Sunday evening the Redskins were in a “win-and-you’re-in” scenario against the Giants, they failed to seize their opportunity as they lost 19-10. Washington went 2-4 in the final six games of the season, playing a huge role in a roller coaster of a season resulting in the final record of 8-7-1.
New York dominated almost every category that mattered like time of possession, sacks given up, rushing yards, first downs gained, and turnovers. Their defense held the Redskins 3rd ranked offense to under 100 yards in the first half. That’s five to six offensive possessions resulting in punts, from a team that had nothing to play for. The Giants played more desperate than the team that was in a win-and-you’re-in scenario.
A common theme down the stretch for Washington was their slow starts, in the final week of the regular season they didn’t reach their 10 points per game average in the first half of games as they trailed 10-0. Defensively the Redskins failed to put up a fight at the line of scrimmage in this game, a game in which Eli played the entire way but handed it off 40 times in this game and they racked up over 160 rushing yards.
There was only one team who showed up all four quarters and they already clinched a playoff berth. The Redskins played the game with no sense of urgency as they did in their losses against the Cardinals and Panthers. Resulting in their third missed opportunity to take hold of the 6th playoff seed. Washington looked unprepared as a whole and Cousins left opportunities to score on the field. The first interception that was indeed a slip when breaking down for a comeback route from receiver Maurice Harris, had another receiver on the field in Jamison Crowder streaking in the middle of the field in the seams of the defense. The second and game clinching interception by New York occurred with the Redskins driving to tie the game up. Those at home saw Kirk with green grass and no defenders ahead of him as he climbed the pocket, but he chose to make a difficult throw over the middle opposite of where his momentum was taking him. Cousins reflected on that sequence in after the game, wishing he had decided to use his legs and leave the pocket.
After the game, Jay called out this constant theme for the 2016 Redskins season. Which has been an abundance of missed opportunities offensively coupled with an inconsistent defense who can’t play a full 60 minutes of football. When asked about inability clinch playoff berth and missed opportunities he stated “We had some opportunities no question about it, and it is frustrating. You feel like defensively, we played good in spurts but we weren’t very consistent. Offensively, obviously with the numbers we put up, WOW, but our redzone offense was awful. So there are a lot of areas that we need to improve on and get better at but statistically, I always believe you get what you deserve in pro football. When you have terrible redzone percentage on offense, terrible third down percentage on defense, terrible redzone percentage on defense throughout the season you are probably going to be standing up here when the seasons over.”
Under Jay Gruden the personnel defensively has been terrible, but the coaching has been no better. They’ve never been better than 19th in points per game with their lowest at 29th. They’ve also never been better than 20th in yards per game, with their lowest at 28th which was the last two seasons. It’s evident heading into this off-season Gruden and General Manager Scot McCloughan have their work cut out for them.
Following their abysmal performance in this type of atmosphere especially with what was at stake, it is difficult to say that next year Jay Gruden will not be coaching for his job. His comments were not solely about players inability to execute, but the coaching staff themselves being consistently underachieving which is one thing anyone can respect about a coach like him, he holds everyone accountable. This is a off-season where Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan philosophies will have to start to mesh. A passing game that can be lethal when the ground game is effective, complimented by a competent defense that is fast a sound across the board.