Kirk Cousins silenced critics on Sunday in the Redskins' win over the Buccaneers, throwing three touchdown passes, the last of which was for the victory.
There's the old saying of pressure creates diamonds, and in one of the most difficult situations to be in during a game, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins turned in quite a gem.
It wasn't the best of starts for the Redskins on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they trailed 24-0 midway through the second quarter.
The offense looked flat and the defense struggled to contain Doug Martin upon first contact. Mike Evans also looked like he'd have a repeat performance from a season ago when he recorded more than 200 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie.
But starting with a Kirk Cousins rushing touchdown in the second quarter and ending with a touchdown strike to Jordan Reed with less than 30 seconds left, the Redskins stormed back to win 31-30 at FedExField.
"He's a quarterback and there's going to be pressure on him every week," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "And how he responds to that is what is going to make him. He's going to have his ups and downs as a professional quarterback in the National Football League, everyone does. And you have to fight through that, and you have to stay the course, stay patient, go through your reads - your progressions, keep your head up and he's done that. I'm very happy for Kirk, I'm very happy for the entire offense."
Cousins received a lot of criticism leading up to the game, as he struggled mightily during the second half of the Redskins' loss to the Jets, being off target on many of his throws including two interceptions.
It was a different story against the Buccaneers, though, as he went 33-for-40 for 317 yards and four total touchdowns to no interceptions.
He also got better and better as the game wore on.
After the Redskins limited the Buccaneers to a field goal with 2:24 left, they got the ball on their own 20-yard line to start the next drive down 30-24.
Cousins would start the drive 8-for-8, hitting five different receivers for 74 yards.
After getting his team to a goal-to-go situation and missing on passes to Reed and Andre Roberts, Cousins didn't miss on 3rd-and-goal, hitting the tight end for a score.
"We had four to one side, and Jordan on the other," Cousins said. "They played man coverage from what it looked like to me. Jordan did a great job winning his one-on-one match up and we scored. That was it. Great job by him, great play call, and great execution all the way around."
Trent Williams said the huddle was calm throughout the drive, led by a confidence they could complete the job.
"He thread the needle, he stood in that pocket," Williams said. "You know, they were seeing it all, they were running a lot of stunts. A lot of games, he stood in that pocket and he delivered and a lot of those wins fall squarely on Kirk. We wouldn't be there without him."
There was very little doubt that Cousins wouldn't be able to make the game-winning touchdown throw. He did the same thing three weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"It's so awesome to see how he took us down there," linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. "He's awesome. Honestly I never had any doubt in him. I know it's easy to say because we won and he got the game-winning touchdown pass. It was a thing of beauty to watch."
As the Redskins (3-4) approach their Bye Week, a time to rest up and recovery from the first seven weeks of the season, a win like could mean a lot upon their return next week.
"You don't want to sit on a loss in a Bye Week, that's always tough," Cousins said. "It was a step in the right direction. We're going to need a lot more than three wins this year, but it was a good step and we just have to keep learning and keep growing. There were certainly a number of plays that we want to learn from and improve upon. We just have to keep playing, but certainly feel good about this win."