CLEVELAND -- Despite having a 1-2 record after a 29-27 win over the New York Giants last Sunday, Washington has one of the highest-rated offenses and the second-most prolific passing attack in the National Football League.
And as Washington prepares to welcome the Cleveland Browns to FedEx Field for an inter-conference game Sunday, quarterback Kirk Cousins is looking to build upon that success and continue to test an opposing secondary.
“More importantly, the key is just stay within ourselves,” Cousins told the Cleveland media in a conference call earlier this week. “If it is a game where we need to be more patient and take what the defense is giving us, then that is fine and not try to force things.
“Obviously, we go where our reads take us. If our reads take us underneath in the progression, we will take the underneath stuff and just take it one play at a time. Every play is different and every game is different. We will see defensively how they choose to attack us and just let the game come to us and not try to force anything.”
In the win over the Giants, Cousins completed 21 of his 35 attempts for 296 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, and he spread the ball around to six different teammates. And that passing success against New York came when Washington managed just 90 rushing yards as a team on 30 carries.
“I just think it was a total team win,” Cousins said. “It required so many different pieces. We had to run the football. We had to make some plays in the passing game. We needed our defense to step up and make some big plays, and our special teams came through with a great punt return and a big fake punt.
“All of those plays just contribute. That is what it is going to take in the NFL week in and week out. It takes all different phases of the game and all different people contributing to be able to win because the margin for error is so small.”
In preparing for the Browns, Cousins sees a “well coached” group that does not “take plays off or loaf.” As such, Cousins knows the key to Washington’s success will be getting the ball to veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson and mixing in an effective running game.
“He is still a great player and he is still making a lot of great plays for us,” Cousins said of Jackson. “I have said it over and over and over again that he is an elite receiver. We are always trying to find ways to get him the football because when he gets the ball in his hands, good things happen.
“If we can have a lead or hold a lead or be in the game through all four quarters, it gives us the opportunity to run the ball a little more consistently, and then, we have to stay penalty free because when you get in first-and-20 or second-and-20, it is hard to run the ball. If we can stay in first-and-10 and second-and-manageable, it gives us a great chance to just keep running the football and stay in positive situations.”