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Week 16: Giants 17, Redskins 14

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Gameday Graphic for Game on 1/2/2011

So it ends.

With one victory in the last six games. With the franchise quarterback acquired in a trade on the bench and possibly on his way out. With yet another close loss and another glut of turnovers and another season of double-digit defeats and another lease payment on the basement condo in the NFC East.

The Redskins' season expired on a chilly and damp Sunday at FedExField, a sour counterpoint to the recent holiday festivities. If the Redskins had anything to play for beyond their jobs next season – no small consideration, that – it was knocking the New York Giants out of the playoffs and they couldn't do that.

They fell 17-14 to the Giants, saw the season series swept for the third consecutive year, even as the Giants were eliminated from the postseason picture by the Green Bay Packers' 10-3 defeat of the Chicago Bears.

Last in the NFL in total defense. Last in the NFC East. At 6-10, two games better than 2009's unhappy 4-12. Beaten at home. Again.

"I always like to end the year on a positive note," coach Mike Shanahan said. "We had a couple of opportunities. Very disappointing we couldn't finish."

Or start.

They trailed 10-0 early, in part because of Graham Gano's missed field goal try of 30 yards. They turned the ball over four times and scored touchdowns on only two of their 13 possessions. They lost despite forcing the Giants to punt four consecutive times in the fourth quarter.

They got as close as 10-7 and again as close as 17-14. They didn't come back and win. They didn't come back and tie.

"The most frustrating part of the game was that we were moving the ball and having some drives and then something would happen to stop the drive," quarterback Rex Grossman said after his third start in relief of Donovan McNabb.

Something being a code word for turnovers.

McNabb committed 16 turnovers in the 13 games he played. Grossman accounted for eight in three. Against the Giants, he lost two fumbles and threw an interception that the Giants parlayed into a missed field goal try.

This loss might have come right off the photocopier. Looked just like most of the other games, some of them wins. This was a team that was rarely more than a play away from winning or a play away from losing.

The Redskins (6-10) competed and hung in and hung on in tight contests all season. Yet after splitting their first 10 games, the victories all but disappeared and the losses accrued. Six victories, three in overtime. Since the halfway point of the 2008 season, the Redskins are 12-28.

New offense, new defense, new coaches, new players. Everybody had a lot to learn and not everybody will be back to show off that hard-won knowledge. Teams that finish 6-10, rank in the lower third of the league in offense and at the bottom on defense will no doubt alter their rosters.

Yet hope never dies. Grossman, whose one-year contract expires in March, wants very much to return and flat-out said: "I expect the Redskins to win the NFC East next year."

Raising the bar before we've lowered the curtain? Please.

Some of the Redskins took their exit physicals after the game and others must go through that medical check-out on Monday morning. Shanahan and the coaching staff will spend the next two weeks grading film, assessing performances, thinking about changes that should and could be made for the 2011 season.

"I think at the end of the first year, especially in the next two weeks, that we look at everything," Shanahan said. "We look at personnel and we look at our scheme. Then you've got to make a decision on what you can do to better your football team and your organization. That is what we will do for the next few months."

McNabb? Albert Haynesworth? Clinton Portis? Phillip Daniels? Decisions, decisions. As the Redskins got themselves ready to play the Giants, second-year defensive back Kevin Barnes said he realized "it might be the last time I play with some of these guys."

What did change bring this year? Under Shanahan, the Redskins went 2-4 in division games, as opposed to 0-6 in '09. The Redskins went 2-6 at FedExField, against 3-5 a year ago. The defensive ranking fell through the floor though the turnover production was better. The high-profile quarterback, McNabb, threw a career-high 15 interceptions before being seated for the final three games so that the coaching staff could evaluate Grossman.

It seemed to be a season played in a sooty sort of twilight. The victories lacked the shining beacons of excellence. The losses were a mirror image, often bitterly contested but not marked by singular breakdowns but rather by the simple failure to get a key stop on a third down or prevent a late score.

