Kirk Cousins, stiff defense fuel Washington Redskins past Denver Broncos

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up before the game with the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans November 19, 2017. File photo by AJ Sisco/UPI

LANDOVER, Md. — Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes in perhaps his final home start at FedExField, the defense turned in another stellar effort and the Washington Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos 27-11 on Sunday.

Cousins will be a free agent after the season unless Washington elects to place the franchise tag on him for the third time or signs him to a long-term contract.

He completed 19 of 37 passes for 299 yards against the NFL’s top-ranked defense in terms of yardage allowed. He was intercepted once.

The Washington defense was stout, keeping the Broncos out of the end zone until the game’s final minutes.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler got the start and was largely ineffective, completing 22 of 38 passes for 193 yards, with an interception and a lost fumble for Denver (5-10). He was sacked four times.

The Redskins (7-8) drove inside the Denver 10 after getting the second-half kick, but Cousins was intercepted in the end zone by safety Will Parks.

Washington drove inside the 20 on its next possession and Dustin Hopkins’ 29-yard field goal made it 13-3.

The Redskins broke it open early in the fourth quarter. On second-and-6 from the Denver 48, the Redskins bunched three receivers to the right. Josh Doctson raced down the right sideline by himself and Cousins hit him in stride for the touchdown, giving Washington a 20-3 lead with 12:07 remaining.

Cousins started the day 0-for-5 and the Redskins were outgained 86-14 in yards during the first quarter.

Denver took a 3-0 lead with 5:55 left in the quarter on a 31-yarder by Brandon McManus.

Early in the second quarter, Denver lined up for a field goal at the Washington 35, but instead pooched a punt that was downed at the 9. Cousins soon found wide receiver Ryan Grant for back-to-back gains of 13 and 32 yards and another completion, to Davis, gave the Redskins first-and-goal at the 10. The drive stalled however and Hopkins’ 26-yard field goal tied the score.

On Denver’s ensuing possession, Osweiler fumbled while avoiding a sack and Washington’s Zach Vigil recovered at the Broncos 38. Five plays later, Cousins found wide receiver Jamison Crowder on slant for a 15-yard touchdown 2:07 before halftime.

Osweiler was intercepted in Washington territory with 1:15 remaining and, after a punt, Denver drove again but rookie wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie cut back toward the center of the field as opposed to going out of bounds on the last play of the half, costing the Broncos a field goal try.

NOTES: Denver RB Jamaal Charles was inactive for the first time this season. Rookie RB De’Angelo Henderson was active. WRs Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) and Cody Latimer (thigh) were out after being listed as questionable during the week. … Redskins RB Samaje Perine (groin), who was listed as questionable, played while WR Maurice Harris (back) was out. … Redskins NT Ziggy Hood (elbow) and WR Robert Davis (concussion) left in the second quarter and did not return. … With his second-quarter touchdown pass, Kirk Cousins became the first Washington quarterback to record three 25-touchdown seasons. … Ryan Kerrigan (two sacks, 11 on the season) posted his second straight year of double-digit sacks, becoming first Redskin to do it since Charles Mann and Dexter Manley in 1985-86. … Denver RB C.J. Anderson needs 54 yards next week for a 1,000-yard season.

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