Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 12-of-14 passes for 154 yards and ran for a touchdown Thursday evening in Washington's 2015 preseason opener against the Browns.*
The 2014 season for Kirk Cousins was filled with highs and lows.
But ultimately, an abundance of fourth-quarter turnovers led head coach Jay Gruden to find another option under center for the Redskins halfway through the season.
Determined to show progression as a quarterback in his fourth NFL season in 2015, Cousins went to work this offseason. With the aid of a new team quarterbacks coach in Matt Cavanaugh, Cousins labored to improve upon his fundamentals so that when he stepped on the field again, the result would be different.
So far, so good for Cousins.
In his first game action of the 2015 preseason, the Michigan State product completed 12-of-14 passes for 154 yards and ran for a touchdown in the Redskins' 20-17 victory against the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
"I thought it was a good night," Cousins said. "We scored, moved the football, spread the football around, a lot of guys made plays, ran the ball well, passed the ball around, avoided negative plays. So, very happy with it."
Cousins, who was listed as the team's No. 2 quarterback on its first unofficial depth chart, operated like a surgeon Thursday evening. Playing in front of several family members and friends, Cousins entered the game in the second quarter with his team trailing 14-3 and completed his first nine passes, and by halftime, he had helped cut the Cleveland lead to 1, at 14-13.
On his first drive, he completed four passes for 73 yards, the last of which was good for 15 yards to Andre Roberts to get to the Cleveland 4-yard line.
On 1st and Goal, Cousins surprised everyone on the Browns' defense when he faked the handoff to rookie running back Matt Jones to the right and took off to his left, going untouched into the end zone for the touchdown.
Cousins said the credit on the play goes to Jones, who turned in a major decoy in that instance but can be a major weapon for the Redskins.
"I told him before that drive started that just about every person on this team and organization is excited to see what you can do, so don't disappoint," Cousins said. "And he really didn't. He did a great job."
On his second drive, Cousins was able to overcome a huge eight-yard loss on a sack and a seven-yard loss on a pass to Chris Thompson to get the offense in field goal range. Kai Forbath's 52-yarder was good, and it brought Washington within one at 14-13 heading into halftime.
Then, on his third and final drive, Cousins found another groove, mixing in passes and effective runs to get to the 1-yard line. On 3rd and Goal from the 1, Cousins handed off to rookie running back Trey Williams, who bowled his way into the end zone. After the extra point, the Cousins-led Redskins took a 20-17 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Overall, Cousins said he was ecstatic about the performance by the second-unit Washington offense Thursday evening.
"Felt good from the start, felt good in the middle, felt good at the end," Cousins said. "Just a good night, a good night. It's fun to get out there and compete, and be able to work that efficiently. And not all the time in the NFL do you go out there, play at that level -- it felt good to do that."