Redskins lose their grip on second wild card spot with loss
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.
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.