NFL Week 15 Wrap: Gotta like Kirk

LANDOVER, Md. — It was a scene we’re not accustomed to in Washington anymore. On Sunday, the Redskins dominated an opponent in a meaningful December game at FedEx Field. The ‘Skins shot out to a 21-0 lead, the quarterback scored a total of five touchdowns, and the crowd was worked into a frenzy and chanting the quarterback’s famous catchphrase all the way to the end of a 35-25 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

On the same day we heard reports that former franchise savior RGIII is done in DC, Cousins put together another brilliant performance and made a lot of team history in the process. His efficient 319 yard, 4 TD was his franchise-record sixth 300-yard passing game this season, and his 14th straight game with a TD pass. The last Redskins QB to do that? Sonny Jurgenson in 1967.

Cousins has also completed a Redskins-record 336 passes (and counting). His near-perfect 153.7 QB rating on Sunday was his fourth straight game with a triple-digit rating and his sixth such game in his last eight. The only two sub-100 rating games came in Carolina and New England — road games against teams that were both undefeated at the time.

The truth of the matter is, Cousins is one of the hottest QBs in the league right now. In his last eight games, he’s completed 185 of 254 passes (72.8 percent) for 2,205 yards, tossing 16 TDs to only 3 INTs. And that’s with an almost nonexistent run game; his five rushing TDs are more than leading rushers Alfred Morris (1) and Matt Jones (3) combined.

Up against the rest of the league, his numbers still stand out. Kirk’s 69.7 completion percentage is the league’s best among regular starters. Both his QB rating (97.2) and passing yards (3,625) rank eighth among regular starters. We can no longer say he’s an interception machine; this year he’s thrown twice as many TDs (22) as picks (11).

Perhaps the most mind-boggling stat of all is how ridiculously great he’s been when playing in Landover: Kirk’s 74.7 completion percentage at home is the highest in NFL history, and his 117 QB rating at FedEx Field is the league’s best. It’s a huge reason why the ‘Skins 6-2 home record is their best since 2005 and has them just a win in Philly away from clinching the NFC East for the second time in four years.

You like that.

Even if you don’t, the team certainly does. The front office is sold on Cousins and preliminary contract talks have begun. So the question is no longer whether the Redskins should resign him, but rather how much they’re willing to spend. Each brilliant performance in a big game drives up his price tag, so a deep playoff run could actually force the Burgundy and Gold to pay him more like Matt Ryan ($20 million per year on average) than Andy Dalton ($16 million).

To quote the often eloquent Deion Sanders (eye roll), “Pay the man!” We all know the Redskins have spent way more money for way less (I still have Albert Haynesworth nightmares), and Cousins deserves to get paid. He’s been clutch (ask Philly and Tampa), he’s been durable (which RGIII taught us matters a lot), and he’s steadily improving. Both his play and his leadership have served as the glue that’s held together the Redskins’ playoff hopes despite some organizational growing pains and a wicked rash of injuries.

Most impressively, Cousins has put together one of the all-time great statistical seasons in Redskins history on the fly. Remember: he was named the starter only about a week before the season. There’s no telling how much better his 2015 could have been if he had the benefit of a full offseason and training camp with the first team.

In the big picture, the Redskins appear to be on the brink of something special — no matter what happens in Philly on Saturday. Even the most optimistic ‘Skins fans had this team winning only six games this season and they’ve surpassed that with two games to go. I’ve already extolled the virtues of winning while rebuilding and Cousins has quickly and unexpectedly become the centerpiece of that movement. He’s thrived with playmakers DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed healthy, and rookies Jones and Jamison Crowder have contributed immediately. If this offense is going to boldly go where no man has gone before (or at least since 1991), Captain Kirk needs to remain on the bridge.

Cousins would like that. The team would like that. Lord knows Mike Shanahan likes it so much he can’t shut up about it. We all like it so it’s time to put a ring on it.

And time to catch up on the Week 15 NFL Recap.

Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is WTOP's Senior Sports Content Producer, which includes duties as producer and host of the DC Sports Huddle, nightside sports anchor and sports columnist on

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