Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has had time now to fully evaluate the offense's performance Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks.
Although he could pick and choose what went right and what went wrong, Cousins said only one fact from the game really matters in the end.
"I didn't like that we lost," Cousins said of Washington's 27-17 loss to Seattle on Monday Night Football. "I think we avoided negative plays. There weren't a lot of sacks, there were no turnovers. That's a positive, but when you lose, you lose and that is all that matters in this league."
For his part, Cousins turned in a productive, error-free game, completing 21-of-36 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. This is in stark contrast to the team's previous game – a 45-14 loss to the New York Giants in which Cousins threw four interceptions and lost a fumble.
But on Monday, the Redskins were unable to get anything going in the first quarter, and quickly found themselves down 17-0 before getting on the board with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to wide receiver DeSean Jackson with 2:32 left in the first half.
Cousins – who later hooked up with Jackson on a 57-yard completion on the first play of the third quarter – said he didn't feel any extra pressure to make big plays with his arm with his team behind, but said the score and time remaining in the game can certainly dictate play-calling patterns week to week.
"It is just a part of playing the quarterback position," Cousins said. "You are going to get behind at times, you are going to be ahead at other times, and all of that is going to affect play calling, and you don't expect every game to go the perfect way and completely have a 50-50 balance throughout the entire game all season long."
The Seahawks – who feature the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL – were also able to limit Redskins running back Alfred Morris to just 29 yards on 13 carries. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Seattle "did a very nice job of loading the box," limiting the Redskins as a team to just 32 total rushing yards.
"We thought we could still knife in there a couple runs, but the problem is if one guy loses on a block – just one – it's a negative play of one or two yards, and we're stuck with second-and-eight, second-and-nine. And that's what happened," Gruden said Tuesday. "The big thing is we don't want to go out there and ask Kirk to throw the ball 45 or 50 times a game either against that pass rush. So it was important for us to find some kind of mix, like some kind of balance but unfortunately we couldn't do it with the running game."
With the loss, Cousins' all-time record as the Redskins' starting quarterback drops to 1-6, as the Michigan State product came out victorious in 2012 in his first start against the Cleveland Browns, but has since lost to the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and Giants last season, and the Philadelphia Eagles, Giants and Seahawks this season.
Cousins said it's not up to him to determine whether or not it's fair to be graded as a quarterback on wins, but said "at the end of the day in this league, it's all about winning."
"Winning the division, getting into the playoffs, winning in the playoffs," Cousins continued. "That is something that we are trying to do here and we need to improve obviously. There's places where we are coming up short and when you play this game in this league, the other team is very good, too. And so every time you go out there you have to bring your highest level and the margin for error is very, very small."
Cousins said the team has to "understand that in our approach day-to-day, week-to-week, just really be attentive to the details and attentive in our preparation to make sure that all bases are covered so that margin of error goes our way."
They get their next chance to improve Sunday, when they travel to Glendale, Ariz., to take on the 3-1 Arizona Cardinals.
"I just think that at the end of the day it is my job as a quarterback to help this team win," he said. "And there is a lot of other statistics and things you can look at to evaluate players' performances, but I don't think it is my place to say what's fair and not fair. I just know that I need to go out there and help this team win."