If Saturday's preseason game against the Ravens truly acted as an audition for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, then he should be feeling pretty good about his chances right now.
Cousins, starting in place of Robert Griffin III (concussion), played the entire first half and completed 20 of 27 passes for one touchdown and one interception in Washington's 31-13 win at M&T Bank Stadium.
Cousins' night started poorly. On his third pass of the game, Cousins attempted a wide receiver screen pass to Pierre Garcon and failed to recognize that Terrell Suggs had sniffed out the play. Suggs made a leaping interception, leading to three points and an early 10-0 lead for Baltimore.
Things nearly went from bad to worse on the next series, when Cousins fumbled the center exchange, a loose ball recovered by Washington. Cousins kept it together, however, completing 5 of 7 passes on a drive that took the Redskins into Ravens territory before Alfred Morris was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 carry.
Cousins' first touchdown pass came under unusual circumstances. Facing a third-and-9 from the Ravens 22, Cousins fired a pass over the middle that bounced off Andre Roberts' hands and into the waiting mitts of Jamison Crowder, who jogged into the end zone for six points. Cousins took the Redskins down the field again in Washington's next possession, an 83-yard march in the 2-minute drill offense that ended with a 1-yard scoring run by Chris Thompson.
"To see him have a slowish start, throw the interception and bounce back and get those two drives in the other half was impressive," Gruden said.
Colt McCoy made the most of his half of work as well, completing 10 of 12 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns against Baltimore's backups.
An important note: The Redskins didn't surrender any sacks on Saturday. This stands in stark contrast to last week against the Lions, when Griffin took a beating that eventual led to his head injury. The return of the newly mintedTrent Williams made a big difference, but Cousins and McCoy deserve credit for getting the ball out quickly.
After the game, Gruden addressed the situation surrounding Griffin and Friday's announcement that he would not be available to play the Ravens because of his recent concussion.
"I read the report. Hell, I was confused," Gruden said, per NFL Media's Jeff Darlington, adding there is no quarterback controversy. "We're all as confused as you are. I know people want to say we're incompetent. This has nothing to do with the Redskins."
Gruden declined to discuss Washington's murky quarterback situation, instead insisting that no decisions will be made until they have clarity on Griffin's health.