After Washington rookie Dwayne Haskins endured a rough NFL debut against the Cleveland Browns last week, the 15th overall pick managed to bounce back with a solid showing against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
"I'm not going to throw two picks again. That's what I thought, and I didn't, so that's good," Haskins said following a 23-13 loss, according to Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith. "I was just a little more settled down this week than I was last week. I felt like I was more in my element."
"Dwayne shows flashes. There's a couple of balls that he probably rushed a little bit. I think he missed a couple of shots that he rushed a little bit, that he didn't put enough air under them, but this is all a learning process for him. It's good to see him get out there and take some hits here and there, have to deal with protections and get the running game going, call the plays.
"It's just the presentation that I'm interested in right now, how he handles himself, how he controls the players, the huddle, the leadership qualities that he has. It's fun to watch him right now. He's a work in progress. He continues to get better and better.”
In his first preseason showing back on Aug. 8, Haskins struggled mightily. He completed eight of 14 passes for 117 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions in two quarters of work in a 30-10 loss to Cleveland.
He wasted little time in putting that disappointing effort behind him.
Haskins came out throwing on Thursday night, completing two of three passes for 59 yards on his first drive.
That strong start was highlighted by an impressive 55-yard pass to Robert Davis for the rookie signal-caller's first-ever NFL touchdown:
Afterward, the 6'4", 230-pound passer reminded everyone that his arm strength has never come into question:
While that throw grabbed people's attention, Haskins did little else to make a statement in Washington's quarterback competition. And, unfortunately for him, he turned the ball over for the third time in two games while fumbling on a blindside sack midway through the third, putting the Bengals in position for the game-tying touchdown.
Haskins played seven series on the night, with none of the final six lasting more than four plays (not including punts). He finished the night 7-of-14 for 114 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions.
As he finds himself still battling veteran Case Keenum for the starting job, the 22-year-old left the field feeling "good" about his performance.
"It was good," Haskins said, per Smith. "Just trying to move the ball down the field, make smart decisions, not put the ball into harm's way."