Kirk Cousins took a knee to end the first half of Washington-Philadelphia. It prevented Washington from a shot at the end zone or a field goal attempt. Nobody's quite clear why.
He didn't need to kneel. He didn't even need to spike the ball. His coach, Jay Gruden, confirmed there was supposed to be a fade route to Pierre Garcon on the play, and expressed complete confusion as to why Cousins knelt:
Washington had used its final timeout on the previous Philadelphia drive, meaning they had no way to stop the clock. Then Cousins led a spectacular drive down the field, bringing Washington 64 yards all the way to the shadow of the Eagles' uprights. The clock was stopped due to a penalty on the previous play, so it wasn't a factor. They could've run a play to the end zone, and if that failed, they had a chip shot field goal opportunity. Everyting was setting up for points ...
... and then Cousins kneeled.
After kneeling, Cousins appeared confused. Look at him. He even tries to spike the ball after kneeling:
The best part about Kirk Cousins meltdown? When he tried to spike it AFTER taking the knee pic.twitter.com/lmcPC24334— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 27, 2015
And then he gets up and tries to run, even though the play is clearly dead.
His teammates were confused. Look at them, taking a moment to process what's happening, then urging him towards the end zone.
The announcers were confused:
Ian Eagle describes perfectly the moment that Kirk Cousins lost his mind pic.twitter.com/F2ONyKsewX— Deadspin (@Deadspin) December 27, 2015
Even the clock operator was a bit confused, stopping the clock momentarily after whistles blew. Of course, the clock was supposed to run, so it did. Cousins and his team had no way of stopping the clock, and this was the last play of the half.
I have a guess why this happened. Cousins probably wasn't thinking straight because there had been a bit of clock-related confusion on the previous play.
He'd completed a pass to Jordan Reed in the field of play with six seconds on the clock, which seemed like it would end the half. But Philadelphia knocked the loose ball away after the play was dead, earning a flag for delay of game.
That penalty stopped the clock and gave Washington one more shot at the end zone. Cousins even went over to thank the referees for calling the penalty.
I'd guess Cousins was still flustered from all this and thought he needed to do a clock thing, even though he didn't. And he chose the wrong clock-related thing.
But until Cousins talks, nobody knows why he did this. Nobody.
Don't ask me to expail what just happened. I'm at a loss for words, & u know that's not me.— Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) December 27, 2015
UPDATE: Cousins explained his decision after the game. "There was a lot of confusion with what the playcall was and for lack of a better word, I just had a lapse in my decision-making and instinctually took a knee when I should've thrown the ball away to stop the clock. We were very fortunate it didn't end up hurting us."
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