Quarterback Krik Cousins' 26 passing attempts on Sunday were the second fewest he has had in a game all season, but he made the most of his opportunities in the Redskins' 20-15 win.
His role was not as demanding as it normally is, but Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was efficient and effective in Sunday's 20-15 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
In his 46th consecutive regular season start, Cousins completed 18 of his 26 passes for 196 yards, two touchdowns and did not commit a turnover.
His touchdown passes were dished out to one familiar face and one new one. Cousins connected with wide receiver Jamison Crowder on his first passing attempt of the day and again found the end zone on a 36-yard catch-and-run by Kapri Bibbs, who was promoted to the active roster just five days prior to the game.
With the touchdown pass to Crowder on his first throw of the day, Cousins recorded his NFL-leading fifth touchdown pass on an opening drive this season, per ESPN Stats and Info.
The touchdown tosses to Crowder and Bibbs were particularly important considering the lack of chances that the Redskins saw in the first half. The offense ran 15 plays and held the ball for just 6:34 in the half, which marks the lowest time of possession by any team in a half this season. With such a small opportunity to score points, Cousins' ability to capitalize on good field position was essential in the Redskins taking a 14-9 lead into halftime.
Cousins essentially did what was expected of him on Sunday, but he stressed the importance of converting on third downs at a higher rate, after converting on just one against the Cardinals.
"I've been frustrated with third downs this year," Cousins said after the game. "We were a top-five team in the NFL the last two years on third downs, so that hasn't really been a major struggle for us and yet today: 1-for-9."
A key factor in converting on third downs is keeping the third down distances manageable. The Redskins were faced with third down and at least eight yards to go in four different scenarios on Sunday, which undoubtedly contributed to the low conversion rate.
Check out images from the Washington Redskins' offense in their 2017 Week 15 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals Dec. 17, 2017, at FedExField.
"We've got to stay in third-and-three, third-and-four. That's another stat you don't see that can be hidden is how many third downs are actually makeable and how many were unrealistic," Cousins said.
"If you guys have a play for third-and-23, I'd love for you to draw it up and mail it to Redskins Park because we don't have many," he joked.
Cousins and the Redskins offense might have been at its best during an 11-play, 88-yard drive that took 6:04 off the clock in the third quarter. The Michigan State product completed five of his seven passes on the drive for 74 yards before the possession halted inside the 10-yard line. The drive resulted in a field goal, but those three points were key in the Redskins pulling out the victory. Down by five with less than a minute on the clock, the Cardinals were well within field goal range when their final possession halted, but were forced to shoot for the end zone as a result of the deficit.
With the win over the Cardinals now in the rear-view mirror, Cousins and the Redskins offense now prepares for a showdown with the famously tough Denver Broncos pass defense, which still ranks second in the NFL in terms of passing yards allowed despite the team's 5-9 record.