Kirk Cousins struggled to complete just 19 of his 49 pass attempts for 169 yards and two interceptions as the Washington NFL team ended its season with an eight-game losing streak, capped off by a 20-6 loss to the New York Giants on Dec. 29 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Many Washington fans were eager to see Cousins play after head coach Mike Shanahan benched Robert Griffin III for the final three games of the season to protect Griffin from injury. Fans were hopeful that Cousins would play well enough to boost his trade value. Instead, Cousins struggled as Washington lost all three games.

Washington finished the season with a 3-13 record, their worst showing since the 1994 season.

ESPN reported Dec. 29 that Washington’s owner, Dan Snyder, plans to fire Shanahan soon. Shanahan told reporters after the game that he would meet with Snyder the next day to discuss his future plans, according to ESPN.

Rumors of Shanahan’s possible termination had been lingering for the past few weeks after ESPN reported that Shanahan didn’t approve of Snyder’s relationship with Griffin. Some have even suggested that Shanahan only benched Griffin to try to force Snyder to fire him.

Sources told The Washington Post that Griffin lost faith in the decision-making of Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, during the 2012 season when they called plays designed for him to run the ball despite his having a severe knee sprain at the time. Shanahan called fewer quarterback-run plays for Griffin this season, but called fewer rushing plays for his running backs as well–resulting in Griffin throwing the ball more and ultimately taking more hits in the pocket. He struggled in the role of pocket-passer, throwing 12 picks with 11 fumbles.

Season Total Stats

Despite his 23 turnovers, Griffin did manage to throw 16 touchdowns with 3,200 passing yards in 13 games.

Washington second-year running back Alfred Morris had a solid year with 1,275 rushing yards on 276 carries. But perhaps Morris should have gotten the ball more: last year he ran for a franchise-record 1,613 yards on 335 carries.

Veteran receiver Pierre Garcon had a career-best season with 113 catches for 1,346 receiving yards. His 113 catches broke Art Monk’s record for the most receptions by a Washington receiver in a single season.

Washington’s offense ranked among the top 10 in yards recorded and 22nd in points scored, but the defense ranked 31st in points allowed. Washington ranked 20th or worse in points allowed in all four seasons under Shanahan.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor