By Kevin Ross II
The Washington Redskins find themselves mathematically eliminated from playoff contention following a 24-17 loss to the New York Giants. The Redskins were off to a hot start as Robert Griffin led them on two first-quarter scoring drives, and they lead New York 14-0. But the Redskins never again saw the end zone as the typical problems that have plagued this team all season long resurfaced.
This is how Washington grades out on a very miserable Monday for Redskins nation.
Robert Griffin III Grade: B
Robert Griffin started Sunday’s game with a purpose as he completing 16 of his first 17 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Griffin displayed maturity from the pocket as he calmly went through multiple progressions to find open receivers. The naysayers who claim that Griffin has regressed as a pocket passer may want to rethink that notion, as Griffin’s strides were evident against the Giants. Robert Griffin also added 88 yards rushing on only 12 carries and was certainly the best player on the field for Washington.
The Offensive Line: Grade D
The offensive line and its porous pass protection was on full display during the second half against the Giants. The line was able to keep Griffin clean for the first half, but things drastically changed after halftime. Justin Tuck, who entered the game with only 2.5 sacks on the year, dominated the right side of the Redskins line and ended the game with four sacks on Robert Griffin III. Tuck was a force, and he single-handedly turned the momentum of the game in New York’s favor.
The Redskins at the very least need two new offensive lineman as the offseason approaches. Both Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus have both proven to be backup offensive lineman at best, and need to be replaced as soon as possible. Look to see guards Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis, and tackle Tom Compton get more playing as the season nears conclusion.
Special Teams: Grade D
The Special teams unit for the Redskins once again played a major role in causing the ball club to fail. This time the long snapper Kyle Nelson rolled a ball to Sav Rocca, causing Rocca to shank a punt for only 18 yards which gave the Giants excellent field position. The Giants went four-plays, for 46 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown. It’s seems as if the correct question would be not if, but when, does special teams coach Keith Burns get his walking papers.
Referees Grade: D-
The officiating crew made an epic mistake in the final minutes of the game that certainly played a role in determining the game’s outcome. WIth the game winding down, Pierre Garcon made a catch that seemed to come up just short of the first down. Normally the officials would measure such a play, but coach Shanahan was told by an official that a measurement was not needed, because the play resulted in a first down. The chains moved, and the markers declared 1st-and-10. Thinking it was first down the Redskins threw a deep pass to Fred Davis which was dropped. However, following the drop the makers were moved back and it was determined that it was actually fourth down as the officials proclaimed that the first down was erroneously awarded.
The Redskins were baffled, but they couldn’t challenge or refute the play. Pierre Garcon was then stripped of the ball on fourth down and the game was over. This has to be one of most bizarre officiating mistakes in league history, and parallels the mischief once demonstrated by the replacement refs.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.