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Spartans in the NFL (Week 14)

Dec 11, 2012 SSN Staff | View Comments

All season long Spartan fans had been waiting for Kirk Cousins turn to shine for a single Sunday afternoon. Cousins did get some run in week 4 against Atlanta throwing for more than 100 yards in defeat, but his performance last Sunday will last in his memory for quite some time.

With the Washington Redskins trailing Baltimore by eight points late in the fourth quarter, Kirk was called upon after Robert Griffin III left the game with a knee injury.

On 2nd-and-20 Cousins first hit Leonard Hankerson on a 15-yard pass completion, then, on 3rd-and-5 scrambled to find Pierre Garcon in the end zone for an 11-yard strike to pull the 'Skins to within two points with :29 seconds remaining.

Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan then called Kirk's number again on a quarterback draw, diving into the endzone to tie the game.

After a huge punt return in overtime, Cousins simply handed the ball off a pair of times before Coach Shanahan sent kicker Kai Forbath into the game to win it with a 34-yard field goal.

Kirk Cousins Quick Links

-Video of Kirk Cousins TD pass and 2-point conversion (WATCH)

-Video interview of Kirk with CSN Washington (WATCH)

-Game story from the Washington Times (READ)

-The Redskins are confident in Kirk Cousins if he starts against Cleveland (READ)

-One writer thinks Cousins' performance proves that he will be a starter in the NFL (READ)

SI's PETER KING RAVES ABOUT COUSINS

"The forgotten rookie quarterback.

On draft weekend, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins thought there were a lot of teams that might pick him. Washington wasn't one of them, not after taking Robert Griffin III in the first round. But the Redskins took him at pick 102. "I was scratching my head too,'' Cousins said Sunday evening, "I think like a lot of people were."

But Cousins settled into a support role for Griffin, and they became good friends. Cousins, a team source told me, has been an excellent guy for Griffin to bounce ideas and frustrations off of. "A football career is a marathon, not a sprint,'' said Cousins. "And I realize how good it is for my career that I'm in a place where the game is taught so well. If I ever want to coach someday, now I know all about the zone-read scheme, and that's something that may grow in the game as the years go on.''

So Cousins was on the sideline -- "with my overcoat on for about three hours'' -- when Griffin hurt his knee against the Ravens. Washington trailed 28-20, and Cousins got to throw five or six passes in haste on the sideline, trying to get the blood flowing a little on a raw day at Fedex Field. He hustled onto the field on 3rd-and-6 from the Washington 40 with 1:42 to go; his crossing-pattern pass to Pierre Garcon was on target, but Garcon got mugged by backup cornerback Chris Johnson, and interference was called. Now Griffin came back for four snaps before the knee was just too painful to move, and back came Cousins. Second-and-20, Baltimore 26. Cousins found Leonard Hankerson open for 15. Now 36 seconds left. Timeout. Third-and-5. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan called a play with Cousins, in the pocket, instructed to take his time, survey his options, and pick the most open one.

"I didn't like the look I got right away,'' Cousins said. "Something inside me said to take off and try to make a play. That's what you do sometimes as a quarterback. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.''

But how many sometimes come when you're cold off the bench, with your team's playoff life at stake?

Not many sometimes.

"It happened so fast,'' Cousins said. "I definitely didn't want to take a sack. We weren't playing The Little Sisters of the Poor out there. I was out of the pocket, and I just channeled my inner RGIII, and Pierre got open in the corner of the end zone.''

Cousins threw a perfect ball, over one corner and just before the safety came in to hit Garcon. Touchdown.

Now it was 28-26. Two-point conversion. The call was quarterback draw all the way. Cousins saw a hole and made it past the goal line before Ed Reed could blast him. Tie game. Washington got a long punt return and won on Kai Forbath's field goal in overtime.

"One of the things I've learned about being a quarterback,'' said Cousins, and for a minute, he sounded like a Penn professor of Football 101 with a tweed coat on, "is that it's a balance between being a robot and being an artist. On the touchdown to Garcon, that's being an artist; you don't really know how it's going to look, but you've just got to get out of the pocket and create something. On the two-point conversion, you're a robot. You take the play and do what's called, because you know if it's blocked the right way and set up the right way, it'll work -- the quarterback just executes it."

Cousins did his first NFL spike in the end zone after the robot play. When he got to the sideline, Griffin hugged him and said, "Thank you." A region of fans said the same thing."

You can read the rest of Peter King's story right here (READ)

TOP SPARTAN PERFORMERS

Plaxico Burress WR (PIT) - Plax finally got into the mix on Sunday with 1 reception for 18 yards, in Pittsburgh's 34-24 loss to San Diego.
Season Totals: 1 reception, 18 yards

Kirk Cousins QB (WSH) - After RGIII left the game with a knee injury, Cousins led Washington's comeback charge, completing both of his pass attempts - one for an 11 yard touchdown with 29 seconds left. He also ran for a successful 2-point conversion.
Season Totals: 7-for-11, 137, 2 TD, 2 INT

Kellen Davis TE (CHI) - 3 receptions for 25 yards in Chicago's 21-14 loss at Minnesota.
Season Totals: 17 catches, 210 yards, 2 TD.

Brandon Fields P (MIA)
- 3 punts, 47.3 yard average, including one inside the 20, in Miami's 27-13 loss to San Francisco
Season Totals: 59 punts, 50.0 avg., 21 inside 20, 3 tackles

Brian Hoyer QB (ARI)
- After being waived by Pittsburgh, he was then picked up by Arizona. I highly doubt he'll play this week against Detroit, but could be auditioned for next season in the final two weeks of the regular season.
Season Totals: Has not played.

Keshawn Martin WR (HOU) - Caught 1 pass for -4 yards and in Houston's 42-14 loss at New England on Monday night. He also returned 2 kicks for 39 yards (long of 27 yards) and returned 2 punts for 1 yard.
Season Totals: 10 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD. 4 carries, 42 yards. 17 punt returns, 216 yards. 23 kickoff returns, 546 yards.

Domata Peko DT (CIN) - Recorded 2 tackles in Cincinnati's 20-19 loss to Dallas.
Season Totals: 42 tackles, including 2.0 sack.

Kevin Vickerson DT (DEN) - Did not make a tackle in Denver's 26-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
Season Totals: 35 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Jerel Worthy DT (GB) - Did not record a tackle in Green Bay's 27-20 victory against the Detroit Lions.
Season Totals: 10 tackles, including 2 sacks.


OTHER SPARTANS IN THE NFL


Garrett Celek TE (SF) - Did not make a reception, but saw the field on special teams in San Fran's 27-13 victory over Miami.
Season Totals: 2 receptions - 10 yards

Kyle Cook C (CIN) - Returned from the IR for the first time this season to play in Cincinnati's 20-19 loss to Dallas. Cook injured an ankle in the final game of the preseason and had been out ever since following surgery. He had previously started 75 consecutive games at center prior to injuring his ankle.

Greg Jones LB (Jac) - Recorded one tackle in Jacksonville's 17-10 defeat to the New York Jets.
Season Totals: 3 tackles

Brandon McKinney DT (IND) - Will miss the season with ACL tear

Javon Ringer RB (TEN) - Injured Reserve.
Season Totals: 2 rushes, 14 yards. 3 receptions, 12 yards.

Trenton Robinson FS (SF) - DNP in San Francisco's 27-13 victory over Miami.

Eric Smith S (NYJ) - 1 tackle in the Jets' 17-10 victory over Jacksonville.
Season Totals: 11 total tackles, 1 INT.

Drew Stanton QB (IND) - DNP, in Indy's 27-23 win over Tennessee.


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