Kirk Cousins' perfect passer rating on Sunday vs. the Saints was the first-ever by a Redskins quarterback since at least the 1950 season.*
On a day in which the Washington Redskins' offense would turn in big play after big play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at FedExField, perhaps it was their third play from scrimmage that was their most important.
Facing a 3rd and 4 and backed up to their own 10-yard line, quarterback Kirk Cousins connected with wide receiver DeSean Jackson down the left sideline on a beautifully-thrown, over-the-shoulder pass for a 42-yard gain.
The play ignited the offense, and it simply didn't stop from there. Led by Cousins, the Redskins collected 526 yards of total offense in their 47-14 rout of the Saints in front of 75,086 fans in Landover, Md.
"It was very impressive," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of his team's performance. "I told them in the locker room it was our best week of practice. We practice with great energy, great focus and it carried over to a game. So it was great to see those guys all step up."
Cousins' final stat line – 20-of-25 passing (80 percent) for 324 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions – is certainly impressive at first glance.
But, in terms of an overall performance by a quarterback in team history, the Michigan State product on Sunday might've taken the cake.
His perfect passer rating (158.3) was the Redskins' first perfect passer rating among quarterbacks with at least 20 attempts in records available dating back to 1950. He also posted the first perfect passer rating of any NFL quarterback this season with a minimum of 20 attempts.
Cousins said last week's offensive performance in a loss to the New England Patriots – one that resulted in at least seven drops by Redskins receivers, one of which leading to an interception – was all the motivation the team needed in practice leading up to the Saints game.
"It feels very gratifying," Cousins said after the game. "We said last week that we'd have an edge to us coming out of the way the last game finished, and we certainly did. It started Wednesday, or Tuesday, when we got back in the building and it carried over into Sunday."
Cousins' work in the first half allowed the Redskins (4-5) to just keep on cruising in the second half. In the first two quarters, he took advantage of one of the league's worst secondaries to complete 17-of-20 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns.
Many of those connections were quick passes to the Redskins' speedy playmakers, like Jackson, wide receiver Jamison Crowder (who caught his first-career touchdown) and running back Matt Jones, who rumbled his way to a 78-yard touchdown on a second-quarter screen play.
"When we execute and everybody does their part, good things happen," Cousins said. "And it definitely feeds itself, you know, it helps the play calling with the next play."
Washington also finally got its running game going again on Sunday, with 225 net rushing yards on the afternoon. Leading the way was Alfred Morris with 15 carries for 104 yards (6.9 yards per carry), but Jones (11 rushes, 56 yards) and Chris Thompson (2 rushes, 54 yards) certainly did their part, as well.
Check out these top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 10 matchup against the New Orleans Saints Nov. 15, 2015, at FedExField.
"We were pretty balanced with our attack," Gruden said. "It's a grind. It's hard to do that. Our offensive line was outstanding, and obviously Kirk was the trigger man."
Individually, Cousins set some other marks against the Saints, surpassing 5,000 career passing yards, becoming the 15th Redskins quarterback to accomplish that feat.
With his second touchdown of the day, Cousins also became the 16th quarterback in franchise history to record 30 career touchdown passes with the Redskins, and he posted his seventh-career 300-yard passing game – his third of the season.
But Cousins, as usual, declined to take the glory after Sunday's game. Even after an all-time-best performance, the focus for this quarterback is on the team.
"I think here it's just a matter of having consistency and developing myself at the quarterback position and always helping an offense grow," he said. "When you can run the ball like the way we did today, it's going to open up a lot of things for us in the passing game.
"We're just really pleased with the way everybody executed and the way it took all 11 out there to have the impact that we had."