LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — It wasn't a good sign for the Washington Redskins when receiver Terrelle Pryor lost sight of the ball in the sun on the first play of the game. It also didn't help that quarterback Kirk Cousins wasn't at his best in an ugly 30-17 season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. From the receivers and Cousins to the offensive line and third-down defense, there was plenty of blame to go around. "I put this game on myself," said Pryor, who was targeted 11 times but made just six catches for 66 yards in his Redskins debut . "I definitely let my teammates down."
Because the Redskins couldn't get the running game going, finishing with 64 yards on the ground, the pressure was on Cousins and the passing game. That cracked early and often as Cousins was intercepted at the goal line by Jalen Mills and fumbled twice, the second of which was returned for the game-icing touchdown. Cousins was 23 of 40 for 240 yards and also had a touchdown pass to Chris Thompson, but was under constant duress from Philadelphia's relentless pass rush.
The Eagles sacked Cousins twice, and coach Jay Gruden acknowledged the Redskins can be better in a lot of places — namely quarterback. "I will start by saying I can be more accurate," said Cousins, who came in with the best QB rating against the Eagles among active players. "I think there are plenty of throws there where the pocket's clean and the ball can be more on the mark and I can always make it easier on these guys."
Little looked easy for the Redskins in the opener, including on defense where Carson Wentz and Philadelphia were 8 of 14 on third down. Washington had the NFL's worst third-down defense last season, and for now that problem doesn't look as if it was fixed. Containing Wentz was a significant issue, as was coverage downfield because the second-year QB had more time to operate. "I feel like they got a little bit more than what we should have gave them," cornerback Josh Norman said.
Wentz "just made something happen and that's what extended the drives, and those things are backbreakers. So if you got your opportunity to get your paws on the quarterback, you've got to bring him down." Despite all the issues, the Redskins had the ball just inside the two-minute warning trailing 22-17 with the chance to engineer a comeback. That's when Cousins was sacked by Brandon Graham and fumbled, with Fletcher Cox returning it 20 yards for a TD that was upheld after video review.
Graham expected it to be overturned and said, "I don't know if it was a gift." Referee Brad Allen said the league didn't see evidence to overturn the play, which Cousins called a "tough one." "There are so many other plays in the game that lead to that moment that really I think are more important or more telling of why it didn't go our way in the end," Cousins said.
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