Kirk Cousins was not pressured when officials flagged him for intentional grounding late in Sunday’s loss to the Saints, and the rule requires that the passer face “an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense,” via Mark Maske of The Washington Post.
Thus, officials appear to have erred after Cousins took the snap at the New Orleans 34 with 31 seconds left in regulation, turned to the sideline and heaved the ball out of bounds. After the penalty, on second-and-20 with the clock running, Cousins was sacked and fumbled as time expired. New Orleans won in overtime.
Cousins said the league admitting referee Walt Coleman was wrong won’t help Washington now.
“The letter to Bruce Allen, or whatever they do to say ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ or whatever it may be, you know, it’s tough,” Cousins said Monday on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier during his weekly segment. “Because there’s nobody bringing that up in February and March when we’re making decisions about which direction to go with the organization.
“That’s the kind of thing that, we appreciate the clarification, but it really doesn’t do much. I mean, this is our careers. This is our livelihood. This is what we do. It just is frustrating when a letter is really all you get, when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives, when we’re in it and doing it every day.”
Cousins said the play call was a designed run, but coach Jay Gruden killed it when he saw the defense. That left Cousins, with no timeouts, to try to get rid of the ball and save as much time as possible.
“The whole point we’re calling a run is to run it,” Cousins said. “If we want to throw it, we’d call a pass. I’m at the line of scrimmage and I see Jay kind of on the sidelines, and I see what I think to be in the noise. I mean, I can’t really hear him, but I see him say ‘throw it.’ And I’m assuming what he meant is the play’s dead; the run’s not going to work. If anything, we’re going to lose yards, and right now, on the 34-yard line, yards are precious.
“And I’m thinking, well, [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally just throw it over their heads, they’re in the area; they’re eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I’m not under pressure, it’s not intentional grounding, because I’m not really at risk of a sack, so I can just throw it in their general direction, and because I’m not under pressure and because they’re in the area, it won’t matter. And you saw what happened.”