Handing out labels following Skins games. Today, a 38-21 win at Cleveland.
The Redskins — Normally I don’t label THE ENTIRE FRANCHISE like this, but what a win: puts them atop the NFC East (after 3-6!), establishes Cousins as a top backup/prime tradebait, gives RGIII time to heal and on and on. At 8-6, they now have their best record at this point in seven years.
Kirk Cousins — The early going was rough, but once he hit Hankerson for that 54-yard rollout TD he was switched on: 323 yards passing, 70.3 percent completions, 8.9 yards per attempt, two touchdowns, three rushes for 22 yards and a 104.4 QB rating (RGIII’s is 104.2).
The Shanahans — First, for drafting Cousins to begin with. Second, for putting 38 points on the board in a road game with their backup QB under center. Again, the offense started slow (zero first downs the first four drives), but they scored four touchdowns in the second half to salt the game away.
Leonard Hankerson — That bobbling, stumbling TD was an adventure, but it worked, as did his second-half score.
London Fletcher — I have no idea how a guy could play every game for 15 NFL seasons without playing a game in Cleveland, but Fletcher did it, and in his first game in his hometown he recorded a well-timed INT. He bought 42 tickets for the game.
UPDATE: Fletcher’s fam got into an altercation afterward. Not cool, Cleveland.
Alfred Morris — Had no room to run sans RGIII. Still churned out 87 yards and two touchdowns/home runs.
Rob Jackson — Made a really nice interception and returned it down to the 15 to start the second half. Also picked up an impressive strip-sack.
Pierre Garcon — His numbers (six catches on 12 targets for 65 yards) weren’t impressive, but he was drawing fouls (called and otherwise) all game long. Also earned a big fumble recovery late in the game.
Logan Paulsen – Caught four passes on just five targets, including two big second-half first downs.
Josh Morgan — Four catches on four targets for 60 yards.
Lorenzo Alexander — Laid the wood a couple of times before leaving the game.
Barry Cofield — Got a sack, which means he got to do his sack dance.
Evan Royster — Late-game TD. Also had a 25-yard catch-and-run.
Kai Forbath — Another 44-yarder. Still perfect.
The refs — Look at what they did to Garcon alone: 1) Failed to call two blatant pass interference penalties, once on a deep ball and once in the end zone. 2) Didn’t reward him for what looked to be a fairly clear catch, despite reviewing it. 3) Penalized him for spinning the ball after a first down, which he’s been doing all year long.
Tyler Polumbus — Allowed a blow-by sack on a 3rd-and-6. Also was replaced by Jordan Black after suffering a concussion.
No. 30 — I understand someone named D.J. Johnson actually allowed the 69-yard fourth-quarter TD to Travis Benjamin, but I prefer to think of him as the skinny ghost of LaRon Christmas past.
Kory Lichtensteiger – Sweet false start on 4th-and-1.
Santana Moss — Caught five passes for 57 yards on just six targets, but also coughed up an awful fourth-quarter fumble.
Richard Crawford — Returned two punts for 18 yards. Is not Brandon Banks.
Ron Pitts and Mike Martz — Pitts brought nothing to the broadcast aside from the thin veneer of sounding like a pro play-by-play man, which was often cracked by him saying “Sean Kerrigan” or calling Cousins “Wheeden.” Martz is kind of an interesting character, though, as it almost seems like he’s never been on a broadcast before, yet he’ll drop interesting bits of football wisdom like so many crumbs in a beard.