Red­skins lose their grip on sec­ond wild card spot with loss

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TOMMY CHALK

Sun­day’s 31-23 loss to the Ari­zona Car­di­nals cost the 6-5-1 Red­skins their hold on the sec­ond wild card spot in the NFC play­off stand­ings, as the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers moved ahead of Wash­ing­ton with a win over the San Diego Charg­ers.

The Red­skins’ ef­fort didn’t in­spire thoughts of play­offs and af­ter the game the play­ers and coach Jay Gru­den didn’t even want to dis­cuss the post­sea­son. “There’s no talk of play­offs over here,” Gru­den said. “We’re try­ing to win the next game. We’re not even close to think­ing about play­offs over here.”

Af­ter the loss, Gru­den was heard in the locker room from the next room over, yelling at the team. Cor­ner­back Josh Nor­man said it was prob­a­bly the mad­dest he had ever seen Gru­den.

“He be­lieved a lot in us and we put a lot on his plate and we just have to ex­e­cute,” Nor­man said. “We have to ex­e­cute bet­ter and it’s on us to do that, and coach is go­ing to coach and play­ers just have to play. We’re play­ing hard. We just have to come up with one or two things here and there to swing the ball our way.”

The Red­skins have four games re­main­ing on the sched­ule. With the Philadel­phia Ea­gles, who also lost Sun­day, up next and the New York Giants to end the sea­son, Wash­ing­ton can do some se­ri­ous dam­age to their NFC East foes. But, now, the Red­skins have to rely on out­side help. They no longer con­trol their own des­tiny.

“We never go in and take one off,” quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins said. “Re­gard­less of the record, we are go­ing to play hard all the way through, and our ap­proach would have been no dif­fer­ent re­gard­less of the out­come of this game.”

The Buc­ca­neers have two match-ups against the 5-7 New Or­leans Saints, a game against the 4-7 Carolina Pan­thers and one tough bat­tle against the 11-1 Dal­las Cow­boys. Help may be tough to get for the Red­skins, but, at this point, they’re more con­cerned about them­selves any­way. Af­ter all, if they don’t win, it won’t mat­ter.

“Step it up or be left home,” line­backer Su’a Cravens said of Gru­den’s over­all mes­sage.

In­jury re­port

In the sec­ond quar­ter of the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins’ 31-23 loss to the Ari­zona Car­di­nals, cen­ter Spencer Long went down with an in­jury be­fore be­ing helped off of the field.

Ini­tially, Long was given a con­cus­sion test and was cleared, but a shoul­der in­jury made him ques­tion­able for the game. As the Red­skins took the field for the sec­ond half, Long was re-eval­u­ated for a con­cus­sion and placed in the con­cus­sion pro­to­col, rul­ing him out for the re­main­der of the game.

Long was re­placed by John Sul­li­van. Long wasn’t the only Red­skins player to go down with in­jury. In the fourth quar­ter, safety Will Black­mon launched him­self at Car­di­nals wide re­ceiver Larry Fitzger­ald. Black­mon hit the ground and did not get up. He was later helped off the field and would not re­turn.

Ac­cord­ing to Gru­den, Black­mon is deal­ing with two sep­a­rate in­juries, one be­ing a con­cus­sion.

“Long is a con­cus­sion,” Gru­den said. “He’ll be in the pro­to­col. Black­mon is un­der­go­ing test­ing for a stinger slash con­cus­sion. We’ll have bet­ter an­swers for you later.”

Left tackle Ty Nsekhe briefly left the game with a left an­kle in­jury. He was re­placed by Vin­ston Pain­ter but later re­turned to the game.

Both Long and Black­mon were un­avail­able for com­ment fol­low­ing the game.

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