Grade vs. Ravens: A
Comment: The offense had its way with the Ravens’ injury-depleted defense in the first quarter, racking up 186 yards, nine first downs and two touchdowns in 15 minutes.
But the Redskins didn’t score a touchdown again until the final seconds of the fourth quarter, when Kirk Cousins stepped in for the ailing Robert Griffin III and promptly connected with Pierre Garçon for an 11-yard touchdown. And thanks, in part, to Cousins’ unexpected quarterback sneak on the game-tying two-point conversion, the lengthy drought didn’t come back to bite Kyle Shanahan’s unit. (Speaking of the younger Shanahan, he deserves kudos for the gutsy call.)
Running back Alfred Morris eclipsed 100 yards for the third week in a row, gaining 122 and scoring a touchdown. But he also lost a fumble for the second straight week, setting up a Ravens’ touchdown. Coach Mike Shanahan said there will be an emphasis placed on ball security in practice this week.
But despite the lull in the second quarter, Morris’ turnover and the three sacks and eight quarterback hits the line surrendered, there was a lot to like about the offense’s stick-to-itiveness. It notched 30 or more points for the sixth time in 2012, marking the first time that’s happened since 1996; Garçon caught a touchdown for the third consecutive game; and the unit's 26.4 points per game average ranks seventh in the NFL.
Most important, though, Cousins figures to have plenty of confidence – and a week of preparation – if he’s called upon to replace Griffin as the starter Sunday in Cleveland.