Despite a slow start, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns in the second quarter to propel Washington’s NFL team to a 21-16 win over the Buffalo Bills at FedEx Field on Aug. 26.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. upper right, throws under pressure from Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (94) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Though the matchup against Buffalo was the third preseason game, it was only the second game for Cousins and his top receivers, Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. It was tight end Jordan Reed’s first game of the preseason.
In the first quarter, Washington’s first team offense looked sloppy against a Buffalo defense that rested five starters. Cousins’ poor decision-making was highlighted by an interception on a pass intended for receiver Rashad Ross, while receiver Ryan Grant was wide open.
Washington Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller (38) intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Walt Powell (19), in the end zone as time expires in the second half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Landover, Md. Redskins’ Geno Matias-Smith, left, moves in. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
After the interception, cornerback Josh Norman proved his value, breaking up Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s pass intended for Robert Woods in the end zone. The move forced Buffalo to settle for a 28-yard field goal. Despite an impressive showing by Washington’s defense, offensive errors kept Washington down, 3-0, heading into the second quarter.
The offense finally found its rhythm in the second quarter, starting with a 39-yard catch-and-run by Jackson, who evaded three Buffalo tacklers. Three plays later, Cousins threw to Grant, who was able to shake his opponent with a spin move and sprint into the end zone to give Washington a 7-6 lead.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) catches a touchdown pass in front of Buffalo Bills cornerback Kevon Seymour (45) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
With two minutes left in the half, Cousins connected with a wide open Reed for a 20-yard touchdown. Washington wrapped up its impressive comeback quarter with one more touchdown, this time a 9-yard catch by Garcon.
Washington bounced back from a sloppy start to lead Buffalo, 21-9, at halftime. Cousins and his receivers were able to vibe, which is important, considering most starters will not play in the final preseason game. It’s still mildly concerning that Buffalo’s second-team defense was able to slow Washington down.
Buffalo running back Jonathan Williams scored a 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter, bringing the final score to 21-16.
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan left the game after one series with a groin injury, while rookie running back Keith Marshall suffered a sprained left elbow. Kerrigan and Marshall will undergo MRIs on Aug. 27.
Washington will travel to Tampa Bay for its preseason finale on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m.