Gruden: Can't put loss to Cowboys all on Kirk Cousins

In Sunday's 27-23 loss, Kirk Cousins snapped a nine-game regular season streak of completing 65-plus percent of his passes, going 28-of-46 passing (60.1 percent). The Washington Redskins quarterback missed passes, lacked poise in the pocket, consistently sailed throws high, low, long and short, didn't appear confident in play calls or to trust his reads, which led to indecisiveness.

Cousins was bad in every area of the field -- missing woefully on several long would-be touchdowns. He was appalling in the red zone. Cousins went 0-5 with an interception inside the Dallas 10-yard line. That interception came with a three-point lead and led directly to the Cowboys' go-ahead score. Quarterbacks are supposed to make their money in the red zone. This $19.95 million quarterback is now 1-of-8 passing with zero touchdowns and two picks inside opponents' 10-yard line in two games this season (2015: 16 touchdowns, 1 INT).

Let's be blunt for a moment: With almost any other starting NFL quarterback, the Redskins win this game. The Cowboys' defense didn't stop Washington's offense; Cousins' blunders stopped Washington's offense.

"We'll work to do whatever we can to fix it, that's for sure," coach Jay Gruden said of Cousins' struggles and missed throws. "We're going to get back to the grind. We've got the New York Giants as soon as we leave here, so he can watch the tape, find out what's going on if he's not sure what the indecision might be, why he's missing some throws, but you know, it's a tough game. He's got people around his feet. He's got to make some tough throws and usually ones he would normally hit but he missed a few today. We'll coach him up. Can't put it all on Kirk, you know. There's a lot of other issues that we had today, that's for sure -- coaching, playing, offense, defense; we all had our hand in that one."

Sure, the Redskins did have other problems, but none kill a team's chances to win like a quarterback blindly chucking wayward heaves into space. The interception was particularly egregious.

"I don't know what he saw on the interception," Gruden said. "You know, I think we had a play called that I thought he saw, and I didn't see who got it or what happened. I just saw that happen."

We all just saw one of the worst 364-yard passing days for any quarterback.

With Washington losing its first two games at home, the reports of locker room grumbling will begin. It's understandable for players -- especially a talented group of receivers -- to be frustrated when a $19.95 million quarterback plays like a $2 million QB. After games like Sunday, it's clear why Washington management wouldn't give Cousins a huge, long-term extension.

Cousins was outplayed by rookie Dak Prescott, who started his first career road game Sunday. Outside of stat-sheet glancers, it was obvious to see these two performances weren't all that close. One quarterback stood confidently, evaded rushers to find check downs, put the ball in tight windows when necessary, moved the chains in key situations and didn't hurt his team with turnovers. The other quarterback was Kirk Cousins.

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