Cousins' 4-TD day vs porous D leads 'Skins past Saints 47-14
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) It's probably not very often that Washington's Kirk Cousins gets mentioned in the same breath as a couple of the greatest QBs in NFL history.
This performance inspired just such a reference.
''He almost probably feels like he's Peyton Manning or Tom Brady,'' Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said about his teammate Cousins, ''the way these guys are just making plays for him left and right.''
In by far his best game as a pro, Cousins threw a career-high four touchdown passes - each one longer than any TD toss of his all season - and registered a perfect passer rating of 158.3 to lead the Redskins past the Saints 47-14 on Sunday.
The 33-point margin of victory was Washington's largest since beating San Francisco 52-17 in 2005.
''I'm getting better as a quarterback,'' said Cousins, who was 20 for 25 for 324 yards and zero interceptions. ''When you're in the zone and things are going really well, you're just playing and your mind is free and you're not allowing things to inhibit your play.''
Asked how Cousins should be viewed after this performance, Redskins coach Jay Gruden cracked himself up, replying: ''Maybe you should write a positive article on him, for once, you know?''
Gruden continued: ''Kirk's going to take his lumps, man, but he's going to keep grinding and you can see the results starting to pay off.''
Cousins connected for scores of 78 yards to running back Matt Jones, 16 and 8 yards to tight end Jordan Reed and 11 yards to receiver Jamison Crowder. In Washington's past four home games, Cousins has nine TD passes and no picks - and the team is 4-0.
Overall, the Redskins are 4-5, and in the thick of things in the so-so NFC East. The Saints are 4-6.
Here is what else to know about Sunday's game:
BAD ''D'': The Saints allowed Washington nearly 400 yards by halftime and 514 in all. The Saints' past three opponents have scored 130 points, the highest ever in three games against New Orleans in a single season, STATS said. ''We can't allow this to keep happening,'' safety Kenny Vaccaro said.
RUNNING REDSKINS: After gaining 51 yards on the ground over the previous four games combined, Washington's Alfred Morris ran for 92, despite leaving briefly with hurt ribs. ''We rose to the challenge,'' Morris said.
SAINTS GO FOR IT: One curious coaching decision by Saints boss Sean Payton came on the opening possession of the second half, when New Orleans was still only trailing by 13 points. On third-and-1 at Washington's 31, the Saints gave the ball to running back Tim Hightower - who because of injuries hadn't had an NFL carry since 2011 until Sunday - and he was stopped for no gain on the right side. Instead of trying a 49-yard field goal, Payton elected to go for it; on fourth-and-1, C.J. Spiller was stuffed for no gain on the right side. ''I'm not their coach, I'm not in their head, but that was kind of a shock for me, because there was still a whole (half) to play,'' said Redskins linebacker Perry Riley Jr., who grabbed one of Drew Brees' two fourth-quarter interceptions.
REDSKINS AVOID 3-6: In each of the past four seasons, Washington lost its ninth game to drop to 3-6. A defeat Sunday would have left the Redskins at - yep, you guessed it - 3-6. ''For about as long as I can remember,'' Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams said, ''we've been 3-6. ... It feels great to get over that hump.''
WHAT COMES NEXT: The Redskins will eye their first back-to-back wins since midway through last season when they travel to face Cam Newton and the 9-0 Carolina Panthers. The Saints, meanwhile, head into their bye week with plenty of questions about their direction, especially on defense. Asked about the possibility of personnel or coaching staff changes, Payton replied: ''We're not going to discuss any of those type of changes, certainly not right now.''
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