If Kirk Cousins wants to play for the Denver Broncos next year, the potential free-agent-to-be put on a solid display in front of the coaches he could be working with in 2018. He meanwhile showed the brass in Washington why it may be worth franchise tagging him at $34 million.

Cousins was 8-of-19 for 97 yards and a touchdown (15 yds to Jamison Crowder) in the first half; he finished the game 19-of-37 for 299 and three touchdowns. All of it was with an offensive line that gave him little protection and time against the No. 1 defense in football entering the game.

Another potential starter for Denver next season, Brock Osweiler, had a less-than-steller day under similar circumstances, passing for 193 yards and producing two costly turnovers late in the second quarter. Osweiler was sacked four times and hit nine times in the 27-11 loss.

The Cousins-to-Crowder connection (following a Brock Osweiler fumble) was the difference in the first half, and the duo connected for 14 yards early in the second half as Washington tried to build on their 10-3 lead. Denver had Cousins in a third-and-six situation to start the drive, but defensive coordinator Joe Woods overcommitted bodies to the line and Ryan Grant slipped free for a 36-yard catch and run when Cousins eluded the pass rush. Washington converted again on third down, this time with nine yards to go from the Denver 20 to set up goal-to-go. The drive would go for naught though, as Cousins threw into heavy coverage in the end zone and Broncos safety Will Parks elevated to intercept a pass intended for Josh Doctson. It was just the ninth interception thrown by Cousins on the season.

Denver could not capitalize on the turnover though as Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan flattened rookie left tackle Garett Bolles on his way to a sack of Osweiler for a loss of 10 yards on the very first play. Riley Dixon would punt soon after.

Former Broncos running back Kapri Bibbs took a slip screen 21 yards into Denver territory to open the ensuing possession. Cousins continued to pick apart the soft middle of the Denver pass defense, hitting Doctson for 13 yards and then Crowder for 12. The Denver defense bowed its back inside the red zone and forced Dustin Hopkins‘s second field goal of the day, which stretched Washington’s lead to 13-3.

Osweiler picked up a first down thanks to a five-yard scramble of his own and a third down run by Devontae Booker on the next drive, but Kerrigan again got to the quarterback — this time beating right tackle Donald Stephenson — to set up a third-and-long situation. The clock would wind down on the third quarter with a seven-yard pass to rookie De’Angelo Henderson before Dixon punted to open the fourth.

Samaje Perine picked up 11 yards on the ground to open the drive, then picked up a second first down with a run of eight to the opposite side. Another run from Perine set up an easy touchdown pass from Cousins to Doctson, who confused the Denver secondary in a bunch formation on the near sideline. Pro Bowl alternate defensive back Chris Harris Jr. didn’t stick with Doctson and a safety over the top was unable to close ground enough to prevent the 48-yard strike that put Washington up 20-3 after the PAT.

C.J. Anderson got the call on a screen pass and an 11-yard run as the Denver offense tried to answer. He got around the edge for eight yards, but a holding call on Bolles cost Anderson the run and backed up the offense 10 yards. Osweiler and the offense couldn’t dig out of that hole and they were forced to punt for the third time in the half.

Washington took 2:17 off the clock on their next drive, punting shortly after they picked up an early first down but were then backed up 15 yards on a dead-ball foul.

Osweiler was sacked for the fourth time of the game on second down after a Devontae Booker dropped pass. They were forced to go for it on fourth-and-two after a 10-yard completion to Demaryius Thomas. Osweiler missed a streaking Bennie Fowler, and Washington declined an illegal formation penalty as Denver turned the ball over on downs.

Denver evened the turnover battle in the game when Von Miller and Domata Peko ripped the ball from Perine’s arms on a third-and-10 carry on Washington’s next possession, but it wouldn’t last.

Osweiler’s rough day continued immediately, as he was again under pressure on the first play of the ensuing drive and had the ball knocked out of his hand as he threw. It was ruled an incomplete pass, but Denver’s turnover was coming soon. Demaryius Thomas had a ball go through his hands on second down before Denver again saw the turnover margin go the other way. Booker pulled in a pass from Osweiler at the 49-yard line, then took “at least two steps” (as replay confirmed) before Deshazor Everett knocked the ball loose and Anthony Lanier II recovered. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Connor McGovern gave Washington an additional 15 yards as the ball changed hands.

Cousins continued to impress and the Denver secondary gave up its second deep strike of the game when Davis got free over the top for a 31-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 27-3.

Osweiler avoided a four-and-out with an 18-yard run to get near midfield; Booker followed that with a 10-yard run. Osweiler hit Anderson for a 14-yard gain that brought the game to the two-minute warning. Austin Traylor got on the game sheet with a 14-yard pickup to set up first-and-goal. Anderson picked up just his third rushing touchdown of the season on a five-yard carry; he and Osweiler connected to convert the two-point try and bring the game back within two scores with 1:18 remaining.

Niles Paul fielded the onside kick and with no timeouts remaining Denver could not stop the clock.

With the win, Washington improves to 7-8. Denver falls to 5-10 with the loss in head coach Vance Joseph‘s first season.

The Broncos will wrap up the 2017 season at home against division rival Kansas City on New Year’s Eve.