It was the tale of two halves for starting quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins; one ending in optimism and the other ending in frustration.
In the opening 30 minutes, Cousins threw for 248 yards, the most in a first half by a Redskins quarterback since Mark Rypien threw for 259 yards in the first two quarters vs. Atlanta on Nov. 10, 1991.
By the end of the day, he completed 29-of-45 passes for 381 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs. But he also threw two interceptions and added a costly fumble.
"I didn't do enough to win," he said flatly after the game. "Two interceptions that were on me, a fumble that you don't want to have, the two-point conversion the failed attempt there; I felt like that was on me.
"Those are four plays right there where if they go differently, it's probably a much better result. I felt like we had them on the ropes and I, we just didn't do enough to execute but it starts right here with me."
A game with myriad mistakes on both sides ultimately boiled down to a do-or-die two-point conversion that would forgo the tie in favor of a win in regulation.
Taking the snap and rolling to his right, he found a wall of defenders blanketing his receivers in the end zone.
Running out of time and space on the sidelines, he fired the ball to Pierre Garçon, but the pass sailed high and incomplete.
"My initial reaction is that I had both Josh Morgan open on the off-schedule play and if I had set my feet I may have been able to drill it into Pierre," Cousins lamented after the game. "That's a play where I clearly didn't have a good enough feel for and I need to go back and get better at it.
"I would like to think that I had a chance there. When I go back and watch the film we'll see."
Cousins has been in a number of high pressure situations already in his career, most similarly entering the Week 14, 2012 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens and leading them on a touchdown drive and two-point conversion to tie the game at the end of regulation.
While games like that provide valuable experience, Cousins noted that he doesn't necessarily have the experience necessary in his second career start to win every play.
"I'm in my second year, this is my second career start and hopefully I can make it to year six, seven, eight," he said. "But come talk to me then and I think it would have been a better result today had I been that experienced.
"It's a tough one to swallow right now and we will learn from it and get better. I thought it was a very well called game by [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] and by [head coach] Mike [Shanahan]. I love the call to go for two at the end."
With 373 passing yards, Cousins became the first Redskins quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw for 300 yards in each of his first two career starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
That, however, was little comfort after losing a game within reach.
"Numbers at the end of the day don't really mean a whole lot to me," he said, likening it to his success at Michigan State. "It's about winning. But I felt like I was given a chance today to have success.
"I don't believe we gave up a sack today. I believe Kyle [Shanahan] called an outstanding game and continued to give me a chance to have success.
"There were just a couple of times, two, three, four plays in the whole game where I made a mistake and it cost us."
Cousins will start the final two games of the season, alleviating Robert Griffin III the risk of further injury heading into offseason training.
Griffin III, a captain on the team, was active in warming Cousins up today and was a participant in the pregame coin toss at midfield.
Throughout the game, both he and veteran Rex Grossman could be seen on the sidelines talking to Cousins in between series. He was asked about their contributions after the game.
"This was my second start so I'm going to take all of the help I can get," he said. "I've said it to Rex [Grossman] from day one…he said to me on the way into the game, 'Do you want to be left alone [or] do you want me to be in your ear?'
"I said 'I'll take anything you can give me,' and the same for Robert [Griffin III] and obviously for Kyle [Shanahan]. Anytime I'm on the sideline, I want to gain as much from them as I can.
"Robert and Rex, specifically Robert, have been there before in this offense quite a bit. I want to learn from them and gain what I can."