ASHBURN, Va. -- It was all too reminiscent of 2014 - the body language, the frustration, the helplessness.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was iced that October after a particularly ugly performance at home against the Tennessee Titans. He was benched for Colt McCoy in the second quarter and never saw the field again that season.
Cousins has come a long way from that fall afternoon. Last season he helped Washington win the NFC East title and set a franchise record for passing yards. But there remains little margin for error. You could see it in the angry outburst of his teammates after Cousins threw a fourth-down pass behind wide receiver Pierre Garcon late in Sunday's 27-23 loss to Dallas.
He's a better quarterback than he was that day against the Titans. But Cousins is not immune to some of the same demons that plagued him that day.
"I think sometimes he puts a lot on himself. He puts a lot of pressure on himself," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "He wants to be great, there's no question about it. Sometimes if he feels like he isn't playing to the standards that we all have set for him, he feels like he's letting everybody down."
Cousins has missed open throws and had miscommunications with his offensive linemen the first two weeks of the season. Twice he's been picked off in the end zone. It seems to have led to a crisis of confidence reminiscent of 2014. But it's up to Cousins to stave off those thoughts and get ready for Sunday's game at the New York Giants. The swagger he had last season can't go missing for much longer.
"At the quarterback position sometimes, if you don't get victories, you feel like - everybody feels like - it's the quarterback's fault," Gruden said. "Everybody's writing headlines on the quarterback. But there are a lot of issues that we have that we have to correct and he's part of it, I'm part of it, the coordinators are part of it, and then the rest of the players are part of it. It all fits in the equation."
--The Redskins have placed veteran defensive end Kedric Golston on season-ending injured reserve, according to head coach Jay Gruden.
Golston tore his right hamstring on the first play of Sunday's 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field. The longest-tenured Washington player at 11 NFL seasons, Golston, 33, might have just played in his final game with the Redskins.
Drafted in the sixth round in 2006, Golston has been a mainstay for years with 142 career games. He was the starting nose tackle this season.