Robert Griffin III, Falcons game teach Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins said an interception against Atlanta taught him lessons that helped him against Baltimore. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Kirk Cousins was glad to get some in-game experience back in Week 5 when he had to relieve a concussed Robert Griffin III against the Atlanta Falcons. But he didn’t want a repeat of that cameo.

He threw a touchdown pass to Santana Moss, but Cousins also threw two interceptions.

Cousins came away from that game expecting to learn a great deal, and when called upon a second time this past Sunday, the rookie could tell that he had.

On his touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, Cousins found himself in a similar situation to his second interception against Atlanta.

The Redskins were further upfield but also needed a touchdown to tie the game as just more than a minute remained. Cousins took the snap out of the shotgun, scanned the field and pump-faked from the pocket, and then got hit just as he attempted a pass to Moss. The throw was intercepted, and Washington’s chances of tying or winning the game ended.

On Sunday, Cousins again found himself in need of a scoring drive. With his team at the Baltimore 11-yard line, Cousins took the snap out of the shotgun, and again pump-faked, and sensing pressure from his left, pulled the ball down, moved out of the pocket and to his right, where he found Garcon wide open in the end zone.

“I said at the Atlanta game that as much as I hate the result, I would learn from it. I think results this past Sunday prove that,” Cousins said on Wednesday. “I think part of the reason I left the pocket on the touchdown pass was the mistake I made against the Falcons in the second interception. Whether it’s a rep in practice or a rep in a game – it doesn’t really matter the setting – you’re going to learn from it. If you’re out there doing it and making a mistake, you’re going to try to prevent it in the future. To answer your question, my time in against the Falcons was invaluable. I said it was at that point, and I think looking back now it still remains true.”

Cousins could play on Sunday if Griffin’s sprained right knee doesn’t continue to heal quickly. He credited working with and watching Griffin helped him on that touchdown play as well.

“That’s a play where you watch Robert earlier in the game, roll to his right and throw a touchdown pass to Josh Morgan,” Cousins said. “Who knows, but maybe…after seeing that happen many times and watching Robert create whether it’s a practice or a game, you start to see that on film quite a bit and in your own way you try to emulate that maybe a little bit more than when you’re backing up a guy who doesn’t do that often. I think just seeing how Robert plays, watching a quarterback in front of you play at a high level, benefits me because I’m learning from a guy who is doing it the right way.”

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