With his team needing him most, Kirk Cousins put the Redskins on his back Sunday leading them to a 26-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Up 20-17 in the fourth quarter, Cousins was 4-of-5 passing for 66 yards and capped the crucial eight-play drive with a seven-yard touchdown run with 3:28 remaining in the game.
The drive was highlighted by him finding Vernon Davis on a seam route. Davis rolled with the momentum of the throw for 51 yards to get the Redskins deep in San Francisco territory. Cousins later extended the drive on a key 3rd-and-5 in which he found Ryan Grant for six yards against a Cover 3 defense at the 49ers’ 11-yard line.
Cousins then took advantage of a defensive holding penalty on a throw to Grant in the end zone, by following up with a beautifully executed read option play. Cousins read the crash by rookie defensive end Solomon Thomas on the play fake before taking off to beat Thomas in a footrace to the end zone.
Cousins’ score extended the Redskins lead to nine at 26-17 and after a missed extra point from Dustin Hopkins and a late touchdown by the 49ers, that proved to be the difference in Washington’s win. Cousins finished the game completing 25-of-37 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Adding his rushing score, he accounted for all three of the Redskins touchdowns.
All three scores came in the red zone — another area critics have knocked the Redskins quarterback. Against the 49ers, the Redskins were nearly perfect scoring three touchdowns on four trips to the red zone. Cousins found Josh Doctson on the game’s opening drive. He later did a great job finding Samaje Perine in the flat on a third-and-goal play in the second quarter. Cousins went through his progressions after a play fake. With nothing available with the receivers, he came back to Perine, who did the rest to scamper into the end zone.
His third red zone conversion was his read option score. The only failed trip to the red zone ended in a questionable no call on a pass intended for Doctson on third down, as Dontae Johnson may have got away with a hold in coverage. The Redskins settled for a 21-yard field goal from Hopkins.
Outside of Week 1’s dreadful performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cousins has been clutch all season. It was his touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter that handed the Redskins a Week 2 win over the Los Angeles Rams. He played outstanding against the then-heavily favored Oakland Raiders, and he did all he could to lead the Redskins over the Kansas City Chiefs, nearly pulling off the upset had Doctson come down with a beautifully-placed throw with less than two minutes to go.
— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) October 15, 2017
Against San Francisco not all was great from Cousins. He did throw an interception on an overthrown pass intended for Davis. And that came after his previous pass was nearly interception by Jimmie Ward. Still, Cousins came through when it mattered the most. He put the team on his back and proved how clutch he can be in the fourth quarter.
If he continues to be clutch in late game situations and convert red zone trips for touchdowns there may not be much more for naysayers to knock of Cousins.