Redskins blast Bills to stay atop NFC East


The Washington Redskins (7-7) remain in the driver's seat of the NFC East after knocking off the Bills 35-25 on Sunday in a game that eliminated Buffalo (6-8) from playoff contention. Here's what you need to know:

1. Kirk Cousins set the tone on offense from the opening whistle. The Redskins quarterback was perfect on a 10-play opening march capped by his short touchdown pass to red-hot tight end Jordan Reed. Cousins used his legs on Washington's second drive to plow through Rex Ryan's defense for a 13-yard score and a 14-0 lead that wouldn't be lost. Cousins has been up-and-down this season, but Sunday provided more evidence of a young quarterback in growth mode. Give coach Jay Gruden credit for calling an aggressive game that saw Cousins (22-of-28 passing for 319 yards and four scores) challenge Buffalo's diced-up secondary time and again. He's now thrown 15 touchdowns at home since throwing his last pick at FedEx Field.

2. This game felt over with Washington up 21-0, but give Buffalo's offense credit for battling back. After throwing for just nine yards in the first half, quarterback Tyrod Taylor found Sammy Watkins on a 48-yard scoring strike that cut the lead to 28-17. Taylor completed 16-of-27 passes for 235 yards -- with 111 of those to Watkins -- but it all came too late for a Buffalo attack forced to play from behind thanks to a Rex-led defense that looked lost on Sunday. Armed with the best offense of his head-coaching career, it's frustrating and unforgivable to see Ryan's undisciplined D fold the tent time after time.

3. DeSean Jackson put this game away in the third quarter with a 77-yard catch-and-dash touchdown that set the table for 153 yards off six grabs. Jackson came into Sunday with a paltry 2.9 catches per game this season, but Washington's deep threat has piled up 429 of his 488 yards over the past five weeks. This can be a dangerous attack with Reed (7/84/2) also playing the best football of his career.

4. Redskins defenders deserve credit for sacking Taylor five times and shutting down LeSean McCoy, who was held to 29 yards off 10 attempts before leaving the game with a knee injury. In his absence, third-year back Mike Gillislee plowed for 81 yards off four totes and briefly kept hope alive with a 60-yard touchdown run in the second half. ESPN's Mike Rodak noted that Buffalo's 240 rushing yards were the most by an NFL team in a loss since Greg Roman's 49ers had 355 yards in a loss last December.

5. Buffalo's 155 penalties this season are the most in NFL. This all ties back to Ryan, who saw the team killed again on Sunday with eight flags for 56 yards, with plenty of them coming in big spots. So many of the infractions come before the snap, an inexcusable sin in Week 15. How many Bills fans launched remotes through their TVs watching Rex's defense get called for encroachment on a key fourth-and-1 that opened the door for Washington's second touchdown?

6. Washington's grudge match with Philly next Saturday might decide this division. With the Giants falling to Carolina, the Eagles (6-7) must first take care of business on Sunday night against the Cardinals. That said, it's been a while since Philadelphia played a game as well as Washington did today.