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If the Giants ultimately end up missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season, just like the last two, they will have themselves to blame for it. Again, the Giants proved to be their own worst enemy in a crucial late season game in Sunday’s 23-10 home loss to the last-place division rival Washington Redskins.
“I’m very disappointed in how we played today. I accept responsibility for it. But I expected to see more quality execution and we didn’t get that,” coach Tom Coughlin said as he spoke to the media after the defeat.
Consistency (or lack there of) has been the key issue for the last two Giants squads that missed out on the playoffs. This year’s team proved to be just as inconsistent as they have once again put serious doubt on their playoff hopes the same exact way they’ve become accustomed to, completely faltering in the second-half of the season. The Giants (7-7) fell a game behind Dallas (8-6) in the NFC East with two games left in the regular season. The Giants go on the “road” next week to play the “home” Jets before wrapping up the regular season when they host Dallas in Week 17.
“I didn’t see the passion in us today. We didn’t play well. We disappointed each other and our fans and we’ve just got to play better,” Brandon Jacobs said in the post-game press conference. “We didn’t want it bad enough.”
Surprisingly, it was Washington (5-9) who looked like a team fighting for the playoffs winning for only the second time in their last 10 games, defeating the Giants for the second time this season. Rex Grossman and the Redskins offense held the ball for 35 minutes, while the ‘Skins defense picked off Eli Manning three times and didn’t allow a touchdown until Ahmad Bradshaw ran in for a 3-yard score in the game’s final minute.
Momentum for the Giants swung early in favor of the Redskins when Hakeem Nicks dropped a sure touchdown pass on a 54-yard, third-down attempt on the Giants second offensive series.
Washington never trailed in the game and were able to take the home crowd out of the game early, opening a 17-0 lead. Grossman (who finished 15 of 24 for 185 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions) threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Santana Moss. Fullback Darrel Young scored on a sneaky 6-yard run after one of the Redskins’ interceptions and Graham Gano kicked three field goals. DeAngelo Hall, O.J. Atogwe and Josh Wilson each had an interception of Manning, who finished 23 of 40 with 257 yards.
Despite losing five of their last six games, the Giants still control their own destiny. If they beat the Jets and the Cowboys in their final two games, they will win the division. However, the Cowboys could wrap up the division themselves with a win over the visiting Philadelphia Eagles and a Giants loss to the Jets. As usual for the Giants, this one looks like it’s going to come down to the wire, and based on today’s results, it certainly isn’t looking good for Big Blue.