The Washington Redskins couldn’t ask for much more motivation than they had for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants: hosting a divisional foe in the final home game of the season and, most importantly, virtually controlling their bid for a second straight playoff berth.
And it still wasn’t enough.
The Redskins fell Sunday afternoon 19-10 to the New York Giants, one of its most crushing losses in recent memory in a game that raised more questions than it answered about Washington’s future as the season came to a close without a playoff berth.
Against a team playing for little other than pride — the 11-5 Giants were already locked into NFC’s fifth seed for the postseason — the Redskins’ offense just couldn’t get on track, as running backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson combined for just 15 carries for 38 yards.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins, whose long-term future with the team is still up in the air, was a pedestrian (if being generous) 22-35 for 287 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions — including a crippling pick to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in Giants territory with less than 1:30 remaining and Washington down three.
When asked whether the team was ready to play, Washington head coach Jay Gruden told reporters he thought so.
“In my gut, I thought so but the results say otherwise,” Gruden said. “Give [the Giants] credit. They played well.”
Washington finished the season at 8-7-1, giving the team its first back-to-back winning campaigns since 1991-92. However, losses in four of their final six games, including two marquee losses in their last two home games, effectively sealed their postseason fate.