This is how it ends. Six wins, four of them by three points. Six wins, by a total of 23 points. Ten losses – one by one point, four by three points, one by four points.

This tumultuous season, marked by the Haynesworth battles and McNabb benchings, is over. The 2010 Redskins are no more. They played their games, made their contributions, perhaps helped lay the foundation for better days.

Now, like 2010 itself, they are gone, a memory and no more.


PRE-GAME COVERAGE

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The Redskins close out the 2010 season against NFC East rival New York Giants this Sunday, Jan. 2, at FedExField.

Kickoff has been flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET. (It was originally a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.)

The Redskins-Giants game is presented by Verizon FiOS. Verizon is the Exclusive Triple Play Provider of the Washington Redskins!

FedExField is a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 91,704.

It's the Redskins' sixth and final NFC East game this season. With a 2-3 mark so far this season, they are looking to finish at .500 in the division.

The Redskins have defeated the Dallas Cowboys (13-7 in Week 1) and Philadelphia Eagles (17-12 in Week 4) and lost to the Eagles (59-28 in Week 9), Giants (31-7 in Week 13) and Cowboys (33-30 in Week 15).

The Giants are 2-3 in divisional play, with wins over the Cowboys and Redskins and losses to the Eagles twice and the Cowboys.

In home games, the Redskins are 2-5 this season. On the road, the Giants are 4-3.

The game will be televised on FOX. Sam Rosen calls the play-by-play with color commentary by Tim Ryan. Laura Omkin reports from the sidelines.

On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on ESPN 980 and the Redskins Radio Network. Larry Michael calls the play-by-play with former Redskins and Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff adding color commentary. Former Redskin Rick 'Doc' Walker reports from the sidelines.


PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

OFFENSE
Pos. Redskins Giants
WR 89 Santana Moss 88 Hakeem Nicks
LT 71 Trent Williams 66 David Diehl
LG 78 Kory Lichtensteiger 69 Rich Seubert
C 61 Casey Rabach 60 Shaun O'Hara
RG 63 Will Montgomery 76 Chris Snee
RT 77 Jammal Brown 67 Kareem McKenzie
TE 47 Chris Cooley 89 Kevin Boss
WR 13 Anthony Armstrong 82 Mario Manningham
QB 8 Rex Grossman 10 Eli Manning
FB 45 Mike Sellers 86 Bear Pascoe
RB 46 Ryan Torain 27 Brandon Jacobs
DEFENSE
Pos. Redskins Giants
DE 94 Adam Carriker 72 Osi Umenyiora
NT/DE 76 Anthony Bryant 99 Chris Canty
DE/DT 91 Vonnie Holliday 96 Barry Cofield
LB/DE 99 Andre Carter 91 Justin Tuck
LB 59 London Fletcher 53 Keith Bulluck
LB 52 Rocky McIntosh 54 Jonathan Goff
LB 98 Brian Orakpo 59 Michael Boley
CB 23 DeAngelo Hall 23 Corey Webster
CB 22 Carlos Rogers 24 Terrell Thomas
SS 37 Reed Doughty 21 Kenny Phillips
FS 41 Kareem Moore 26 Antrel Rolle
SPECIAL TEAMS
Pos. Redskins Giants
P 1 Sam Paulesco 6 Matt Dodge
K 4 Graham Gano 9 Lawrence Tynes
H 1 Sam Paulescu 17 Sage Rosenfels
LS 57 Nick Sundberg 51 Zak DeOssie
KOR 16 Brandon Banks 15 Darius Reynaud
PR 16 Brandon Banks 15 Darius Reynaud


SERIES HISTORY

The Redskins and New York Giants have played each other every year since 1932, with the Giants leading the series 91-62-4 (including postseason).

The two teams have played each other more than any other team in each club's history.

