Kirk Cousins and the Redskins' offense struggled through the first half of Thursday's game, but eventually clicked on two second half touchdown drives in a 20-10 victory.
The Washington Redskins' offense went from having a famine to a feast on Thanksgiving night.
Led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Redskins gathered just three points in the first half with four punts and a turnover on downs preluding Washington's first score of the game with less than a minute before halftime.
The brief break made all the difference, as Cousins led his team to 20-10 win over the New York Giants, throwing for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
"This game just tests you every week and you have those moments throughout the game that emotionally you just get punched in the gut," Cousins said. "We found a way to win and the defense kept us in it game all night long and [I] was proud of the resiliency we showed once again."
In the third quarter, Cousins found wide receiver Jamison Crowder in the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, finally giving Washington a lead over the now 2-9 Giants.
On the play, Cousins, who took six sacks on the night, shifted outside the pocket and made a pinpoint throw on the run, finding Crowder split between two New York defenders. Cousins, who earlier in the weeks said he felt more confident in his abilities to avoid pressure, said the improvisation on his and Crowder's part led to the touchdown.
"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes downfield and found Jamison Crowder all by himself and he was pretty wide open, made for an easy throw," Cousins said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."
Crowder's production was far from over, as he and Cousins connected seven times for 141 yards.
With the lead, Washington's offense received its first gut check of the night. While looking for running back Byron Marshall on a check-down pass, Cousins planted his foot a bit too hard, affecting his throwing motion. The ball sailed a few inches too high for Marshall, who tipped the ball over his head where it landed into the hands of cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Despite the best tackling efforts of the Redskins' offense, Jenkins found the end zone, completing the pick-six.
With the score tied, it looked as if Washington may go to the air to try and regain the lead quickly. However, head coach Jay Gruden continued to call on rookie running back Samaje Perine, giving the offense short third downs that were easily converted. Perine, who had limited opportunities in the first, finished with 100 yards on the ground. His success gave Cousins the advantage to catch the defense off guard.
For example, on Washington's second and final touchdown of the night, Cousins faked the play action to the right and found receiver Josh Doctson streaking to the left corner of the end zone.
"Josh did a good job trying to sell, you know, run to the right and then he's supposed to just kind of sell that, sell that, sell that and then whip out of it and be an outlet for me late and he did the rest," Cousins said. "He got separation and made a great catch and kept his feet in bounds."
Cousins, Crowder and much of the offense celebrated the hard-fought win with a handful of turkey legs after the game with the NBC Sunday Night Football crew. Gruden said the celebration was well earned, and that Cousins, along with the entire team, never gave up on the game.
"I thought it was another gutsy performance by Kirk. It's not easy," Gruden said. "Every week it seems like we're shuffling guys around and I think he played great. He handled the game and handled the command of the huddle."