(ABC)–Kirk Cousins found a groove and undrafted rookie running back Robert Kelley made the most of his chance and the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills 21-16 Friday night in the third preseason game.
With the Bills (1-2) resting almost their entire starting defense, Cousins overcame a rough start to finish 12 of 23 for 188 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Despite coming mostly against Buffalo’s second- and third-stringers, it was an important recovery for Cousins, who had thrown only five passes in the preseason and didn’t play last week in an effort to test backup Colt McCoy.
Kelley ran for 51 yards on 12 carries in a personal showcase with Matt Jones and Chris Thompson out and after seventh-round pick Keith Marshall sprained his left elbow on his only carry of the game.
Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played only two series, by coach Rex Ryan’s design, going 2 of 5 for 11 yards before being replaced by E.J. Manuel.
Ryan also opted to rest running back LeSean McCoy and several key defenders, including defensive tackle Kyle Williams, linebacker Jerry Hughes and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore.
Coach Jay Gruden took a more conventional dress-rehearsal approach to the third preseason game for the Redskins (2-1) and got the kind of performances he’d like to see from top players such as tight end Jordan Reed, receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, left tackle Trent Williams and cornerback Josh Norman.
Reed, Garcon and receiver Ryan Grant each caught a touchdown pass from Cousins, and Norman looked sharp on defense along with second-year linebacker Preston Smith and lineman Ziggy Hood.
Bills: RB Jonathan Williams ran for 42 yards on 11 carries, including a 37-yard touchdown before leaving with a rib injury at the end of the third quarter. … CB Kevon Seymour, a sixth-round pick, continued his impressive preseason with four tackles.
Redskins: LB Su’a Cravens was used on several key third downs in the first half with the first-team defense. … CB Kendall Fuller broke up a pass and intercepted another in the end zone in the final minute.
Bills: K Dan Carpenter was 3 of 3 on field-goal attempts, connecting from 28, 52 and 52 yards. … WR Dez Lewis didn’t help himself with a first-half drop, while Walter Powell had five catches for 55 yards and a 16-yard punt return. … TE Nick O’Leary lost a fumble and quite possibly his grip on a roster spot.
Redskins: Kelley was decisive in his runs, picked up extra yards after contact and was excellent in pass protection. Mack Brown ran for 43 yards on 11 carries in the second half. … OL Spencer Long returned after spraining his right ankle, while his competition at left guard, Shawn Lauvao, had a false-start penalty in the red zone. … C Kory Lichtensteiger committed three holding penalties two days after Washington acquired C Bryan Stork from the New England Patriots. … Hood had a sack and thrived in a bigger role with DE Chris Baker getting the night off.
Bills: TE Chris Gragg suffered a knee injury on a tackle by DeAngelo Hall in the second quarter and did not return. … DB Jonathan Dowling hurt his left knee in punt coverage in the second quarter. … QB Cardale Jones (shoulder), LT Cordy Glenn (ankle), WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion) and S Aaron Williams (concussion) didn’t dress.
Redskins: LB Ryan Kerrigan left after the first series with a groin injury. … RT Morgan Moses left the game with a left ankle injury. … CB Quinton Dunbar left the game with a shin injury that came after Rashad Ross fumbled a punt return. … RB Matt Jones (shoulder), RB Chris Thompson (undisclosed), Baker (hamstring) and WR Jamison Crowder (knee) didn’t play.