Once again, the Washington Redskins didn't fail to disappoint—dropping their 11th game of the season 27-26 to the hapless Atlanta Falcons. Despite all the misfortune that struck the Redskins Sunday, including seven turnovers, they were still in a position to win at the end of the game. A failed two-point conversion attempt following Washington's final score was a controversial decision, but the real story of the game was Kirk Cousins.
On the heels of Robert Griffin III's "shutdown," as we like to call it in D.C., the second-year Cousins stepped in and made a defined impact. The former Michigan State Spartan threw for 381 yards, easily eclipsing Griffin's season high, to go with three touchdown strikes.
Not only did Cousins improve the play at the quarterback spot, his performance was infectious. Running back Alfred Morris ran for 98 yards—his fourth-highest rushing total of the season. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon recorded his third-highest receiving yards total of the season and the defense actually...got stops.
In the end, though, the Skins turned out to be the same losers that the Washington D.C. area has become accustomed to watching on Sundays.
Popular opinion says that the final three games of the season are a template for Cousins to display his ability and raise his value as a trade commodity in the offseason.
Shouldn't good coaches recognize able talent when it steps in for "franchise" players. Ever heard of a guy named Brady?
I digress. As expected, Twitter was buzzing about the debatable call by head coach Mike Shanahan at the end of the game, the play of Cousins and the future of RGIII and Shanahan in the nation's capital.
A tie is like kissing your sister - and now missing a two-point conversion when down one is like kissing your Cousins.— Dave Dameshek (@Dameshek) December 15, 2013
Stat of the day: The Redskins turned the ball over 14 times last season, and 7 times today.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) December 15, 2013
No effort at all. Professionalism is out the door. Fire everyone. #redskins— chad dukes (@chaddukes) December 15, 2013
Question: Do you think RGIII wants the team to win? It'd have to be hard to stomach that the team looks way better without him.— LaVar Leap Arrington (@LaVarArrington) December 15, 2013
The never-relenting soap opera that's the Washington Redskins always seems to develop new twists and turns.
Well, looking on the bright side, at least the Redskins have all but secured a top-three draft pick in the 2014 NFL draft? Wrong. Washington's 2014 first rounder was given away as part of the king's ransom for acquiring the means with which to secure the Redskins' No. 2 overall selection for Griffin in the 2012 NFL draft.
Regardless of not being cohesive as a team, the Redskins have several individuals who have shined this season, and they can be excited about moving forward.
After Garcon's performance on Sunday, he's now 11 receptions shy of Art Monk's franchise record for catches in a season.
Alfred Morris is enjoying his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
It's not all bad in Washington, but changes certainly need to be made at every level—playing personnel, coaching, front office and, ideally, at the very top.
Unless otherwise mentioned, all stats were gathered via Pro-football-reference.com