Cousins, ‘Skins rebound in Week 2

WASHINGTON — It’s official. We have a quarterback controversy in Washington.

I’ve fought the notion tooth and nail. I’ve even mocked it openly. But now I see its arrival.

And I’m starting to buy it.

Sunday’s blowout win over Jacksonville came at a high price. Robert Griffin III went down with a dislocated ankle, and his return to the lineup this season is weeks away, at best. This marks his 4th significant injury in his less than three years as an NFL quarterback.

Enter Kirk Cousins.

Captain Kirk came off the bench cold and completed his first 12 passes, en route to a 22-of-33, 250 yard, two touchdown performance. Couple that with zero turnovers, and that’s good for a 109.4 QB rating.

We never really winced or thought he was about to throw a pick-six. In fact, there were throws where I got excited to see a guy in Burgundy and Gold engage in some high-level NFL quarterbacking.

This wasn’t just a late game drive to beat Baltimore. Nor was it spot duty against Atlanta or a string of three starts at the end of a lost season. This was all but two drives. Though RG3 looked good before dislocating his ankle on a first-quarter scramble, he’s never run this offense as efficiently and precisely as Cousins did Sunday.

To be fair, Griffin’s short appearance was also impressive. He got robbed by the refs on the long bomb to DeSean Jackson (who also left the game hurt). The play probably never should’ve gone to replay (Griffin underthrew the pass) and it’s perhaps simple to just chalk it up to learning a new receiver.

But RG3 was also noticeably off last week in Houston. His numbers looked OK, yet it was obvious he wasn’t yet comfortable in the pocket, and perhaps within the offense as a whole. Even with the nice start against the Jags, there’s no guarantee he would’ve gone on the tear Kirk did.

Trust me…I’m not being hard on Griffin. I’ve been all in on RG3 since before the trade, up to drafting him 2nd overall in 2012. I’m saying he and Cousins have been on this team the same amount of time. Both played well in 2012, both were mediocre (at best) last year, and both are still only a few months into learning the Gruden Way. I still think RG3 is the better talent, but based on what we saw Sunday and in the preseason, Cousins may be the better man for this offense.

It’s almost like a larger scale version of 2007, when the Redskins saw Jason Campbell go down injured and Todd Collins came off the bench to lead the ‘Skins to the postseason. Collins played better because he was well-suited to run Al Saunders’ offense, though he wasn’t necessarily a better talent than Campbell.

Much like Batman, Griffin might be the quarterback D.C. deserves…but maybe not the one it needs right now. If Kirk can beam up a few more wins, perhaps he should sit in the captain’s chair in 2014.

Long term? That’s still TBD. But it’s starting to look like simply staying on the field for a full season would give Kirk the edge over RG3 — and effectively set up another long quarterback controversy in the Nation’s Capital that will be a major storyline during the 2015 offseason.

Can’t wait.

Now that I’ve reached my preamble sarcasm quota, let’s recap Week 2:

Steelers 6
Ravens 26

Given the week Baltimore sports just had, this game was destined to go one of two ways: the Ravens would rally up and play their best ball, or they’d fall on the other side of a 20-point blowout. Either way, this wasn’t going to be the customary 3-points-or-less AFC North grudge match.

Jaguars 10
Redskins 41

Want irony? Ryan Kerrigan tied a franchise record for sacks in a game (4) against the team that pulled a trade with the ‘Skins so they could take him 16th overall in 2011. What did Jacksonville get in return? Blaine Gabbert. Feel free to bring that up next time someone wants to bash the Portis/Bailey trade, D.C. fans.

Dolphins 10
Bills 29

Buffalo has a new owner committed to keeping the team in town, the defense looks good even without Kiko Alonso, and the Bills are in sole possession of 1st place in the AFC East. Yes, the 2014 season is off to a crazy start.

Cowboys 26
Titans 10

Dallas is 12-1 when DeMarco Murray rushes 20 times or more. I’m amazed this stat can’t seem to make its way to Jason Garrett.

Cardinals 25
Giants 14

How bad are the Giants? They got rolled at home by a team with Drew Stanton at quarterback and a rookie kicker named Chandler Catanzaro. It looks like football in New York this year will be full of unintentional comedy.

Patriots 30
Vikings 7

On a day when Adrian Peterson was inactive, Matt Cassell was 0-for-8 with 3 INTs when passing the ball further than 10 yards. If that’s what Minnesota can expect from their starting quarterback, they might as well hand the keys to the rookie, Teddy Bridgewater.

And congrats to Bill Belichick for his 200th regular season coaching victory. Canton should just go ahead and get his bust (complete with a bronze hoodie) ready now.

Saints 24
Browns 26

My Super Bowl pick is 0-2. Their defense has been trashed by Matt Ryan (more on him below) and Brian Hoyer. Not a good look, New Orleans.

Falcons 10
Bengals 24

Roddy is right…Atlanta needs to score in the 30s to win games. Which means Matty Ice is going to have to do better than 1 TD, 3 INTs if the Falcons are going to stay competitive.

Lions 7
Panthers 24

Unless they’re about to pull a 2013 Texans, I’m getting the sense that I’m going to be eating some crow on my Carolina prediction…

Rams 19
Bucs 17

Lovie Smith starts the season with Carolina and St. Louis…at home…against backup QBs…and is 0-2? Lovie, this is not OK.

Seahawks 21
Chargers 30

So Richard Sherman goes from not being tested at all to watching Philip Rivers go 6-for-6 passing to guys he’s covering. Has the Madden Jinx kicked in?

Texans 30
Raiders 14

Oh, so J.J. Watt singlehandedly shut down the Redskins offense last week and this week is catching touchdowns on offense? What’s in store for next week? A game-winning field goal?

Jets 24
Packers 31

There’s only a handful of NFL franchises dysfunctional and moribund enough to blow a game they controlled for three quarters by calling a timeout just before they score a game-tying touchdown. The Jets are one of those teams.

Plus, no way Aaron Rodgers was gonna fall to 0-2. No way.

Chiefs 17
Broncos 24

This is how we know Denver is going to have a big regular season: they committed eight penalties on defense alone, but still shut the door on KC to win the game, even though Peyton Manning’s offense couldn’t get in the end zone in the 2nd half.

Bears 28
Niners 20

I gotta say…it feels a little karmic that San Fran broke in their new stadium by blowing a 17 point lead on a day when they were the only NFL team that failed to make a statement against domestic abuse. I just don’t know how Ray MacDonald was still playing football Sunday.

Eagles 30
Colts 27

After watching Darren Sproles almost singlehandedly bring Philadelphia back from a two touchdown deficit, it’s a stark reminder of just how impactful he’s been in San Diego and New Orleans. If the Eagles are going to fly above expectations, it’ll be on the tiny legs of Sproles.

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