By Kevin Ross II
In the 2016 NFL season finale, the Washington Redskins fell to the New York Giants in a final score of 19-10. This means that Washington’s season is now over—there will be no playoffs and no Super Bowl for the Red Skins in the near future. In what some are calling the worst regular season loss in years, this is how the Redskins grade out.
The offense was supposed to be the strength of this ball club, but it turned out to be a major weakness in the team’s most critical game. To start, Washington was only able to muster up a pedestrian 38-yards rushing on just 15 attempts. The inability to run the football allowed New York to really get after Kirk Cousins. As a result, the offensive line, which has been one of the top units in football, simply could not keep Cousins clean.
Cousins was under constant duress the entire game, and was never able to find the rhythm that has made him one of the league’s most lethal quarterbacks. Cousin’s worst moment of the game occurred on the final drive, where he threw a season-ending interception. This was by far the worst moment of Cousin’s career, and it will be heavily scrutinized for years to come.
Cousins took a brief moment to discuss the play with the media, “saying He [Pierre Garçon] did a good job on his route. The timing of the play was off so I climbed a little to my left and Pierre still was winning and thought I was a little bit late. It felt like across the field he had a chance, but I didn’t get my shoulder closed enough to where I could make that throw accurately, and so the ball was behind him and the corner made a nice play.”
The Giants are one of the worst rushing teams in football, but of course they were able to amass 161 yards against Washington. This has been the defense’s biggest calamity since the preseason, and it cost them in this one. However, overall the defense played one of their better games of the season, and the unit kept Washington in the game. With their season on the line, the defense stepped up big in the second half and held New York to just three points. They also managed to get off of the field on a few huge third down plays. The Redskins defense was certainly not the reason for Washington’s loss.
Special Teams: C
The special teams unit has the most dangerous return man in the league in Jamison Crowder. However, it has become a consistent trend that whenever Crowder explodes for a large return, there is a penalty. This occurred again vs. New York in a tight game in which Washington could not afford to have any explosive plays negated.
Head Coach Jay Gruden failed his team with an inability to manage the clock at the end of the first half. He needed to call a time out immediately following a Chris Thompson first down with 29 seconds left. Instead, he decided to inexplicably save his three time outs and he let the clock continue to run. The Redskins ended up running out of time and not coming away with points to end the half. That could have made the difference in the game, and Gruden is the sole man to blame.