KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Down by three points in one of the toughest places to play in the National Football League, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins tried to rally his troops at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and put his team on top in the waning minutes of the game.
On third down, Cousins dropped back and launched a throw down the left sideline to Josh Doctson who appeared to pull down a touchdown. That was, until the ball popped out of his grasp after Doctson was taken to the ground.
“Kirk thought he was getting doubled by the safety and had an excellent opportunity to throw it to Josh, who almost had it. He had a great opportunity to come down with the ball,” Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said. “Unfortunately he couldn’t pull it in before hitting the ground.”
The incompletion forced Gruden to settle for three points on a successful field goal attempt by Dustin Hopkins to tie the game at 20 with only 50 seconds remaining.
Despite a valiant effort by the Redskins’ defensive unit, Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith found receiver Albert Wilson for a 37-yard gain to set up rookie kicker Harrison Butker for a 43-yard field goal. Butker converted with only four seconds remaining in the game. Then, after numerous laterals on Washington's ensuing final play, Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 13 yards for a touchdown to make the final 29-20. The Chiefs remain undefeated at 4-0.
Despite the loss, the Redskins were pleased with the way the offense performed throughout the contest. Cousins finished 14-of-24 for 242 yards and two touchdowns including a 44-yard bomb in the first quarter that he uncorked to Terrelle Pryor for the first score of the game.
“It was frustrating because we got off to such a great start in the game and had a lot of good plays and then all of a sudden we couldn't flip the field,” Cousins said.
Washington running back Rob Kelley started the game battling through a rib injury and eventually exited early in the first half after suffering an ankle injury. Rookie running back Samaje Perine filled in during Kelley’s absence and did his best, but Cousins eventually ended up rushing for more yardage (38) and was the team’s leading rusher by games’ end.
After Hopkins hit a 19-yard field goal late in the first quarter, Smith found his rhythm late in the second when he hooked up with tight end Travis Kelce for a 17-yard touchdown to close the gap to 10-7.
Although the Redskins went into the locker room with a narrow lead, Smith went on a tear on the first possession of the second half. The veteran signal caller picked apart the Redskins’ defensive unit at will with the help of rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Smith capped off the 10-play scoring drive by plunging into the endzone from a yard out to take a 14-10 lead.
Smith threw for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown while Hunt surpassed the century mark with 101 yards on 21 carries.
Cousins did not take long to answer on the ensuing possession. He hooked up with University of Maryland alumnus Vernon Davis on a 69-yard bomb as he rumbled down the field weaving through would-be tacklers. Two plays later, Cousins found Ryan Grant in the back of the endzone for a 3-yard touchdown to retake the lead.
Washington's defense bent but did not break as Butker went on to hit two more kicks until Hopkins tied the game at 20 late in the fourth. However, that was all she wrote after the rookie nailed a dagger kick and Houston sealed the game with the fumble recovery touchdown during a Monday Night Football thriller.
“That is a good defense over there, and our guys did some good things out there and competed,” Gruden said. “I'm happy with the way that they competed, but unfortunately we just didn't finish today.”
The Redskins will have some time to regroup as they head into their bye week, and will have a chance to heal up after having multiple players bow out due to injuries throughout the night. The team will not play a game until it faces the San Francisco 49ers at home on Oct. 15.