Leaving the field victorious after the best game of his career, quarterback Kirk Cousins stopped to give the game ball to his father, Don, currently battling with cancer.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins was removed several minutes before the end of the Redskins' 47-14 victory over the Saints, but that didn't mean he was giving up the game ball. No, after a record-setting performance in front of the home crowd, this souvenir was going to someone special.
And so it did, once Cousins gave out his requisite handshakes at midfield. He trotted over to the stands, all smiles, partly thanks to that perfect passer rating he had just posted, to give the game ball to his father, Don.
It was the most emotional handoff of the day.
Don was recently diagnosed with cancer, specifically metastic squamous cell carcinoma (as reported by the Orlando Sentinel), news that came around the start of training camp.
Sunday marked the first time all season that Don had been able to attend a Redskins game to see his son play, thanks largely to his treatment sessions and general weakness. Saturday, he flew into Washington, and then watched Kirk throw four touchdowns to topple the Saints.
"To have him back was exciting and to have a game like that was a lot of fun, gave him the game ball," Cousins told Comcast SportsNet. "He just said, 'Thank you. Thanks for a great day,' put a smile on his face and it was special for our family and we'll enjoy it tonight."
Kirk and Don, an Orlando-based pastor that turned 58 this year, embraced a couple times during the ball exchange. "Thank you. Thanks, bud," Don said, before rubbing Kirk on the head as he went into the tunnel.
"[Difficult times] have a way of making you better or making you bitter," Don told the Sentinel back in September, "and you have a choice to make."
Through all the ups and downs in Cousins' short career with the Redskins, Kirk knows about that choice, too. After his banner day, it was impossible for anyone not to feel better.
"I've been fortunate enough to be part of games like that before," Cousins said after the game, "but it feels very gratifying."