Redskins.com’s Brian Tinsman takes a closer look at Sunday afternoon’s brawl with the New York Giants at Metlife Stadium in the Meadowlands, N.J.
After years of teams like the Indianapolis Colts securing the division title in Week 12 and resting starters for the last month of the season, the NFL finally made the move to set teams up with important division games in the final weeks of the season.
Looking at the Redskins schedule in April, closing out the season with the Dallas Cowboys at home and the New York Giants on the road appeared to be what NFC East title would come down to.
But instead of the season boiling down to the final two games, the focus in Redskins Nation has shifted to 2014, with the outcome of both games deemed virtually irrelevant.
Rather, this is an opportunity for seasoning for some, and NFL auditions for others.
And yet the pride remains. No one makes it to the NFL without an insatiable desire to win, and that desire will be put to the test this afternoon in the elements on the road.
There wasn’t one particular moment at which the game turned for the Redskins—it was simply not their day from the start. Missing on a whole slate of opportunities, the indicative moment was likely when the team could not score after recovering a fumble at the 18-yard line. The team’s inability to score inside the red zone was just the latest frustration in a season-long theme.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Although the Redskins were unable to get the ball into the end zone, they were able to taketh away from the Giants adding seven more when
PLAYER OF THE GAME
WHAT WENT RIGHT
--The Giants are far from an offense juggernaut and the Redskins’ defense took advantage in the early going, dominating the line of scrimmage and holding them to zero total yards until midway through the third drive of the day. Even after yielding yards through the air, the rush defense stuffed the Giants, holding them to -1 yards on the first six rushes.
--While he has not had many opportunities to strut his stuff, the Redskins have cultivated the steady development of rookie cornerback
--Kicker Kai Forbath got the blame when he struggled early on special teams, going 5-for-9 to open the season. But he deserves ample credit for turning his season around in Week 10, nailing 13-straight to end the season. He has dealt with lousy field conditions in three of the last four weeks but still managed to nail kicks of 47, 49 and 50 yards. That is the steady production the Redskins expect from Forbath and points to a bounce-back year in 2014.
--Safety Reed Doughty has had another workmanlike season in Washington, filling in solidly at strong safety when
--Undrafted rookie free agent
WHAT WENT WRONG
--Little known Giants receiver Jerrel Jernigan had a remarkable end to the season, catching 80 yards and a touchdown last week in Detroit and serving as a one-man wrecking crew today vs. Washington. He led the Giants in both receiving yards and rushing yards, finishing with 147 yards on eight touches and a touchdown. They simply had no answer for him.
--After spending most of the season as a top-five offense, the Redskins went anemic in the last few weeks of the season. Tallying just 251 yards today, they were held out of the end zone for the second time all season. They converted just five-of-20 third down opportunities and turned the ball over four times.
--The Redskins got bad news before the game started, as outside linebacker
--Orakpo has three career sacks against Eli Manning. With a sack today, he could have tied his career high for sacks in a season (11), set in his rookie season, 2009.
--The Redskins have gotten off to quick starts with
--After appearing in five games last season as a rookie, offensive guard
--Coming into the game with four sacks on the Redskins from the Dec. 1st meeting, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck collected his fifth Washington in the first quarter today. As a former Pro Bowler on a talented defensive front, Tuck is going to get his opportunities. But his performance against Washington is just indicative of the season the Redskins’ pass protection has had.
--The Redskins came into the 2013 season with reason to be hopeful about the depth at defensive end. But since last offseason, the Redskins have placed
--The Redskins running game was less than stellar today, with both
--Missed opportunities: After scoring a whopping 88 points off turnovers this season, the Redskins could not capitalize on the Giants mistakes. With three takeaways today in prime field position, the Redskins managed just a pair of field goals. While that pushes their season total to 94 points off turnover, it was not enough to make the difference in the game. There were also countless other bobbled and deflected passes that were not turned over.
--Redskins punt returner
--Sav Rocca has had a trying season, rarely having enough time to get off clean kicks or the coverage unit to settle his efforts at the other end of the field. One of the concerns during the offseason should be the long-snapping game, which has gone consistently to his right for much of the season. Today, Rocca was fortunate to boot a long punt despite facing the Giants sideline standing in his end zone. It wasn’t pretty, but he got the job done.
--Kirk Cousins was put in a difficult situation, taking over for
The electrifying season of top receiver Pierre Garçon continued today as he caught five receptions for the 16th time this season, becoming just the third receiver in NFL history to do so. The other two were Jimmy Smith of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2001 and Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, also this season.
With no games left on the schedule, the Redskins go into the offseason with their task laid out before them: build a winner for 2014. Retaining most of the NFC East Championship roster was not the answer, so clearly the team needs to focus its efforts with new blood and new health at key positions. The Redskins will be without a first round pick for the final piece of the trade that landed Robert Griffin III, but should draw near the top of each round of the 2014 NFL Draft. With a number of large contracts coming off the books, the Redskins will have a lot of holes but also plenty of money to take care of those needs. There will be a youthful core carried into next season, but expect to see some new faces in burgundy and gold in 2014.
There isn't a whole lot to be said about a loss like this. The scoreboard and box score speak for themselves.
Ultimately, Sunday's loss to the Giants was a reflection on the 2013 season as a whole: glimmers of hope mixed with critical errors, lack of execution and missed opportunities.
The Redskins secured their first 3-13 season since 1994, and ride a tide of negative momentum to an eight-game losing streak to end the season.
There are no excuses to be made and there is no silver lining, other than to know that the next time the Washington Redskinss step onto the field, they will be 0-0 with all of the opportunity in the world.
This is a talented roster that needs some help, playing in a weak NFC East. Never mind that the Redskins finished 0-6 in division play; all four teams have major moves to make this offseason.
With smart personnel moves and a fresh slate in 2014, there is no reason the Redskins cannot exceed last season's success. Stay tuned, Redskins Nation.