When you're facing the No. 1 offense in the National Football League, you know that cashing in on every scoring opportunity is critical to staying in the game and having a shot at victory in the end.
But after forcing turnovers on the Indianapolis Colts' first two drives of the game yesterday — both of which giving their offense the ball in prime field position — the Washington Redskins came away with just three points.
Top images from the Washington Redskins' Week 13 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, at Lucas Oil Stadium
The Colts, meanwhile, responded by doing what they've been doing all season long: scoring points — and scoring them quickly.
And although the Redskins ended up seeing a productive day from their offense, they just couldn't keep up from that point on in their 49-27 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
"We knew coming into this game that they have the ability to light up the scoreboard, and they did," Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy said. "But for us as an offense, when we get turnovers like that early in the game, we've got to be able to get more than [one field goal]. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that."
McCoy, starting under center for the second time this season, had a tremendous final stat line: 31-of-47 passing for 392 yards and three touchdowns. But a good number of those completions, yards and touchdowns came in the second half, when the Redskins were trying to catch back up to the Colts, who were making big play after big play on their end.
After the game, McCoy said he wasn't feeling any additional pressure coming into the game after being handed the starting job once again, but acknowledged that pressure heats up during the game when your team finds itself trailing such a talented opponent.
"[I] just want to continue to approach the game the way that I have been approaching it all year and stay in my three-foot world and really know my responsibility and my job and try to give this team some life and some spark," he said. "I thought at times we did that, but I also felt like we were just playing catch up the game and that's a hard game to play, especially when you're going against the No. 1 offense in the league."
McCoy showed off that life and spark with a phenomenal individual effort on a key play early in the third quarter.
With the Redskins trailing 21-10 at the 11:33 mark, they faced a 2nd and 5 from the Indianapolis 16-yard line. McCoy, lined up under center, faked a handoff to running back Alfred Morris and was flushed out to his right, where he was in immediate danger.
But the Texas product was able to spin out of the first tackle attempt by Jonathan Newsome, and then, almost simultaneously, sidestepped attempted tackles by Bjoern Werner and D'Qwell Jackson before stepping up and finding tight end Logan Paulsen wide open at the seven-yard line.
From there, Paulsen was able to sprint untouched into the end zone to cut the Colts' lead to just four.
"For him to come out and make that gargantuan effort and give us an opportunity to score a touchdown there it's absolutely fantastic," said Paulsen, who scored his first touchdown of the season on that play. "He breaks three tackles and kind of keeps the play alive and has the wherewithal and the composure and keeps his eyes downfield, that's spectacular and pretty fantastic. And he was able to find the open man, we scored a touchdown — it was great."
McCoy said after the game that "the smart play probably would have been to throw it away, but at point in the game, we needed a touchdown, we needed a spark, something."
"We found a way in and I'm happy that Logan scored," he said.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said after the game that he is going to stick with McCoy at quarterback for Sunday's home matchup against the St. Louis Rams.
"Colt competed," Gruden said. "There are some things I wish we would have done differently, play calls and execution-wise, but I feel like he competed and did a nice job out there."
The first-year head coach said McCoy showed poise by coming back after some struggles in the first half to lead the team to some success in the second half.
"The game is four quarters and he came back in the third quarter and got us a couple of big drives there, made some good throws," Gruden said. "Obviously the great throw on the scramble touchdown where he got hit and spun around, he did a good job of competing. I don't think it was the start we wanted but I thought Colt competed and did some good things."
McCoy said despite being 3-9 at this point of the season, the team still has "a lot to play for," beginning Sunday against the Rams.
"We have unity. We have good guys in that locker room. We have good coaches and we know this isn't how the season, this isn't how we drew it up," he said. "But we all still have a lot of pride and certainly in that receivers group, there's a lot of pride. So I can be better and I think we all can be better. And we just have to continue to grind and continue to improve. The most important thing is to find a way to get a win. We're going back home this week, so I'll put my best foot forward and keep going."