LANDOVER, Md. – The second-to-last preseason game is often a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. So far this preseason, “dress” hasn’t been an issue for many Redskins starters. It’s the “rehearsal” part.
“I feel like I’ve thrown a lot more than five passes because of how many reps I’m getting every day in practice,” said Washington starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has played just one drive in the preseason. “As a starting quarterback I’m getting a lot of reps, so much more than I would’ve as a backup quarterback.”
Cousins suited-up last week for the team’s second preseason game, but was a late scratch. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy started the game for the Redskins.
“I feel very ready and then more importantly is the fact that we have this entire week to get ready like a normal rhythm to a game week,” Cousins said about Friday’s game. “So those two things I think gets you about as prepared as you can.”
Cousins is expected to play most, if not all, of the first half Friday against Buffalo. But, head coach Jay Gruden says he doesn’t feel obligated to “follow the rules” of the third preseason game.
“There’s no reason if somebody’s a little beat up, gets a shoulder or what have you or maybe is a little sore, there’s no reason to push them in there for another quarter just because the rule says you have to play three quarters,” Gruden said. “I’d like to keep them in there, try to get them in a groove and in a rhythm, but all that can change on game day. I usually play that by feel.”
The ‘Skins are 1-and-1 this preseason after coming from behind to beat the Jets a week ago. Washington dropped its preseason opener at Atlanta.
Buffalo is quarterbacked by Tyrod Taylor, a Hampton native who starred at Virginia Tech. The Bills backup QB is Virginia Beach product E.J. Manuel.
UPDATE: Injuries are already plaguing the Redskins tonight. Starting linebacker Ryan Kerrigan left after one series with a groin injury. He won’t return to the game. Then, following his first carry of the night, rookie running back Keith Marshall left the game. He has a sprained left elbow and won’t return to the game. This means running backs Matt Jones, Chris Thompson and now Marshall are all unavailable.
Tackle Morgan Moses, a UVa product, is also out for the game. He has an injured ankle.
After Buffalo took a 6-0 lead on a pair of Dan Carpenter field goals, the Redskins took a 7-6 lead when Kirk Cousins hooked-up with Ryan Grant for a 38 yard touchdown catch and run in the second quarter.
In his first action of the preseason, Jordan Reed catches a 20 yard touchdown from Cousins with 1:59 left in the second quarter. PAT from Dustin Hopkins gives the Redskins a 14-6 lead.
With 31 seconds to play in the half, Cousins and Pierre Garcon connect on a perfect corner fade from nine yards out. Redskins lead the Bills, 21-6.
With two seconds left in the second quarter, Dan Carpenter adds his third field goal of the half, a 52 yarder, to pull the Bills to within 21-9 at the half.
With Kirk Cousins out of the game, the Redskins offense went cold in the second half. Jonathan Williams’ 37 yard TD run in the third quarter cuts the Washington lead to 21-16 – as the Skins have yet to score since coming out of the halftime locker room.
The Skins defense survived a Bills barrage, led by E.J. Manuel, inside the red zone with less than 30 seconds to play in the fourth quarter – capped-off by a Kendall Fuller interception on Buffalo’s final play. Despite not scoring in the second half, Washington improves to 2-and-1 in the preseason with a 21-16 victory.
Taylor played less than one quarter before he was replaced by Manuel. The former Hampton High star completed two of five passes, for 11 yards and was sacked once.