Redskins hurt by Patriots, themselves as they provide little help for Kirk Cousins

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It's not as if Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins had a great day. Nobody for Washington did. But Cousins needs help from his teammates and did not receive enough, at least not from his skill players. The Redskins would have struggled to beat the New England Patriots anyway and, sure enough, lost 27-10. But when you keep dropping passes (and missing tackles), it makes any task harder.

Cousins' offensive line? It did its job in protection, keeping Cousins upright and out of trouble. But when you drop seven passes -- their most in one game in eight seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information -- you don't give yourself a chance at all. One of those drops turned into an interception, leading to a touchdown. Others prevented long gains. There have been games in which Cousins has just been off in terms of not only interceptions but also accuracy. His inconsistency has been an issue -- and it's why there are doubts about him for the future.

That was not the case Sunday. Cousins operated the offense the way it needed to be done, but it wasn't nearly enough. The good news, if you want any, is that his receivers were open. That bodes well for the future, but only if they hang on to the ball and give themselves a chance to be competitive. They have the talent at the receiver spots to be better.

What it means: From a standings standpoint, it means the Redskins drop to 3-5 and lose a little ground in the NFC East. But they can make up that ground because it's not a good division. Although this loss was not unexpected, it meant something from a competitive standpoint. The Redskins consistently hurt themselves and prevented opportunities to make the game competitive because of numerous drops and missed tackles. It's hard to pin this loss on the coaches, not when the players made such mistakes and failed to show up in those areas. But if the Redskins can beat the New Orleans Saints at home next Sunday -- not an easy task -- they'll be 4-5. The problem is, they'll have to improve a lot in the so-called little things -- like tackling and catching -- or it'll lead to major issues against anyone.

What were they thinking ...? ... When they saw linebacker Perry Riley Jr., lined up one-on-one with a running back split wide. That's the danger with New England; because the Patriots use two-tight-end sets often, teams are left in vulnerable spots against certain alignments. This one led to a New England touchdown pass to running back Brandon Bolden.

One reason to get excited: Not a whole lot, to be honest. But at least Cousins was not the reason for the lopsided loss. Cousins threw the ball pretty well; he was just victimized by too many drops.

One reason to panic: Once again, the heavy number of missed tackles and extra yards given to the opposition. It's been a problem area and was once again Sunday. Sometimes it's about not having players in their gaps; other times they just miss.

Fantasy watch: It wasn't a good day for anyone on the Redskins. The two main players -- tight end Jordan Reed and receiver DeSean Jackson -- were not productive. Jackson finished with three catches for 15 yards, while Reed had three for 18 yards and a touchdown.

Ouch: The Redskins escaped without any serious injury issues during the game, though safety Dashon Goldson left late with a hamstring injury and did not return. Several players exited after an apparent injury only to return, including end Chris Baker, linebacker Keenan Robinson and center Josh LeRibeus.