Pablo Martinez Monsivais
October 20, 2014
Tennessee Titans quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (12) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)
Richard Lipski

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Kirk Cousins comes in for Robert Griffin III and completes his first 12 passes to lead the Washington Redskins to victory over a humdrum team. Five weeks later, Colt McCoy comes in for Cousins and completes his first six passes to lead the Redskins to victory over yet another humdrum team.

The hot-relief-pitcher approach has been the only thing to work for the Redskins this season. It's how they got their only two wins, including Sunday's 19-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans that snapped a four-game skid.

''We needed it,'' Washington tight end Niles Paul said. ''I know everybody in this locker room is sick of losing.''

It's hardly the scenario preferred by first-year coach Jay Gruden, whose muddled quarterback situation is muddled even further. He has a starter - Griffin - who isn't expected back for at least a couple of weeks because of the dislocated ankle from Week 2, and a backup - Cousins - who got benched at halftime Sunday after committing turnovers No. 10 and 11 on the season.

Gruden, therefore, indicated strongly that his third-stringer McCoy will start next week against the Dallas Cowboys. It would be McCoy's first start since December 2011 with the Cleveland Browns.

''It's a good sign,'' Gruden said, ''the way that Colt finished the game.''

Here are some highlights and lowlights - there were plenty of the latter - from a result that left both teams at 2-5:

McCOY REVIVED: McCoy's first throw was a 70-yard catch-and-run to Pierre Garcon. It was McCoy's first NFL pass in nearly a year and his first touchdown pass since December 2012 with the Browns. Go back even farther and you'll find the last time McCoy played a significant role in a victory: Nov. 20, 2011, when he was the Browns' regular starter.

McCoy also had a classic fourth-quarter, game-winning drive, starting at Washington's 20 with 3:14 remaining and moving his team into chip-shot position for a 22-yard field goal as time expired.

''It's been two years, and I don't want to get emotional,'' McCoy said. ''But I'm just thankful that I've hung in there and kept fighting.''

FOUR FOR FORBATH: The winning points were supplied by Kai Forbath, who went 4 for 4 and is 11 for 12 on the season in field goal attempts. The Titans tried to freeze Forbath with a timeout, a maneuver that doesn't faze him a bit.

''I love that,'' he said. ''I mean, it's a practice kick for me. I kick it no matter what. I know they're going to call a timeout usually, so why not take a practice?''

GAFFES A-PLENTY: There's a reason these teams are 2-5, and it was evident all game long.

The Titans called timeout three times in the first quarter. The Redskins were offside while defending a punt, giving up a first down. The Titans, not to be outdone, went offside on a kickoff.

Washington had two sacks wiped out by illegal contact downfield and had a scoring drive of minus-3 yards. One play after Charlie Whitehurst threw an interception, Cousins did the same. The Titans got 32 yards out of the exchange - more than they gained on any offensive play in the first half - and it led to the game's first touchdown.

Dexter McCluster made an unwise decision to field a line-drive punt and fumbled it away, giving the Redskins excellent field position that resulted in a field goal. The teams combined for 18 penalties for 146 yards.

''I don't know how many times today we were in first-and-20,'' Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ''Those are hard to overcome.''

WHITEHURST & LOCKER: McCoy bettered the output of another backup, Whitehurst, who subbed again for Jake Locker (bruised right thumb).

Whitehurst completed 17 of 26 passes for 160 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He hit Derek Hagan for a 38-yard scoring pass with 7:41 to play to give Tennessee a 17-16 lead that ultimately didn't last.

Whisenhunt said he expects Locker, who has missed two straight games, to return next week.

''But until we get out and practice, I don't know that for sure,'' the coach said.

ANOTHER SHOULDER ACHE FOR ORAKPO: Three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo injured his right pectoral muscle and was scheduled for an MRI on Monday. Orakpo was hurt trying to make a tackle on a running play in the fourth quarter and didn't return.

Orakpo has twice torn the pectoral muscle near his left shoulder.

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