Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) argues a call with referee Walt Anderson (66) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin
December 05, 2016

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Kirk Cousins' late mistake was costly for the Redskins.

Entering the game, Cousins threw nine touchdown passes with no interceptions and completed 69.5 percent of his passes in November.

He had not thrown an interception since Oct. 30 and had 1,300 yards. He'd thrown for at least 375 yards and two scores in three of his previous four games.

Then came Sunday in Arizona, where Cousins was in position to try and force overtime, but came up short.

He threw an interception with 41 seconds left in Washington's 31-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Cousins was 21 for 37 for 217 yards with a touchdown pass and interception.

He also fumbled in the third quarter, a play which led to a Cardinals touchdown.

''In hindsight I would have changed the protection, but I'd thrown the scout route versus the same coverage on the previous play (an incomplete pass) and didn't feel like that was going to give me a great chance,'' Cousins said of his late mistake.

''So I thought I'd drift to my choice route. ... I felt the rush and had to force it in earlier than I wanted to and the result was what it was.''

The result was his seventh interception of the season and rating of 77.7, his lowest since Week 1.

The fumble, only Cousins' second lost fumble of the season, was the result of a breakdown in protection and Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell forcing the turnover while making a sack.

''They made a good play,'' Cousins said. ''It's going to happen through the course of a game, going against a top defense in the NFL. They're not all going to go perfectly, you just hope that you make enough to come away with a win at the end and we weren't able to do that.''

Cousins also had to deal with the loss of starting center Spencer Long, who left the game in the second quarter with a concussion and shoulder injury and didn't return. John Sullivan took over.

''I just wish we had finished that one,'' Sullivan said of the last possession.

Cousins has made a lot of big plays this season. He just didn't make enough to beat the Cardinals on Sunday.

After a slow start and only 89 passing yards at halftime, he hit DeSean Jackson for 59 yards early in the third quarter, then finished that drive with a 1-yard TD plunge. He gave Washington a 20-17 lead near the end of the third quarter with a 26-yard pass to Jamison Crowder.

''Just some coverages that we were able to get some routes against them that we felt were good matchups,'' Cousins said. ''Guys had to make plays, they had to beat their man.''

Entering Thanksgiving Day, the Redskins were 6-3-1 and Cousins was a huge part of that success.

Now Washington is 6-5-1 after consecutive losses, and while the Redskins are still very much alive in the NFC playoff race, they are in the position of having to keep pace with other wild-card contenders.

''I don't know if it is my job to really put a grade on my performance,'' Cousins said. ''It's up and down.

''Each play has its own reason on why things happen. It's hard to give a blanket statement to summarize it. We feel offensively in all of our losses there were plays that can be made to make a different result on offense.''

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