LANDOVER, Md. -- The Washington Redskins trailed the New York Giants, 28-14, following the first offensive play of the second half on Sunday afternoon.
But in that moment, the score was not as important as the player down on the FedExField grass: rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
As Haskins readied to take a sack, two Giants defenders contorted his body before bringing him to the ground. The 15th overall pick remained there for several minutes, writhing in pain, before limping towards the tunnel with trainers. He then hopped on the team's medical cart and headed off into the locker room, officially listed as questionable, then downgraded to doubtful, to return with an ankle injury.
Haskins would not retake the field Sunday -- veteran Case Keenum replaced him and played valiantly in the Redskins' 41-35 overtime loss -- but he did walk back onto the sidelines with a trainer not long after leaving the field of play. Haskins then told reporters in his postgame press conference that he wanted to go back into the game but was not allowed by the medical staff. When asked about his availability for Week 17 in Dallas, he said, "I want to play. If I can, I will. It's just an ankle sprain."
These are encouraging signs for Haskins following a serious injury scare, which cut short another promising half of football for the reigning NFL Rookie of the Week. Haskins completed 12 of his 15 passes Sunday for 133 yards and two touchdowns, hitting several different receivers to easily carve up the Giants' defense for the first 30 minutes of game action.
"[Offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell] has done a great job calling plays and getting me into a great spot to move the chains and putting the offense in the position to score," Haskins said after the game. "I applaud Kevin and I applaud the offensive line, receivers making plays. But I feel that I can be so much better."
Before Haskins even stepped foot on the field, the Giants kicked off the scoring with a 5-play, 75-yard drive, which ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass from fellow rookie quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. But it was not long before the Redskins answered with a 75-yard possession of their own. Haskins completed all four of his passes to three different receivers, including a 10-yard touchdown pass on the run to Steven Sims Jr.
Following a 67-yard touchdown burst from running back Saquon Barkley on the ensuing possession, the Redskins were back on the offensive: 12 plays, 75 more yards and seven more points. With a six-yard touchdown from Haskins to tight end Hale Hentges, the game was all tied at 14 early in the second quarter.
The first four drives were emblematic of how the entire NFC East showdown unfolded Sunday. The Redskins' offense methodically moved down the field, eventually scoring points against an inexperienced Giants secondary. The issue was that the Redskins were also dealing with a variety of problems in the defensive backfield, and the Giants took full advantage.
Back from an ankle injury, Jones completed 28 of his 42 passes and set career highs in passing yards (352) and touchdowns (five). Barkley ran for a career-high 189 rushing yards -- breaking the mark he set against the Redskins in Week 4 of 2018 -- and added 90 receiving yards and two touchdowns. As a whole, Washington's defense allowed a season-high 41 points and 552 yards of total offense -- the latter of which is the most since 2013.
"He's a premier back," interim head coach Bill Callahan said of Barkley. "We talked about him all week long, and that was the No. 1 goal and must for our defense in this game was to really contain 26. We didn't accomplish that."
Despite the Giants' offensive explosion, the Redskins gave themselves a chance to pull out the divisional win with a gutsy fourth-quarter comeback. Nate Orchard reinvigorated a quiet FedExField crowd with a blocked punt, and after a pass interference set the Redskins up at the one-yard line, Adrian Peterson rumbled into the end zone for his 111th-career rushing touchdown, passing Walter Payton for fourth on the NFL's all-time list.
The Giants subsequently missed a field goal, and then both teams traded punts, giving the Redskins the ball back midway through the final frame. Needing a touchdown, the hosts were backed up to their own goal line.
Over the course of 5 minutes, 59 seconds, Washington marched 99 yards down the field on 14 plays to tie the game. And with just 29 seconds left to play, the Giants did not have enough time to get into field goal range before the end of regulation.
Keenum, who scored the game-tying touchdown with a one-yard run, completed 16 of his 22 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown in relief. But once the game went into overtime, he never saw the field. The Giants won the toss, elected to receive and sliced down the field in 11 plays to secure the NFC East victory.
"We just didn't finish," said Terry McLaurin, who finished with seven receptions for 86 yards. "They made more plays than us down the stretch. NFC East is going to go back and fourth. We knew it was going to go down to the wire, but they made more plays than us and you've got to give them credit."