The Giants have won five consecutive games against the Redskins, including twice in 2009. Since 2006, the Giants own an 8-1 record against the Redskins.

One month ago, in Week 13 on Dec. 5, the Giants handed the Redskins a 31-7 loss at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Led by running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants compiled 197 rushing yards and four touchdowns against the Redskins' defense.

In Week 1 of the 2009 season, the Giants defeated the Redskins 23-17 at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands.

In what turned out to be a pivotal play, defensive end Osi Umenyiora stripped quarterback Jason Campbell of the ball in the second quarter and scooped up the fumble. He raced 37 yards for a touchdown.

Fourteen weeks later, in a nationally televised Monday night contest, the Giants dominated the Redskins in a 45-12 victory at FedExField.

The Redskins' first-ever game in Washington, D.C., was against the Giants. On Sept. 16, 1937, the Redskins defeated the Giants 13-3 in front of 19,941 fans at D.C. Stadium.

The Redskins and Giants have played twice in the postseason, once in 1943 with the Redskins winning 28-0 to advance to the NFL Championship game.

In 1986, the Giants defeated Joe Gibbs's Redskins 17-0 in the NFC Championship game at Giants Stadium.


TALE OF THE TAPE

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REDSKINS 2010 RANKINGS
Offense Rank Yards/Game
Total Offense 19 332.6
Rushing Offense 29 92.9
Passing Offense 10 239.7
Defense Rank Yards/Game
Total Defense 32 393.5
Rushing Defense 25 130.6
Passing Defense 31 262.9

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GIANTS 2010 RANKINGS
Offense Rank Yards/Game
Total Offense 3 384.0
Rushing Offense 5 141.2
Passing Offense 9 242.8
Defense Rank Yards/Game
Total Defense 5


FAMILIAR FACES ON THE GIANTS

Offensive line coach Pat Flahertywas a Redskins tight ends coach in 2000.

Tight ends coach Michael Pope was a Redskins tight ends coach from 1997-99.

Defensive line coach Robert Nunn coached the Redskins' defensive line in 2003.

Wide receiver Devin Thomas was the Redskins' second-round draft pick in 2008 and played with the club through Week 6 this season. He logged 40 catches for 445 yards and three touchdowns in 2 seasons with the Redskins.

Backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels was the Redskins' fourth-round draft pick in 2001. He was with the Redskins for one season but did not see any game action.

Player development consultant Jessie Armstead was a linebacker with the Redskins from 2003-04.


REDSKINS-GIANTS NEWS & NOTES

-- A New And Improved FedExField

The Redskins have announced new improvements to FedExField for the 2010 season.

Among the improvements to the facility include the installation of new HD video boards, a complete replacement of the stadium's video control room, a new text message traffic alert system, installation of the locker of the late Sean Taylor for viewing on the club level, and club level party decks.

"Everything we are doing is focused on continuing to improve the gameday experience for fans at FedExField," Redskins chief 0perating officer David P. Donovan said. "We believe fans will really feel the impact of these improvements."

The HD video boards are accompanied by eight new digital ribbon boards to provide fans with out-of-town scores, statistics and more, all monitored and operated from a state-of-the-art control room located on the Owner's Club Level.

The improvements allow for simultaneous multi-angle game highlights and replays, game graphics and other high definition content.

"When the stadium was first built, high definition didn't exist at the time in this capacity," Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder said. "So we said, 'Hey, this is a real opportunity,' so we upgraded it...It's important that we keep up with the quality of entertainment. This is really state of the art."

-- Traffic Alerts Via Text Messaging

For the 2010 season, the Redskins are providing traffic alerts via text message, giving fans access to regular updates on the best routes to use to get to FedExField on gameday.

The service provides information on gameday bottlenecks to avoid up until kickoff, as well as announcements on any post-game traffic issues that arise to help fans get to and from the stadium for every home game.

