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The lesson was painful for the Redskins against undefeated Atlanta.

Cousins put the Redskins in front 17-14 with 12:24 left by hitting Santana Moss deep down the middle for a 77-yard touchdown.

The Falcons’ defense, however, clamped down. Linebackers were more aggressive keying on running back Alfred Morris with Griffin out of the game, Morris said.

After Michael Turner’s 13-yard touchdown run gave Atlanta a 24-17 lead with 2:46 to play, it was up to Cousins to summon some RG3 late-game magic.

And, as if it wasn’t already obvious, Griffin proved to be irreplaceable. Cousins threw interceptions on the Redskins‘ final two drives.

“I wanted so badly to take us down, and I’m trying to do too much,” Cousins said. “A couple of the throws got a way from me.”

After the result was final, and the Redskins‘ home losing streak extended to eight, focus turned to Griffin’s health.

Washington needs him, and perhaps he’ll be better off for it.

Robert’s going to keep on learning, but we’ve got somebody very special,” Shanahan said. “We’ve got a guy that competes, a guy that tries to make plays every game he goes in. Just like that last play in the red zone: When do you take a dive, when do you throw the ball away? That’s all part of the learning experience that he’s going to gain as time goes on.”