Kirk Cousins had one of the greatest performances of his NFL career in the Redskins' 27-10 win over the Raiders on Sunday night, completing 25 of 30 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns. Washington's quarterback said he had an inkling that he was due for a big game as he stood on the sidelines and linked arms with his teammates before kickoff.
"When I was standing next to Vernon Davis during the national anthem, we were linking arms with Terrelle Pryor," Cousins said Monday during his regular appearance on 106.7 The Fan's "Grant and Danny" show. "Those were the two guys that I was standing next to. There was something in that moment that just felt powerful to me. I like that most of us just stood and linked arms. I don't know, there was some kind of magic there in that moment, and I just felt ready to go. Then when we got the ball at the start, I just felt a calmness and was pretty settled and was seeing the coverage well. From there, we just executed."
At least seven Redskins players knelt during Sunday's rendition of the national anthem at FedEx Field after President Trump called on NFL owners to "fire the sons of bitches" who protested in that manner over the weekend. While most Raiders players remained seated, the majority of Redskins players stood and linked arms. Team owner Daniel Snyder joined them and was flanked by cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland. On a day when teams and players across the league engaged in silent protest and shows of solidarity in response to Trump's criticisms, Grant Paulsen asked Cousins how the decision for most of the Redskins players to link arms came about.
"Each player's going to do what they feel best or feel convicted to do, so it's hard to tell somebody what they ought to do," Cousins said. "I also thought it's important to be on the same page and communicate so that there is a plan or an understanding of what we want to do as a team, for those that are wanting to do something together. I felt like standing is something that I always will want to do and wanted to do last night. Linking arms is a good way to just feel like, 'Hey, a bunch of us will stand, some of us may kneel, we're still going to try to see it from the other person's perspective and have some form of understanding.' There's just a lot of division right now and I'd hate for division to cause more division, if you understand what I'm saying. I'd like for there to be ways to find common ground, and find unity, and I felt like that was a small, small way of trying to do that."
Cousins offered a similar message of unity during his postgame interview with NBC's Michele Tafoya.
"We just wanted unity," Cousins said when asked about the decision to link arms. "I'm tired of the division going on in the country. We just wanted unity and I felt like linking arms was a way to create some unity. Hopefully this city can stay together. Hopefully we as a league can stay together and we'll see where we go from here."
Cousins also weighed in on his 52-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson, a 50-50 ball that the Redskins' 2016 first-round draft pick hauled in for his first career score on Washington's first drive of the second half.
"It's not a ball that I tend to throw," Cousins said on 106.7 The Fan. "I don't like to just throw the ball up for grabs and just trust the guy to come down with, and even as the ball was coming down, it looked like [David] Amerson still had a chance to intercept it, and so I was nervous, but Josh made me right. That was why he was a first-round pick, because when it's not open, when it's not perfect, you want to draft a guy and have a guy on your team who can make it right and bail you out. … You need a guy who can do something that not everybody can do. Josh did that last night."