Instead, Cousins gripped the ball tighter, ripped it into the air and threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Redskins to a 42-24 victory Sunday night, Washington's sixth victory in eight games.
Handing the Packers (4-6) a potentially season-crushing fourth consecutive loss, Cousins outdueled two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and got the Redskins (6-3-1) rolling into a Thanksgiving showdown against the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys.
"Lights out," said DeSean Jackson, who had a 17-yard touchdown catch . "QB rating 145? So we need him to play like that a lot more. I think if we can get our guy back there playing like that, pretty much unstoppable."
With Cousins carving up Green Bay's porous pass defense and Robert Kelley running for 137 yards and three touchdowns, Washington put up 517 yards didn't wilt like it did in a playoff loss to the Packers. "We Want Dallas" chants filled FedEx Field in the final minutes of the game that only became a blowout late, but this was a well-rounded performance that the Redskins wish they could've put together in January.
"We certainly had a sour taste in our mouths walking away from the game last season," said Cousins, who was 21 of 30 and also had TD passes to Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon . "When you watch the film, we felt like there were plays there to be made that didn't get made. I think tonight you saw what we felt we were capable of doing last January and just didn't get it done."
While the Packers allowed 30 or more points for the fifth time in six games -- all losses -- Rodgers and the offense couldn't keep up. He was 26 of 41 for 351 yards and three touchdowns, but the result was the same.
"We put ourselves in a tough spot," Rodgers said. "We've got find a way to get a win next week and approach it one week at a time. That's all we've got right now."
The Redskins have a big meeting at Dallas to look forward to. The Cowboys (9-1) have won nine in a row.
"We're feeling good, but at the same time it's a short week and we're playing one of the best teams in the NFL on Thursday," Cousins said.
GREEN BAY IN DEEP: The loss put the Packers two games back of the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions in the NFC North. Each team won Sunday, meaning Green Bay may need to pull off a heck of a feat to return to the playoffs.
"We clearly understand the urgency that's in front of us," coach Mike McCarthy said.
GUTSY GRUDEN: After kickers around the league missed 11 extra-point attempts going in, Washington coach Jay Gruden opted to go for 2 twice -- and converted neither. But he was validated when Green Bay's Mason Crosby missed a 36-yard attempt at that end in the third quarter and when his kicker, Dustin Hopkins, shanked an extra-point attempt off the right upright in the fourth.
Gruden was feeling risky all night, going for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 41 with 6:22 left. Cousins sneaked it to convert and reward his coach, and the drive finished with a touchdown by Kelley.
"The fourth-and-1 was pretty simple: It was half a yard, and the wind was pretty strong in our face," Gruden said. "Thought our offensive line was getting pretty good movement (and) we'd get half a yard with the quarterback sneak play."
BANGED-UP PACKERS: Already missing offensive linemen J.C. Tretter and T.J. Lang, the Packers lost cornerback Demitri Goodson (knee), replacement right guard Don Barclay (shoulder), linebacker Blake Marinez (knee) and safety Kentrell Brice (back).
QUICK-STRIKE OFFENSE: While the offenses were on ice early in the night, they combined for two touchdowns in the first 35 seconds of the fourth quarter. Rodgers' 31-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open James Starks came on the first play of the fourth, and Cousins connected with Garcon on a 70-yard touchdown on the second play of the Redskins' next drive.
Kelley on his special night: "Real special, especially for the guys in the fantasy leagues."
Packers safety Micah Hyde: "We have way too much talent in this locker room to be performing like that. But week in, week out, we're doing it. I'm speechless."
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