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Redskins Season Ends in Heartbreak


Will Fairfax
In the biggest game of the year the Redskins crumbled. | Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins had a lot of memorable moments during the 2016 season. Unfortunately the bad memories overshadow the good ones. The Redskins 19-10 loss to the Giants ended Washington’s season as they fell just short of the playoffs.

The Redskins came into the game needing a win to make the playoffs. The Giants already had the fifth seed in the NFC locked up regardless of the outcome of their final regular season game.

Washington came out flat in the first half and played their worst half of football this season. The Redskins opened the game with two straight three and outs and punted on five consecutive possessions. Their other first half possession ended in a missed 57-yard field goal.  

The Giants came out as the hungrier team despite having nothing to play for. The Redskins have the third ranked offense in the NFL. In key situations though they have not played good enough. The first half against the Giants is the perfect example.

Washington had 10 yards rushing in the first half and quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked three times. Cousins played poorly in the first half, but his offensive line and the running game were doing him no favors.

Cousins threw an interception towards the end of the third quarter. Up to that point the Redskins had not even put up a fight.

On the following drive the Redskins offense finally got something going on a field goal drive that slimmed the Giants lead to 10-3.

The Redskins rushing game gained traction early in the fourth quarter. The rushing attacked helped open up the Redskins offense on their touchdown drive that tied the game at 10-10.

The Redskins defense forced a three and out giving the Redskins offense the ball with 6:01 left in the game. Washington abandoned the running game on the drive throwing three straight incompletions. The Redskins punted and the Giants responded with a field goal to take a 13-10 lead.

Despite how poorly the Redskins had played they had a chance to take the lead. With 2:12 left in the game the Redskins looked to Cousins to lead them to victory.

Cousins started off the drive well throwing four straight completions to give Washington a first and 10 at the Giants 43 yard line. With everything on the line Cousins crumbled.

He threw a season ending interception. Cousins was indecisive and threw the ball late to wide receiver Pierre Garcon. It was only first down so Cousins should have even been more decisive or thrown the ball away.

Cousins not only cost the Redskins a chance at the playoffs, but also cost himself millions of dollars as he is a free agent this offseason.

The former Michigan State Spartan played poorly in one of the most important games of his career. Despite his poor play this loss does not fall just on him.

The Giants ran for 161 yards compared to the Redskins 38 rushing yards. The old adage that the team that controls the line of scrimmage usually wins rings true in this game. Washington was beat up on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

The Redskins defense played a decent game, but they did not force a turnover. Washington was not opportunistic on defense down the stretch this season.

The Redskins did not start or end the season well. Washington started off 0-2 and finished the season losing four of their last six games.

2016 was a season of missed opportunities. Cousins threw a backbreaking interception against the Cowboys in week two. The Redskins defense could not close out the game against the Lions in week seven. In week 13 against the Cardinals the defense gave up three straight touchdowns at the end of the game.  

On Monday Night Football the Redskins laid an egg against the Panthers in week 15. Cousins played particularly poorly. In week 17 the Redskins entire team did not play with any sense of urgency with everything on the line.

It will be an interesting offseason as Cousins played two of his worst games in week 15 and week 17. If the Redskins had won either game they would be in the playoffs.

Despite everything Washington has to retain Cousins for 2017. He threw for 4,917 yards (3rd most), 25 touchdowns and had a 67 percent completion percentage. Cousins led a prolific offense that went up and down the field, but struggled in the red zone.

Cousins had his ups and downs in 2016, but he is too good a quarterback to let go. A number of teams would kill to have Kirk Cousins as their starting quarterback. Don’t believe me?

Look at the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns quarterback situation.

It will be a long offseason for the Redskins after a heartbreaking loss.  

Will Fairfax is a Washington Redskins staff writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @WillFairfax1.  You can also follow Redskins content on PFS on Twitter @spot_redskins.

 


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