LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Kirk Cousins took full advantage of a chance to go up against about as bad a defense as there is in the NFL right now.
Cousins threw a career-high four touchdown passes — each one longer than any he'd completed all season — to lead the Washington Redskins past the New Orleans Saints 47-14 on Sunday.
Cousins went 20 for 25 for 324 yards, with zero interceptions and a perfect passer rating of 158.3, connecting for scores of 78 yards to running back Matt Jones, 16 and 8 yards to tight end Jordan Reed, and 11 yards to receiver Jamison Crowder.
Cousins didn't have a scoring toss of more than 7 yards until he got to go up against the Saints' porous, poor-tackling "D."
The 33-point margin of victory was Washington's largest since beating San Francisco by 35, 52-17, in October 2005.
The Redskins (4-5) led 37-14 at the end of the third quarter, then tacked on more points 42 seconds into the fourth on safety Dashon Goldson's 35-yard TD return of an interception of Drew Brees.
Coming off a pair of games in which he accounted for 10 TDs and nearly 900 yards, Brees went 19 for 28 for 201 yards, two TD passes (both to Brandin Cooks) and two fourth-quarter interceptions.
Washington avoided what could have been a fifth consecutive season with a 3-6 record.
The Saints (4-6) lost their second game in a row, following a run of three victories that briefly got them back to .500.
Sunday's numbers brought the totals for New Orleans' past three opponents to 127 points and more than 1,400 yards.
In the first half, Washington's offense seemingly could do no wrong — in large part because Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's unit couldn't do anything right.
The Redskins led 27-14 at halftime, their most points through two quarters in nearly three years; they put up 28 against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, back when Cousins was a rookie backup to Robert Griffin III.
Washington's opening possession set the tone. It covered 96 yards in 10 plays, the team's longest drive in 15 years — since a 98-yarder against the New York Giants in December 2000 — and ended with Cousins' 16-yarder to Reed.
There was more where that came from. By halftime, Cousins was 17 for 20 for 295 and three TDs, as the Redskins rolled to a 394-190 edge in total yards to that point.
Cousins' play-action screen to rookie Jones for 78 yards was the longest touchdown catch by a Redskins running back since Larry Brown scored from 89 yards in November 1972.
The Saints' defense failed to put up much resistance when the Redskins kept the ball on the ground, either. Running back Alfred Morris came in having gained 51 yards on 29 carries in his previous four games; this time, he wound up with 93 yards on 15 carries.
In addition to trouble covering anyone or stopping anyone carrying the football — problems the Saints' defense has been having week-in and week-out — New Orleans made all sorts of other mistakes.
There were key penalties, including one that wiped out what would have been an interception of Cousins and one that extended a Redskins drive at the end of the first half, and a dropped pass by Cooks on third down to end New Orleans' last drive of the half.
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Posted on Sun, November 15, 2015
by HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Pro Football Writer