COMMENTARY | Yet again, the Washington Redskins fell at home in primetime, this time to the New York Giants on Sunday night football, 24-17. The Redskins started off the game very well, but things fell apart in a hurry for Washington.
Washington jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but quickly squandered that and the teams were tied at 14 entering the half. Kai Forbath then connected on a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 17-14 as the two teams went to the fourth quarter. In the final quarter of play, New York scored 10 unanswered points to win 24-17.
Unfortunately, the game ended in controversy, as Redskins games always do. The referees incorrectly moved the chains and gave Washington a first down. On the ensuing play, Fred Davis dropped a deep pass from Robert Griffin III. Following the play, head referee Jeff Triplette then announced that the previous play was actually third down, not first down, and that the next play would be fourth down. Will Hill then stripped Pierre Garçon of the football on the next play to end the game.
Following the Redskins' playoff eliminating defeat, here are five takeaways.
Number 1: One Good Quarter
Offensively, the Redskins had one really good quarter. Washington had three drives in the first quarter and two of them ended in touchdowns. They took their first drive 73 yards on 14 plays and then took their third drive of the game 59 yards on eight plays for the score.
The Redskins had nine more drives and just one of them eclipsed 50 yards. That was their final drive before the half, which produced no points, and ended on a 20-yard run by Robert Griffin III as the clock expired. Six of those final nine drives went for 12 yards or less.
Number 2: Defense Played Well Enough to Win
Washington held the Giants to 286 yards of total offense including just 80 yards on the ground. New York managed to go just 4-12 on third down. Brandon Meriweather came up big for Washington when he picked off Eli Manning in the third quarter.
Late in the fourth quarter, Washington made a key stop and forced a punt when New York started with the ball on their own 43 yard line. The defense played well enough to win, but were let down by the offense.
Number 3: Perry Riley Jr. Showed Up Again
Redskins linebacker Perry Riley Jr. showed up and showed out again. He led the Redskins with nine total tackles and one pass deflection on a deep pass down the sideline in the second half. All season long, Riley has been making plays, he leads the team with 82 total tackles, and he's not getting enough attention. Take notice of his effort.
Number 4: Can't Blame the Refs
While the ending to the game was controversial, you can't place blame for the loss on the referees. There is no doubt that they affected the ending, but there were missed opportunities on the part of the Redskins that doomed them. We've already gone over the offensive struggles and they were evermore present on the final drive.
Washington had three dropped passes on that drive. Logan Paulsen, Pierre Garçon and Fred Davis all dropped passes. On their final play, Garçon was stripped of the football by Will Hill. While the officials certainly didn't help their chances, Washington made plenty of mistakes of their own to contribute to this loss.
Number 5: Officially Eliminated
The Redskins are now officially eliminated from the playoffs. From here on out, Washington is playing for pride and not much more than that. They finish out their season against the Chiefs, at the Falcons, against the Cowboys and at the Giants in their final game. Finding a way to win a couple of football games will go far in helping relieve the stress of this poor season and it'll make the offseason a little more bearable in terms of the media attention that they'll be receiving.
Following the Redskins loss to the Giants, there is plenty of blame to go around. The offensive line allowed pressure, receivers dropped footballs, the defense gave up big plays and the list goes on. Washington has a lot of work to do if they don't want to get embarrassed by the Chiefs this coming Sunday. If there's a silver lining, it's that the Redskins don't have to play a primetime, nationally televised game for the rest of the season.
Brian Skinnell is a contributor for RantSports.com and Yahoo Sports covering the Washington Redskins, Wizards and NASCAR among others. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brian_Skinnell.
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