Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson (18) in the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brand
Alex Brandon
September 18, 2016

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) As Kirk Cousins goes, so go the Washington Redskins. That's the way it was on the way to an NFC East title last season - and that's the way it's been on the way to an 0-2 start this season.

Things did not start auspiciously for Cousins and the Redskins during a scoreless first quarter of what would become a 27-23 loss to the division rival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. And things didn't finish particularly well, either, including two second-half red-zone trips that ended with field goals and, even worse, a first-and-goal at the 6 that ended with an end-zone interception .

''Hopefully, him, as a quarterback, he'll figure it out and get us rolling as an offense. I think he's been doing a good job, just a couple of unfortunate plays out there,'' wideout DeSean Jackson said. ''Sometimes things go wrong.''

As for the red-zone issues, Jackson summed it up this way: ''We're just sticking ourselves in the foot with a knife.''

On third-and-7 from Dallas' 37 on Washington's opening possession, Cousins had Jamison Crowder wide open and behind the defense for what should have been an easy-as-can-be TD. But he overthrew the second-year receiver, and that bad miss ended the drive, because coach Jay Gruden chose to punt.

Cousins chalked that one up to passing the ball ''at a slightly different angle'' than Crowder took.

Then, in the second quarter, he had another ugly overthrow, going way too deep for even the speedy Jackson, who also had no defender near him.

''Just misjudged it,'' Cousins said.

Last season, his first chance to start 16 games after sitting behind Robert Griffin III for three years, Cousins set an NFL record for completion percentage at home, set a team record with 4,166 yards passing and cut down on his propensity for picks, totaling 29 TDs and 11 interceptions.

Washington decided to use the franchise tag worth nearly $20 million on him this season rather than agreeing to a long-term deal, and as Cousins attempts to prove his worth again, he has one touchdown and three interceptions in a pair of losses.

''To just dwell on frustration or dwell on `woulda, coulda, shoulda' isn't going to get us anywhere,'' said Cousins, who was 28 of 46 for 364 yards and a passer rating of 84. ''That wouldn't be mentally tough team.''

Gruden opted to offer a defense of Cousins.

''It's a tough game. He's got people around his feet . He's got to make some tough throws - usually ones he would normally hit, but he missed a few today,'' the third-year coach said. ''We'll coach him up. Can't put it all on Kirk. There's a lot of other issues that we have today, that's for sure.''

Now Washington faces the daunting task of going on the road to play at the New York Giants (2-0) next week, in danger of dropping to last place in the division and three full games out of first place.

If the Redskins' fans are panicking, the players tried to put on a happy face after losing to a Cowboys squad that has rookies starting at quarterback (Dak Prescott) and running back (Ezekiel Elliott).

''We're going to be all right. It's early. Everybody thinks we're in the morgue or something. We're not dead, by no means,'' cornerback Josh Norman said. ''Look, we've still got 14 more games left.''



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