The Washington Redskins still led, but a touchdown pulled the Chicago Bears closer at 21-14 in the third quarter. On Washington's next drive and facing 2nd-and-11, quarterback Kirk Cousins saw the Bears in a Cover 2 look with a two-deep safeties. Knowing the Redskins' play call included a corner route to the right side, which is typically a Cover-2 zone beater, Cousins dropped back and fired.
Typically the cornerback plays the flat area in Cover 2 zone. In this case, the CB dropped underneath the corner route because a linebacker buzzed out to the flat. Cousins didn't notice. Kyle Fuller intercepted the pass and the Bears offense quickly turned the turnover into a game-tying touchdown.
We have seen this story before. Once Cousins throws an interception, it begins an avalanche of bad decisions, poor luck, and timidness. Timidness from Cousins to throw the ball and coaches to call pass plays. Fans hold their breath while fearing doom.
Except that didn't happen on the next drive, none of it. Nobody noticed because that narrative no longer exists. The following drive lasted six plays that saw four passes and two runs that covered about fifty yards. Let's take a look:
1. First play coming back from the interception was a pass. Head coach Jay Gruden showing confidence in Cousins ability to rebound. Bears showing off-coverage with a Cover 3 shell. Cousins has a hitch/flat at the top of the screen. Once he sees off coverage, he knows where he is going with the ball.
As Pierre Garcon is coming out of his break, Cousins is already letting the ball go. The ball comes out so fast the off-coverage cornerback can't react and the defender responsible for the flat is in no position to undercut the route.
An easy, confidence building completion that keeps the Redskins ahead of the chains.
2. Cousins has an outside zone PA bootleg with Post/Deep crosser combo and max protection. Bears have a Cover 4 shell but drop into a Cover 3 as one safety comes down in the robber position.
The robber safety expects a Redskins player like Jordan Reed to leak into the flat opening up the sideline for the deep crosser. There is no leak into the flat on this play because Redskins are in max protection. Garcon runs the post and takes two defenders with him. Tracy Porter notices late that no one is going to pick up DeSean Jackson on the deep crosser and tries to follow him but Jackson wins that every day of the week.
Cousins launches a dart in a perfect place between three defenders for a big gain.
3. Redskins have high-low read all over the place. Redskins put Ryan Grant in motion and when no one mirrors him it alerts Cousins to zone coverage.
Grant sits down in the zone between the LBs underneath. When Cousins sees his downfield options covered, he doesn't panic.
Cousins probably would have had more success dumping it off to Matt Jones who leaked out of the backfield late. Still, Cousins throws a relatively safe pass because Grant has the LB boxed out but the pass is batted down at the line.
4. After a big loss on a run play from Matt Jones, the Redskins had a 3rd and 14 from the Bears 40 yard line. Cousins barks his cadence and reveals the Bears blitz. Cousins communicates protection to the running back and offensive line. Still, he knows he has six guy to block seven so the ball has to come out hot. Rashad Ross has the short route on the right side and the Bears are playing off coverage behind the blitz defending the sticks.
Cousins waits until the last second to get rid of the ball knowing he is going to take a hit. He leads Ross into open field with his throw.
Ross catches the ball, but loses his footing. Now look at the picture and note the open space for Ross after the Cousins pass reaches its target. Sure, there is a defender just out of the screenshot but with the speed Ross possesses this could be a touchdown or at the very least, a first down. Instead, Ross falls down and is touched forcing a 4th down. Still, this drive lead to the field goal that ended up being the deciding score of the game.
To recap, Kirk Cousins threw a back-breaking interception on a poor read that lead directly to a touchdown for the opponent and it tied the game 21-21. Cousins came back on to the field, threw a completion on his first play after the interception, and lead a drive that ended up scoring the points that won the game for the Redskins. Why is this not a story? Because on the meter of possibilities, the arrow is starting to creep away from impossible and more towards normal.
Paul Conner is the Film Analyst at Breaking Burgundy. You can follow him on Twitter for more film and opinions @P_ConnerJr
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