The Redskins did just about everything they could to be in the position to at least tie the game in the final two minutes of Sunday's game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
After the Eagles hit a 51-yard field goal to extend their lead to 10 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Redskins responded with a quick touchdown of their own – a 1-yard run by running back Roy Helu Jr. – and then saw its defense force a key three-and-out to get the ball back at the Philadelphia 41-yard line down three points with 2:25 remaining.
Check out top photos from the Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles matchup Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, however, the drive wouldn't move past that point. An Alfred Morris run on first down went for no gain, and quarterback Kirk Cousins' next three pass attempts – intended for DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and Pierre Garçon, respectively – each fell to the grass.
After the turnover on downs, the Eagles were able to drain the remaining 1:47 on the clock to seal the home victory.
Cousins – who was making just his fifth-career start Sunday – said he was disappointed he couldn't deliver for his team in crunch time, but chalks it up as a learning experience that he hopes he can lean on down the road.
"I think more than anything it just takes good preparation, good attention to detail and just having a good understanding of where guys are going to be and where you need to be and the timing of plays," Cousins said of those crunch time plays. "Like I said, I haven't gone through that experience now. Now I've been there before and get a better understanding of plays, coverages, protections, fronts, pocket movements – all the stuff that makes up a great quarterback."
Cousins said he was especially frustrated that he couldn't continue the momentum in the final couple minutes of the game that the offense had built up until that point. Until the final drive, Cousins had turned in a career day, completing 30-of-45 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns.
The goal on that drive, Cousins said, was just to move the chains one time, because then, at the very least, the team would be in prime position to tie the game with a field goal from Kai Forbath.
"All three of (the passes on the final drive) probably could have put us in field goal range and probably would have been able to move the chains," Cousins said. "All three in different ways frustrate you and make you say, 'Ah, I missed it.'"
Should the Redskins be placed in a similar situation Thursday night against the Giants – or at any other point in the future – Cousins said he hopes to capitalize.
"The key now going forward is to learn from it, prepare very hard, hammer the details so that when you get into those situations again, you get the result you want," he said.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said he has faith that all three of his quarterbacks – Cousins, Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy – can step up for their team in those clutch situations.
"All of them can do it, it's just a matter of they've got to go out and do it and play in the situations," Gruden said. "To sit back on the sideline as a backup quarterback for a couple years, you're not going to get the reps, you're not going to get the experience, but to go out there and play, it's going to make (Cousins) a better player in the long run."
Cousins said, overall, he was encouraged with the offense's performance on Sunday.
"I'm still picking up every week learning what (Gruden) wants, and that'll continue as long as I play for him," Cousins said. "But, the longer we work together, the better we're going to get, and the more we're going to find ourselves on the same page."