With a spot in the post-season on the line, the Washington Redskins needed to take the field looking like they did in their 41-21 win against the Chicago bears last week. Instead, they took the field looking reminiscent of the absolutely lifeless unit from Monday night football against the Panthers (or Steelers... take your pick) and kissed their playoff chances goodbye.
The team, which won the toss and opted to receive for the first time this season, put on a clinic in “How to Play Flat” in the first half, tallying five punts and one missed 57 yard field goal on six drives. On those drives, Kirk Cousins and the offense, struggling to build any kind of rhythm, put up just 87 yards. The team’s biggest play makers from the past few weeks disappeared into the background. No Reed. No Garcon. No Jackson. No Kelley.
Still, Washington’s decimated defense kept the team on life support, holding the New York Giants to just 10 points before Dustin Hopkins finally put the Redskins on the board, hitting a 32 yard field goal with 0:30 left in the third quarter. The unit didn’t play perfectly, and they just couldn’t quite do anything to put the Redskins over the top, but they were the highlight of the game. Its low points came on plays like Josh Norman, who had issues with Odell Beckham, Jr., the entire first half, failing to come away with an interception, and Greg Toler getting beat on a 44 yard pass in New York’s field goal drive late in the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, the game (and many fans’ opinions of the team, its coach, and Kirk Cousins, heading into the off season) came down to a two minute drill. Down by three, the Redskins needed to come up with at least a field goal to put the game into overtime. Cousins managed four pass completions, including two to Chris Thompson, and then came the damning interception that crushed the team’s playoff hopes. Out of the shotgun, Cousins aimed a pass at Pierre Garcon, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie pulled in his second interception of the game. New York proceeded to drive down the field for a field goal and, in a fitting final jab at Washington, recover a fumble on a lateral on the last play of the game and return it for a touchdown.
What changes do you think need to happen after this complete collapse in Week 17 for Washington? Fire Joe Barry? Relieve Jay Gruden of his duties? Say “goodbye” to Kirk Cousins? Give Sean McVay his walking papers? Draft all defensive players? Leave a comment with your reaction below.
By the numbers: Cousins (22/35, 287 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 4 sacks/41 yards), Kelley (12 carries/33 yards), Thompson (3 carries/5 yards, 6 receptions/37 yards), Garcon (4 receptions/96 yards), Reed (5 receptions/40 yards, 1 TD), Mason Foster (17 tackles), Hopkins (1/2 FG, 1/1 XP)