LANDOVER – Silence fell over FedExField as Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins rifled an interception to the New York Giants’ Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the waning seconds of the game.
Rodgers-Cromartie corralled his second interception of the game and allowed the Giants to seal the game late, 19-10. In a match where all of the chips were on the table for the Redskins to secure a Wild Card spot, the offense came out flat. Cousins failed to find any consistency throwing the ball, and it contributed to the Redskins’ demise. He completed 22-of-35 attempts for 287 yards and a game-tying touchdown to Jordan Reed, but accounted for two costly interceptions to Rodgers-Cromartie.
“(Cousins) is such an accurate passer, he feels like he can make those tight-window throws,” said Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden.“Rodgers-Cromartie, one of the best corners/nickels in the league, made the undercut and made a great play. Not a great decision. (Cousins) was trying his best to make a great throw and a great play by Rodgers-Cromartie.”
Still, Cousins tried to look on the bright side of things after the game.
“This isn’t my first time dealing with this. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. I sound like a broken record, but I’m going to keep saying that until I’m retired,” Cousins said. “All I know is it’s going to give me an edge. I’m going to go into this offseason with a hunger that has always been there, but certainly, when the season ends this way, it will be there and it will be strong.”
On top of Cousins' offensive woes, Washington also failed to move the ball on the ground against the Giants’ defensive front. Backs Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson accounted for just 15 carries between them, totaling 38 yards.
“They’re a good run defense first of all,” Gruden said. “Got to give the Giants credit, Coach (Ben) McAdoo. We knew they’d have their team ready to play, and we just didn’t get enough good run lanes for our backs. Other than that, I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if we just got beat up front, man-handled, or we just mistargeted or what. I’ve got to check out the film, but it wasn’t pretty in the running game.”
The Giants quickly asserted their dominance by scoring 10 points early. Kicker Robbie Gould nailed a 22-yard field goal on the Giants’ second possession of the game, and then Rashad Jennings bulldozed his way into the endzone on a 2-yard run on the ensuing possession at the beginning of the second quarter.
Washington didn't find itself in a position to score until the final minutes of the third quarter. Cousins hit University of Maryland alumnus Vernon Davis for a 31-yard bomb to finally make a move for some points. However, the Giants’ defense stood firm and held Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins to a 32-yard field goal.
The Redskins started to gain the momentum they couldn't achieve in the first half after the Giants’ following possession stalled out. Cousins engineered the best drive of the game when he led an 11-play, 76-yard drive that was capped off on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Reed, tying the game up in the process.
Nevertheless, Gould retook the lead with a late 40-yard field goal, and the Rodgers-Cromartie interception changed the tide. In a last ditch effort for a miracle comeback on the final play of the game, Cousins completed a pass to Reed, who attempted to throw a lateral. However, Trevin Wade recovered the lateral and coasted into the endzone from 11 yards out to score the final points of the match.
When asked how long the loss will hurt, Gruden, he had this reation.
“Forever,” Gruden said. “I remember all the losses more than I remember the wins, that’s for sure – especially season enders. These guys work hard. I like being around these guys. I like coaching these guys. Coaches worked hard. We’ve got a great group in there. It’s disappointing to see it end. That’s the way it was, and we have to face it. We have to learn from it and grow from it.”