BUF-WAS Grades: Season-best performance for Kirk Cousins

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from Washington’s 35-25 win over the Buffalo Bills.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

BUF-WAS Grades: Season-best performance for Kirk Cousins

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Washington’s 35-25 win over the Bills.

Buffalo Bills

– Despite the loss, this was a good game for QB Tyrod Taylor (+6.5). Much of that grade came from his rushing, where his 79 yards on just nine attempts and three missed tackles forced led to a +3.9 rushing grade. He showed off extreme effectiveness on the deep ball (20+ yards in the air), completing three-of-seven (one drop) for 94 yards and two touchdowns, and a +4.8 grade on those throws. He wasn’t perfect by any means, missing on a handful throws and making some bad decisions throwing into coverage. But Taylor was far from the reason the Bills couldn’t win.

– It was a rough day for the Bills’ starting corners, Leodis McKelvin (-4.9) and Ronald Darby (-2.4), as they struggled to cover Washington’s receivers all day. Combined, they allowed 12 receptions on 14 targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns. They failed to record a pass defense, and the fact that only 47 of those yards allowed came after the catch showed how they were beaten on deep throws quite often.

– The Bills’ offensive line has to be happy with how they played for the most part, as four of five starters finished with a positive grade. Only RT Jordan Mills (-1.4) had a negative grade, thanks mostly to his poor pass blocking, where he allowed two sacks and two hurries. C Eric Wood (+5.3) was excellent all game, finishing with a team-high +4.0 run block grade, and not allowing a single pressure all game. Overall, the Bills offensive line allowed three sacks, two hits, and six hurries.

Top Performers:

QB Tyrod Taylor (+6.5)
C Eric Wood (+5.3)
DE Jerry Hughes (+4.2)
Sammy Watkins (+2.7)
LB Manny Lawson (+2.3)



– QB Kirk Cousins (+4.6) continued his up and down season with a very up game. Cousins played lights out, throwing only two inaccurate passes on 25 “aimed” attempts (not including throwaways, batted passes, etc). He was fantastic on passes that traveled more than 10 yards in the air, completing eight-of-nine passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. Even when faced with pressure he played extremely well, completing four-of-seven passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

– Despite the box score saying 123 rushing yards on 27 carries, it wasn’t a great day for Washington’s run offense. Take away Cousins’ scramble and Alfred Morris’ (+0.7) 48-yard run, which had more to do with poor defensive pursuit and good work by him than it did any blocking, and the Washington offense had just 64 rushing yards on 23 carries (2.8 average). Every starting offensive lineman finished with a negative run block grade, and as a unit, the offense finished at -9.2 in run blocking on the day, the only discipline that Washington’s offense finished negative in.

– Two defensive players really struggled for Washington. LB Will Compton (-4.9) continued his stretch of poor play, finishing with a team-low -4.9 overall grade. He was unable to get involved in a lot of run plays, and ended up missing three tackles on the day, while making just one stop. FS DeAngelo Hall (-3.7) also did not have a strong game, as he was constantly late giving over the top help to his corners en route to a -3.0 coverage grade. Washington’s defense didn’t play particularly well, but played a very “bend but don’t break” style and were able to stop the Bills when it counted most.

Top Performers:

QB Kirk Cousins (+4.6)
WR DeSean Jackson (+3.3)
RT Ty Nsekhe (+1.6)
WR Pierre Garçon (+1.1)
FS Kyshoen Jarrett (+0.7)

| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

  • Thomas W

    Bills O-Line looked awful in pass protection. They opened rushing holes in the second hald when the game was lopsided.

  • etyb

    I actually thought the Redskins’ defense fairly well in this game. Yeah, they allowed a few big plays to occur, but they handed a pretty good beating to Taylor throughout the game, kept a red-hot Shady from doing anything and generally kept Buffalo’s offense in check.