In a game where victory likely meant the playoffs, the Redskins' loss to the Giants ended the team's season in challenging fashion.
The quiet that enveloped the Redskins locker room following Sunday's disappointing 19-10 loss to the Giants reflected a variety of feelings from players, some of whom slunk into their lockers while others showered and dressed in solemn affair before exiting the room for the final time this season.
The all-encompassing frustration was the reality of their situation – that their season had ended in Week 17 when it was so close to being extended – and that all the potential discussion about the playoffs, which was highly likely with a victory, was now moot.
"Everybody's hurt, as we should [feel]," cornerback Bashaud Breeland said. "We had the opportunity to go out there and make it to the playoffs and we didn't."
"Any time you lose a game, it's disappointing," defensive end Chris Baker said. "Any time you have a situation in your hands to make it to the next level, and you don't capitalize that, it's disappointing. I love my teammates, I love my coaches, and we just have to find a way to get it done. That's what good teams do. We just weren't good enough this year."
The other emotions arose mostly from the fact that Sunday's game in front of the FedExField crowd was now the final time that this collective group would play together as a unit. With the possibility of some players leaving in free agency and the roster shakeups that inevitably come with each passing season, the gravity of this kind of exit sank in.
"Now tomorrow we have to go inside a building with six-foot black bags and clean everything out," defensive end Ricky Jean Francois said. "This team will never be the same, will never have the same pieces. People will go elsewhere. Most people may stay. Coaching staff may change. This team won't be the same and it just hurts so bad to know you had the team to go out there and do everything."
Jean Francois took a deep breath and exhaled with a shake of his head.
"It just feels like sometimes we don't show up in that big game," he said.
The Redskins began Sunday's contest against the Giants slowly, a trend that cropped up in the last quarter of the season that put the team into challenging holes early. New York forced several three-and-outs in the first quarter and converted a handful of third downs on offense, taking control of the time of possession and refusing to let the Redskins find a rhythm.
Washington regained momentum in the fourth quarter, tying the game up on a Jordan Reed touchdown pass, but couldn't capitalize on the ensuing drive. Their early lethargy caught up with them. The Giants re-took the lead and wouldn't relinquish it.
"I think that they dialed up a few blitzes that kind of got us off, kind of caught us off guard," wide receiver Jamison Crowder said.
"It kind of seemed like the first half was a bit of a snowball effect and kind of had the perfect storm almost," center Spencer Long said. "But you know what, that's…everything's not going to go your way in football. You've just got to keep battling through."
Players gave no excuses and credited New York for battling throughout the entire game. The prevailing sentiment, one that will take its time to realize for some, is that an outcome like this will only make them stronger.
"This isn't my first time dealing with this," said quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw for 287 yards and a touchdown but whose second interception in the final minute sealed the Redskins' fate. "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."
"I'll look back at this season, maybe a week from now, two weeks, a month and I can honestly say that we played some good football," tight end Vernon Davis said. "We played some good football, despite the peaks and valleys and the lows, all the adversity and turmoil that we had to face at times, we still played some good football and we have a lot of winners on this team, a lot of guys who didn't give up. They didn't give up, they kept fighting and those are guys that I want on my team. I'm sure the rest of my teammates can attest to that and they can say the same thing, but we have a bunch of winners on this team and I'm elated to be able to be a part of this 2016 team and very, very thankful."