Shanahan praises Cousins after first start of year
ATLANTA -- Game Recap: The Redskins changed quarterbacks, but the end result was the same.
Kirk Cousins passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns, but the second-year signal caller also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble as the Redskins fell, 27-26, to the Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
Washington dropped its sixth straight game and fell to 3-11. Atlanta, meantime, improved to 4-10.
But the Redskins didn’t go down without some dramatic moments late. Cousins, who has replaced a struggling Robert Griffin III for the final three games of the season, engineered a touchdown drive in the waning seconds, culminating with a three-yard pass to Santana Moss that pulled the visitors to within 27-26.
But instead of going for the point after attempt and overtime, Coach Mike Shanahan decided to go for two. Cousins’ pass, however, was tipped away from Pierre Garçon in the back of the end zone. After a failed onsides kick attempt, the Falcons had a thrilling victory.
The Redskins produced highlights on both side of the ball Sunday, but they ultimately were unable to overcome a season-high seven turnovers.
In addition to Cousins’ trio of turnovers, Alfred Morris coughed up two fumbles while normally sure-handed Moss was also credited with two. The Redskins had not committed seven turnovers since 2004. The seven turnovers also represented half of Washington’s entire total from 2012.
The Redskins’ final turnover – an interception thrown by Cousins – led to the game clinching points. The Redskins were trailing 24-20 in the fourth quarter when Cousins attempted to squeeze a pass over the middle into Garçon. But rookie Desmond Trufant stepped in front of Garçon and secured the pick. Four plays later, Matt Bryant kicked a 51-yard field goal to put the Falcons ahead 27-20.
The Redskins, to their credit, didn't fold. But when Cousins’ two-point pass missed in the final seconds, the game had an ending befitting this lost season.
Key Moment: Perry Riley stuffed Steven Jackson at the goal line on fourth down to help the Redskins’ preserve a 20-17 lead. But on Washington’s first play from their own 1, Cousins misfired, throwing right to safety William Moore, who returned the ball 14 yards to the 2. One play after that, Jackson was in the end zone and the Falcons had a 24-20 lead.
Player of the Game: Brian Orakpo. The outside linebacker finished with a team-high eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss. He has seven sacks in the past six games.
Injury Update: Fullback Darrel Young returned from a three game absence due a hamstring injury but left the game in the second quarter due to the same problem. Young, who earlier in the game helped spring Alfred Morris for a 37-yard, has a long history of hamstring ailments.
From the Locker Room: Please check back for postgame updates from the podium and the locker room.