WASHINGTON — The announced attendance (79,471) at FedExField in Week 17 was the second largest of the season, but this was no reason for the Washington Redskins to celebrate. A significant portion of the lower bowl was filled with New York football Giants blue.
The Giants’ Twitter account noted as much before kickoff, showing a swath of the lower levels, presumably behind the Giants’ bench:
But even from a wider angle, the scene was the same: Giants fans had a Big Blue invasion:
There’s no way of knowing exactly what the split was, but as they say, the eye in the sky don’t lie. Neither do the microphones on the field. When the Giants scored their go-ahead field goal, there was an audible cheer from the crowd.
That cheer turned into a roar when the Giants ran back the game-sealing fumble recovery from a touchdown and did not cease until after broadcast ended.
The Redskins had no home-field advantage, and there isn’t a good reason why.
Playoffs on the Line: The Redskins have not been good enough over the last 25 years to take anything for granted, much less a trip to the playoffs. Had the team beaten the Giants, the Redskins would be preparing for their first consecutive trips to the playoffs since the 1990-92 seasons.
That stat is particularly significant because defending division champions play the toughest record of any team in their divisions the following year. Repeat champions are the real deal, able to beat the toughest teams and win consistently. Instead, the Redskins went from a nine-win team to an eight-win team.
History in the Making: Despite middling results, the Redskins had one of the best statistical seasons in franchise history. They also do remarkably well in season finales, going 46-37-2 all-time. According to the team’s website, with Sunday’s performance:
- The Redskins (6,454) broke the franchise record for total yards in a season (6,253 in 1989).
- The 2016 Redskins (403.4) became the first team in franchise history to average 400 yards per game.
- The Redskins had eight players finish the season with at least 500 yards from scrimmage, tying the 2011 New Orleans Saints for the most in a single season in NFL history.
- The team’s 6.40 yards-per-play average ranks 11th by any team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
No Playoff Tickets to Save Up For:
The Redskins’ path to the playoff in recent years has been through division championships, which ensure a home game in the first round. It was reasonable then, that if fans were saving up for a ticket, it would behoove them to spend in the Wild Card round instead of the season finale.
But even if the Redskins had won yesterday, there was no home playoff game to look forward to. The Redskins would have needed to be road warriors in the playoffs, and likely would not see FedExField again until August.
Instead, the Redskins are all going home for the offseason, while Giants fans move on to face the Packers at Lambeau.