LANDOVER, MD - The Washington Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 27-23, on Sunday after another inconsistent outing by quarterback Kirk Cousins. However, Cousins wasn't the lone reason for Washington's second consecutive home loss. The team lacked success on third down, both offensively and defensively. They also committed eight penalties, the most damaging of which may have been a false start by center Kory Lichtensteiger, costing the Redskins 10 crucial seconds as they tried to make a last-minute comeback. Below, we'll discuss what stood out in our game notes.
- Cousins struggled mightily with his accuracy and decision-making. He missed an open Jamison Crowder on what would have been a walk-in touchdown to cap the team's opening drive. He also overshot wide receiver DeSean Jackson on the third drive and threw a game-changing red zone interception in the fourth quarter. Cousins just failed to rise to the occasion today.
- RB Matt Jones ran well in the first half (32 yards on six attempts). However, I think the Redskins could have used him more. For example, Jones didn't even see the field on Washington's third offensive possession despite scoring a touchdown on the previous drive. It was a wasted opportunity to build on the momentum Jones had created. They went away from him too early.
- Tight end Jordan Reed's seven targets tied him with wide receiver Pierre Garcon for second-most on the team. Reed made a couple great snags but was beat for a costly sack on the team's third drive. Reed's block attempt was a lazy one. It's a weakness in his game, and he shouldn't be counted on to provide protection on critical plays.
- Wide receiver Jamison Crowder led the team with eight targets. He had an excellent outing that would have been better had Cousins hit him on that gift-wrapped touchdown opportunity early in the game. Regardless, Crowder showed strong hands on several catches. His touchdown grab in the third quarter was a great example of his route running skills.
- I wrote that Lichtensteiger had a poor game in "Before Further Review" last week. However, after further review, I realized he didn't struggle nearly as much as I initially thought. In fact, he was probably one of the team's better offensive linemen in Week 1. But Lichtensteiger continues to have costly penalties called against him. Maybe the result would have been the same without his false start on the second-to-last snap of the game. But it did take precious time off the clock.
- Cornerback Josh Norman made a big play in the third quarter, forcing a fumble after the Redskins had just tied the score at 20-20. Although Norman didn't begin the game shadowing Dallas wideout Dez Bryant, that quickly changed in certain red zone situations.
- Washington's interior defensive line continued to be attacked. They stood no chance at defending the goal line as running backs Alfred Morris and Ezekiel Elliott both scored short touchdowns by going right up the gut.
- For the second week in a row, I thought Su'a Cravens was a bright spot for Washington's inside linebacking group. He has great instincts and explodes to the ball. Otherwise, Washington's ILBs had a tough time getting off their blocks.
- The Redskins recorded four sacks in this game. Some of the pressure was due rookie quarterback Dak Prescott holding onto the ball for too long. But Washington also had some good rushes from the likes of linebacker Trent Murphy, who netted a sack against the All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.
You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.
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