occasions this season.
Cousins won the job over the other Washington QB competition this past offseason, notably Robert Griffin III. While Cousins won’t ever be amongst the greats in the league, he showed he could stage a major comeback – and has the Skins in the NFC East’s division race.
“I think he does a lot of things well, seems like a really smart guy who manages the offense well,” Bill Belichick said of Cousins. “They have some check plays and things like that. He does a good job there. He’s pretty athletic even though he hasn’t run a lot, but he moves around quite a bit. They run bootleg moving pocket plays, things like that, so he definitely has quickness to create a little extra time to throw and does a good job of finding and using all his receivers, backs and tight ends and multiple wide-outs.”
The Dolphins were feeling good coming into Foxboro, too, and we all know how that ended. While there’s far less hype in this case surrounding the Redskins, they should be confident coming off a bye.
Assuming the Patriots build a lead, it’ll once again fall on Cousins. If it somehow remains close, Washington has two running backs they’re fine in handing the ball off to in Alfred Morris and Matt Jones.
“I would say overall that this is a pretty balanced team,” Belichick said. “They run the ball with a good frequency and some of their rushing, like everyone’s, is a little bit circumstantial. When they fell behind in a couple games, the rushing numbers dropped, but when they’ve been able to be in the situation they want to be in, they’re running the ball pretty close to 50 percent of the time.”
It’s good for the Skins to have that extra week of rest and preparation. But the Patriots are also working with a few extra days given their Thursday nighter last week.
“We were finished with them really early last week with the people on our staff that kind of do the prep work on that,” Belichick said. “After the game, by Friday, certainly by [Saturday], I think all of us were fully caught up on Washington as far as looking at what we already have and normally that wouldn’t happen until Monday night.”