*This week's Redskins Drive of the Game, presented by Ford, was a nine-play, 84-yard drive finished off by a Kirk Cousins seven-yard touchdown run that extended the Redskins' lead. *
Clinging to a three-point lead after a defensive stop, the Redskins had an opportunity to extend their lead and put pressure on the 49ers late in their 26-24 victory at FedExField. They did just that, using a big play from tight end Vernon Davis for the second consecutive game.
The drive, which took nine plays, 84 yards and took up four minutes and 54 seconds, culminated in quarterback Kirk Cousins' first rushing touchdown of the season, a zone-read keeper around the edge that pushed the team's lead to 10, just enough of a cushion to edge out San Francisco's late push in the waning minutes.
"It's always been there because you know – I would credit going back to my rookie year with Robert [Griffin III] here, we did it a lot," Cousins said of the zone-read play. "It's always going to be a part of our offense because it does give defenses something to think about. Kyle [Shanahan] told me when he left, he said 'I've learned after working with Robert that this is a really valuable play no matter who the quarterback is and I'll always carry it with me.' So, when Jay [Gruden] arrived, we kept it and valued it, and as I started playing, it can still be a great play. You just have to pick your spots, be smart with it, call it at the right times, and read it correctly, and then usually you can get some yards."
The opportunity for that play was set by another balanced attack, starting from the Redskins' own 16-yard line. Cousins began the drive with a four-yard pass to tight end Jordan Reed, who finished with four catches for 37 yards. He then worked a pass to running back Samaje Perine, who gained five yards and then rushed for two more to collect a big third down.
That extended the drive long enough for Davis, who ran down the seam wide open and caught a Cousins pass in very similar fashion to the 69-yard completion he had against the Chiefs. Davis continued to mimic that play with his open-field sprinting across the width of the field for a 52-yard gain.
Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' offense in their 2017 Week 6 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers Oct. 15, 2017, at FedExField.
"It was pretty much the same play [as Kansas City]," Davis said. "Up the seams, just run as fast as you possibly can. That's what coach always says, just run fast. That's what I was able to do. I saw it open, went right around the defender and looked up for the ball and Kirk, he's great, he's good at those and he put it right there."
Cousins misfired on a designed pump-fake and fade route for Terrelle Pryor Sr., from 11 yards deep, but gained five yards on the next play with a run from Chris Thompson. Cousins then fired a first down to wide receiver Ryan Grant, who finished with three catches for 39 yards, an indication of their growing trust in each other.
After a negative rush from Thompson, Cousins went back to Grant over the middle but the wide receiver was held by cornerback K'waun Williams, producing an automatic first down.
From seven yards out, Cousins faked a handoff to Perine, forcing defensive lineman Solomon Thomas to bite on the play, and Cousins scampered into the end zone untouched.
"Ryan Grant had some big third down conversions. Vernon had the big play down the seam again. A little bit of everybody, but it can't happen without the offensive line's protection," head coach Jay Gruden said. "Trent Williams, I can't say enough about him playing with the pain that he played in. Morgan [Moses] was beat up a little bit. Spencer [Long] of course. [Brandon] Scherff and those guys and [Shawn] Lauvao played extremely well. It enabled Kirk some time and spread the ball around and got the key points."