Here's five takeaways from the Washington Redskins' Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs that took place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
1, Dealing win injuries and a one-sided battle in time of possession, the Redskins showed resiliency against the Chiefs.
Entering Monday night's game as the only remaining unbeaten in the NFL and playing in front of their own fans, the Chiefs were considered favorites to score a victory.
But in the opening frame, it was the Redskins who looked ready to seize a big victory. The offense's first drive was capped by a 44-yard touchdown connection between Kirk Cousins and Terrelle Pryor Sr. while the defense forced a three-and-out.
Washington would eventually climb out to a 10-0 lead before the Chiefs stormed back in the second half, as they got the best of a Redskins defense that was wounded. They also dominated time of possession, keeping the ball in their hands for more than 37 minutes.
"I feel like it's a hard fought game at a great stadium, great atmosphere, it was crazy man, we just got to make more plays so we win," said linebacker Mason Foster. "That's what it comes down to."
While the effort showed that Washington has the depth to compete with any team in the NFL, losing such a close battle is tough.
"I'm an ultimate competitor, but I feel like this game shows a lot about this team, that we got a pretty darn good football team," said cornerback Quinton Dunbar. "And it shows where we're at and it shows that if we keep battling, keep believing in each other, keep believing in the coaches and the gameplan, when we get back off this bye, it's going to be a special 12 weeks."
Despite falling in the closing seconds after the Chiefs nailed a field goal with eight seconds left, Pryor believes the Redskins proved they are fighters.
"We battled a team that's pretty darn good on paper," Pryor said. "When they came in here, they're 4-0 for a reason, obviously. We had a lot of opportunities. We led in the game a long time, then we came back and punched them after they hit us back in the mouth and we punched them back. We just needed to score a touchdown. A field goal doesn't win games. Touchdowns do. It's unfortunate that we couldn't get that first down late in the red zone and that was the last time we saw the ball, really."
2. Headlined by Josh Norman's rib injury, the defense had to go deep into their rotations against one of the league's most explosive offenses.
Norman did not play at all in the second half of Monday's 29-20 loss to the Chiefs, as the cornerback suffered a rib injury that could sideline him for some time.
But the former All-Pro wasn't the only defensive player that needed attention from the team's training staff, as Dubar, safeties Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett and even Foster missed some plays in a second half in which Kansas City controlled the ball a majority of the time.
For Norman, his loss was especially difficult on the defense as he was setting a tempo against Kansas City's offense. On one play prior to his exit, Norman laid a big hit on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
"I came in and got X-rays and saw one of my ribs had something done to it," Norman said. "I wanted to come back out, but the team specialist thought it was best if I stay out. I said I was, but it's a long season. We just want to be cautious."
With the defense wanting to be more physical this season, Foster admitted that sometimes players are going to get a little banged up. But the younger players provided a glimpse of their potential while instilling trust that they can match the starters' intensity on the field.
"When you've got guys on this defense playing as hard as they do, flying around, playing special teams, playing their heart out every single snap, you are going to see guys get hurt and nicked up," Foster said. "But that's why the other guys practice. I mean, everybody can play on this team, it's not like a big drop-off, everybody can play and that's how [defensive coordinator] [Greg] Manusky coaches it, so everybody's got to be ready and I think guys prepared throughout the week and they were ready when they came onto the field."
3. Kirk Cousins continued his string of solid performances in front of a national stage.
In Washington's season opening loss to Philadelphia, Cousins fumbled twice – including one that sealed the Redskins' fate – along with throwing an untimely fourth quarter interception in the red zone.
But in recent weeks, the Michigan State product has bounced back.
While Monday wasn't his most prolific game, Cousins played mistake-free football. He finished the night completing 14-of-24 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He also registered a passer rating of 116.7.
"I think in this league, the 16-week season is a grind and it's not for the faint of heart," Cousins said. "You've got to be physically, emotionally and mentally tough. Nobody feels sorry for you if you aren't. You just try to stay the course and be really tough-minded and whatever gets thrown at you, just take it in stride."
Cousins was also able to showcase his mobility, particularly on a late game-tying field goal drive. While the Chiefs were unable to sack the quarterback on the night, they did flush him out of the pocket a few times. Cousins, however, took advantage of some open running lanes as he carried the ball three different times for 33 yards.
"When team's play man coverage that's when you really have an opportunity to run because guys are chasing their man and they don't have eyes on you," Cousins said. "They did a good job of taking guys away and doubling some people and really all I had was to run and I think that's an area of my game that I can use more I think. It's there for the taking if I get through a progression and don't find anything and take off and run instead of throw it away."
Cousins also came close to throwing a game-winning touchdown on the drive, as he lofted a beautiful ball to wide receiver Josh Doctson, but the pair was unable to connect for a touchdown in consecutive weeks.
"We just didn't hit that third down play," Cousins said. "We'll go back and look at a couple of other plays throughout the game that could've made a big difference, but all-in-all we played well. I was pleased there were so few penalties on offense. We played pretty mistake-free. I think in a lot of ways, showed some maturity from that standpoint. Tough one to lose. It felt like we had a chance there and didn't get it done."
4, Vernon Davis continues to show that he has a lot left in the tanks.One of the reasons why the Redskins had just four offensive plays in the third quarter was due to a 69-yard reception by Davis.
After the Chiefs jumped out to their first lead of the game at 14-10 midway through the third quarter, Cousins found Davis open on the right side of the field. While the initial reception would have easily netted the Redskins a new set of downs, Davis continued to defy Father Time as the 33-year-old tight end weaved in and out of the Chiefs' defense for the nearly 70-plus-yard gain.
Not only was the reception Davis' longest since a 73-yard catch on Jan. 3, 2010, it moved him into the top 10 all-time in NFL history in receiving yards among tight ends.
Davis now has eight catches for 120 yards in the last three games.
"We call him el caballo because he's like a thoroughbred the way he runs down the field," Cousins said. "We always talk about his hamstrings and how they're like the hamstrings of a 19-year-old. Special player, but I keep going back to he's a great player, but he's a better person. He's not a guy who acts entitled. He's a guy who could at his age and experience level. He is just very humble, hungry and is just a fun guy to play football with."
5. The bye week comes at the perfect time.
With the Redskins battling injuries on both sides of the ball, the players will extra time to heal their wounds before returning to game action on Sunday, Oct. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers at FedExField in Landover, Md.
Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' 2017 Week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 2, 2017, at Arrowhead Stadium.
"[We] get a chance to rest, get some treatment and really ice up and get ready [to] make a big run," said Foster, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams. "So I think it's perfect timing, we know what we're capable of, so we got to get it corrected and focus on that and then come back and just let it get on a roll, try to tag them together, so it's coming at the perfect time."
Norman agreed with Foster, as the cornerback hopes to not miss any time with his rib injury.
"A lot of us are banged up right now," Norman said. "We're going to go back and lick our wounds, come back out here in a week and try to get a 'W.' We came out here for it, so it's just very disappointing that I wasn't able to be there with my teammates when they needed me the most. Like I said, I'm pretty upset right now. Human, mortal body, and you try to go out there and think you're more than that and sometimes it sits you down and realize, makes you see that we're still here on earth. When we're out there we try to be more than that."