WAS-BAL grades: Cousins struggles, but Redskins defense fuels close win

The defense and offensive line grade well for Washington in its close Week 6 win over the Ravens.

| 2 weeks ago
(Todd Olszewski, Getty Images)

(Todd Olszewski, Getty Images)

WAS-BAL grades: Cousins struggles, but Redskins defense fuels close win

Washington Redskins 16, Baltimore Ravens 10

Here are the highest-graded players and biggest takeaways from Washington’s 16-10 win over Baltimore on Sunday:

Washington Redskins

Quarterback grade: Kirk Cousins, 57.5

Cousins did a solid job of taking what the Ravens defense was giving him as the game went on, but was inconsistent when throwing 10 yards or more downfield. He went 4-for-4 for 68 yards and a touchdown on throws beyond 10 yards and outside the left numbers, but just 1-for-6 on throws of that depth either between the numbers or outside the right numbers. He also got away with a would-be pick-six that was fumbled by linebacker C.J. Mosley right before the pylon.

Top offensive grades:

OT Morgan Moses, 77.7

OT Trent Williams, 77.7

OG Brandon Scherff, 76.0

OG Spencer Long, 73.0

WR Jamison Crowder, 69.3

Offensive line keeps pressure from Cousins

While Cousins was inconsistent, his pass protection was not. Dropping back to pass 42 times, he was put under pressure on just 10 of those passes. That was big for the offense, because he completed 81.3 percent of his passes when kept clean in the pocket, compared to just 33.3 percent when under pressure. Left guard Shawn Lauvao allowed a sack and two hurries, but no other offensive linemen allowed more than a single pressure over the course of the game.

Top defensive grades:

CB Kendall Fuller, 88.8

LB Mason Foster, 88.8

DI Ricky Jean-Francois, 80.3

CB Josh Norman, 79.7

S Will Blackmon, 79.3

Rookie cornerback impresses, while Josh Norman helps to shut down Baltimore passing game

Finally getting onto the field for the first time last week, rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller was tested by the Ravens in his second pro game on defense. From the six passes thrown into his coverage, he allowed just 42 yards on five receptions, and came away with a pass breakup. Through two games in the NFL, the former Virginia Tech defensive star has given up 11 receptions, but for an average of just 6.6 yards per catch. Meanwhile, star Redskins cornerback Josh Norman allowed just one catch for nine yards on the three targets into his coverage, with a late potential TD pass to Ravens WR Breshad Perriman with Norman in coverage ruled incomplete after Perriman couldn’t get a second foot down inbounds.

Baltimore Ravens

Quarterback grade: Joe Flacco, 77.6

It was an interesting game for Flacco, where he actually performed better under pressure than he did from a clean pocket. Under pressure on 17 of his 50 dropbacks, he completed 69.2 percent of his passes when pressure got there, and had a quarterback rating of 104.6. When the Ravens prevented pressure from getting to him, he completed just 63.6 percent of his passes and had a quarterback rating of 74.1. One area where he struggled was throwing the ball downfield, with no completions from his four pass attempts traveling 20 yards or further downfield.


Top offensive grades:

FB Kyle Juszyzyk, 82.0

RG/RT Marshal Yanda, 82.0

RB Terrance West, 77.3

OG Ryan Jensen, 76.9

TE Crockett Gilmore, 75.6

Ravens miss opportunity by not giving Terrance West more carries

Given how he performed, it’s frustrating how little opportunity running back Terrance West saw today. He carried the ball just 11 times, but earned 70 of his 95 yards after contact, and forced four missed tackles on those four carries. The Ravens wanted to get Javorius Allen and rookie Kenneth Dixon involved, which is understandable, but their seven carries netted just one missed tackle forced, and 12 yards after contact. West is the Ravens’ hot hand at running back right now, and they would be wise to take advantage of the best form of his career by giving him more touches of the ball.

Top defensive grades:

S Eric Weddle, 80.1

OLB Terrell Suggs, 79.0

NT Michael Pierce, 78.5

ILB C.J. Mosley, 78.4

DE Timmy Jernigan, 74.9

Solid defensive performance should have resulted in a win

The Baltimore defense didn’t bully the Washington offense, but its front seven did play smart, relatively mistake-free football. The defense combined for 21 tackles resulting in a stop, with defensive end Timmy Jernigan and linebacker Zachary Orr leading the way with three each. More impressive, however, was their discipline, with just two missed tackles by the defense over the course of the game. The Ravens’ defense kept them in this game when the offense stagnated in the second half, and did more than their part to come up with the win in this one.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Redskins CB Kendall Fuller, 88.8

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • ImperishablePhantasm

    Not that I’m complaining about it, but I’m just curious to Fuller’s grade.
    Allows 5/6 passes in his coverage to be completed for 42 yards and 1 pass deflection leads to an 88.8 grade?

    • Brad Barber

      Not sure either. Maybe none were first downs. I have no idea lol

    • etyb

      The announcers during the game (I think the Redskins Radio broadcast) noted that the ‘Skins secondary was giving up short completions in order to take away big gains. I’m gonna guess that even though Fuller allowed 5/6 completions, probably none went for first downs or a significant gain. That would factor into his grading. If it’s 3rd-and-9 and you give up a 5-yard completion, you still forced a punt in most circumstances.

  • Tom31

    Both quarterbacks had bad days throwing down the field. Do you suppose that had something to do with the 30+mph wind gusts during this game? Not sure how you can compare stats across the league when you don’t account for winds so strong that almost every play featured cups, hats, and trash blowing across the field.

    • Paul Malonson

      So true. Not counting for conditions makes the grading almost irrelevant in this circumstance. Surprising that with so much work on formulas and methodologies that they could miss something so fundamental. Cred is a big minus on QB grading here.

  • TheKlot

    Terrance West is a great back but the answer for their offense wasn’t just to use him more. When the Redskins detected their run play, they either got 0 yards or neg yards. They did the right thing by mixing it up, as all offenses should, but with the clock running and trailing in points sometimes you need to pass the ball. They just got unlucky and at times chose poorly.