In what could possibly be the last game in burgundy and gold for a number of players, including quarterback Kirk Cousins, cornerback Bashaud Breeland, and safety DeAngelo Hall (who was inactive today), Washington took the field to face off against the New York Giants in MetLife Stadium. The Redskins, however, failed to put together a fiery performance in their final contest of the season, and they ultimately lost to the Giants, bringing their 2017 record to a final 7-9.
After winning the toss and deferring to the second half, Washington started the game on defense. Quickly, New York, the 29th ranked rushing offense in the league, took to the ground to kick the Redskins in the gut. Orleans Darkwa found a hole and, with a combination of slow adjusting players and missed tackles, gashed the Washington defense for a 75 yard touchdown run. The special teams unit, which has frequently been not so special this season, came up with a blocked extra point and safety D.J. Swearinger made an often boring play into an exciting one as he broke free and attempted to run the blocked kick back for points.
Cousins and the offense then took the field for a failed offensive effort. Running back Samaje Perine went down with a right ankle injury and had to be helped off the field. On the very next play, Cousins, facing pressure of his right-hand side threw an ill-advised pass, missing the linebacker in the middle of the field who undercut the pass and picked it off. Ty Nsekhe also got injured on the drive, limping off the field and adding to the Redskins’ injury woes.
New York then started on Washington’s 19 yard line and needed only two plays before returning to the end zone. Following Manning’s 16 yard touchdown pass, New York tried to go for two to make up for the earlier missed point, but Washington’s defense negated their efforts and held the score to 12-0.
Following another stalled offensive effort by the Redskins, including an incomplete pass over the middle to Jameson Crowder who was in a position to get drilled, linebacker Preston Smith gave the team some life. He stepped in front of, batted at, and intercepted Manning’s pass, putting the Redskins offense in a position to make up for their early struggles. After taking over on the New York 20, Cousins ultimately kept the ball on a read option and ran it in to the left-corner of the end zone, bringing the score to 12-7.
New York answered with another strong drive, continuing to gash the Redskins’ run defense. By the end of this sixth series, which ended in a New York field goal, the Giants had managed to hang 105 yards on the Redskins.
Special teams continued with their stumbles, as Breeland muffed the ensuing kickoff and both teams had a chance at recovery. Ultimately, Washington did recover the ball, but the drive stalled out after 9 plays and punter Tress Way pinned New York inside their own 10.
The first half wrapped up with a some positives, including a pair of sacks by Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, and a series of errors from the Redskins, including a clipping call against rookie Tyler Catalina, a delay of game call against Cousins, and a sack of Cousins as Brandon Scherff got beat by his defender, and the teams went into the half with a score of 15-10, New York - Washington.
And if the first half was painful, the second half was bordering on torturous as two teams with losing records spent 30 minutes of game time going back and forth, making errors, kicking punts, and adding just three points to the scoreboard.
Cousins, who made several poor throws today, started the second half with his offense going just two plays before turning over the ball on an underthrown pass intended for receiver Ryan Grant. However, the Giants failed to capitalize on the turnover, and the next combined drives by both teams all ended fruitlessly. The Redskins had two drives that ended in punts and one frustrating drive of seven plays, their second longest series of the game, that ended in a missed field goal. The defense, though, did hold the Giants to three punts before winning a slight moral victory by keeping New York’s 10 play, 52 yard drive out of the end zone. (New York did pick up the aforementioned only three points of the second half on that drive and bring the score to 18-10.)
Following New York’s field goal, the Redskins had three more opportunities to even up the score and capitalize on the defense’s successes in holding the Giants to just punts. The defense’s efforts were led primarily by linebackers Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight, as well as Swearinger and safety Deshazor Everett. This was, for Vigil, his second week in a row leading the team in tackles.
Regardless of the defense’s attempts to keep Washington in the game, the offense fell short. The Redskins went three and out twice before their final chance at the ball in the game. With just over three minutes left, Cousins and his teammates took over at the Washington 27 yard line. They picked up four yards on a short pass from Cousins to Josh Doctson on first down, but second down all but sealed the game as Cousins was again intercepted as he targeted Grant over the middle. Needing one first down to be able to run out the clock, New York picked it up on a 21 yard run by Wayne Gallman, and the game was over.
The Redskins leave today’s loss with a multitude of questions to be answered. Will Jay Gruden be the head coach next season? (All signs point to “yes.”) Will Kirk Cousins be the quarterback next season? (If you know, please let us know the winning Powerball numbers for the next drawing.) Will there be changes in the front office? (Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely.) Will shake ups take place in the lower ranks of the coaching staff? (Maybe.) Will the Redskins find the cure to the devestating injury bug that decimated their ranks this season? (Players and fans can only hope so.) Which Hogs Haven writer made the most correct predictions at the start of the season? (Let’s start by revisiting our pre-season predictions here and giving credit to Cadillactica, Hog Hunter, and Mark Tyler for calling the 7-9 record. I was one game too optimistic with an 8-8 call.)
And with that, we leave you with a final question in our poll below. Let us know your thoughts on today’s game, and happy new year, Redskins nation.
How would you grade Washington’s performance today against the New York Giants?
This poll is closed