3 and out: Redskins hope to play spoiler vs. Cowboys

3 and out: Redskins hope to play spoiler vs. Cowboys
December 18, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Can Cousins lead the Skins past Dallas?

The Redskins can’t make the playoffs this season, obviously. But not all is lost. On Sunday, they can play spoiler against their biggest rival. With a win, they can deal a potentially fatal blow to the Cowboys’ postseason hopes.  

That’s going to be the big story line at FedEx Field. But here are three more items to keep an eye on this week:

1st down—Kirk Cousins had a solid season debut as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, completing 64-percent of his passes and tossing three touchdowns. But the second-year quarterback also threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. It’s really early in his career, but it’s becoming apparent that interceptions are a problem. In fact, on his 118 career pass attempts, Cousins has been picked off seven times. “When you look at it—the two interceptions [vs. Atlanta]—certainly I could have thrown the ball to more advantageous locations to get the ball completed,” Cousins said on Wednesday.

2nd down—Speaking of turnovers, the Redskins have committed 29 of them—seven in last week’s 27-26 loss in Atlanta. That’s more than double last season’s total of 14 and, in the words of Mike Shanahan, the increase in interceptions and fumbles are a primary reason the Redskins are 3-11 this season. On a positive note, the Cowboys have just one takeaway the past two weeks. 

3rd down—Getting back to Cousins, last Sunday, he put up good numbers against a Falcons’ defense that’s ranked 29th overall. This week, Cousins gets the NFL’s worst defense. The Cowboys are yielding almost 430 yards and 28 points per game. Makes you wonder what Robert Griffin III is thinking right about now, doesn’t it?

Extra point: If the Redskins (3-11) lose to the Cowboys, Coach Mike Shanahan will be assured of his worst record as a head coach. He went 5-11 in 2011.