Redskins staff monitor traffic on the Beltway, Landover Road, Arena Drive and Central Avenue to provide up-to-the-minute updates. Fans can opt-in to these alerts by completing the signup form at www.redskins.com/trafficalerts.

The Redskins also have updated route guidance to the stadium to give fans alternatives to Beltway exits 15, 16 and 17, including turn-by-turn guidance so fans from Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia can enter the stadium grounds from the west on either Landover Road or Central Avenue. This information and more can be found online at www.redskins.com/parking.

-- Fletcher's An Iron Man

London Fletcher has continued to be a model of consistency in his 13th NFL season.

He has not missed a game since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 1998.

With Brett Favre's consecutive games played streak having been snapped in Week 15, Fletcher is now tied with Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber and Indianapolis's Peyton Manning for the longest active streak with 207 consecutive games played.

Fletcher is third among active players with 166 consecutive starts. Manning is first with 207 consecutive starts and Barber is second at 182.

Since joining the Redskins in 2007, Fletcher has led the team in tackles in each of his three seasons with the club.

His 152 tackles this season is the 12th straight in which he has recorded at least 100 tackles. The streak dates back to 1999, when he was in his second season with the Rams. It is the longest current streak in the NFL.

-- First-Year Redskins Head Coaches

Entering Sunday's game vs. Tennessee, Mike Shanahan is 6-9 in his first season as Redskins head coach.

Looking back at Redskins head coaches in their first season, five have gone on to have winning seasons (excluding Dick Todd, who was 5-4 in taking over three games into the 1951 season.)

Twelve first-year head coaches suffered losing campaigns, including Joe Gibbs's return in 2004. Additionally Herman Ball coached the final seven games in 1949 and finished 1-4, while Terry Robiskie finished 1-2 while coaching the last three games of 2000.

Eight first-year head coaches ended their seasons with a .500 record, including Jim Zorn in 2008.

-- Shanahan's Moving Up

With the Redskins' Week 16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike Shanahan recorded his 160th career win (regular season and postseason) as a head coach.

Shanahan's career record is 160-112, a .588 winning percentage. That win total is 16th best among all-time NFL head coaches.

He needs two wins to surpass Bill Cowher, who has a 161-99-1 career record.

Among active head coaches, Shanahan's 160-112 record is second only to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who has a 176-99 record.

-- So Close...

Through 15 games this season, the Redskins have played eight games decided by three points or less, which is two more than any other NFL team.

Conversely, the New York Giants, the Redskins' opponent in this Sunday's season finale at FedExField, have played zero games decided by three points or less. They are the only NFL team to not play a game decided by three points or less.

The Redskins also top the league in games decided by four points or less (9), five points or less (10) and six points or less (11).

The Redskins' 11 games decided by six points or less is a franchise record, surpassing the previous mark of 10 set in 1967 and 1989.

-- Going Overtime

The Redskins have played four overtime contests this season and they have a record of 3-1. Graham Gano kicked game-winning filed goals in all three of the Redskins' overtime wins.

Last Sunday's 20-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field was the fourth overtime game. It set a franchise mark for most OT games in one Redskins season.

In Week 2, the Redskins lost to the Houston Texans 30-27 in overtime at FedExField. Three weeks later, they defeated the Green Bay Packers 16-13 in overtime at FedExField.

In Week 11 at Tennessee, the Redskins defeated the Titans 19-16 in overtime at LP Field in Nashville.

-- Cooley Coming On

Chris Cooley could emerge as the greatest Redskins tight end in franchise history this year.

In his 7-year career, Cooley has 415 receptions for 4,585 yards and 31 touchdowns.

He has moved past Ricky Sanders for sixth place in all-time receptions in franchise history.

Among tight ends, he is ranked second in all-time receptions in franchise history behind Jerry Smith, whose 13-year career is twice that of Cooley. Smith finished his career with 421 career receptions.

Cooley already holds the Redskins record for most receptions by a tight end in a single season with 83 in 2008.

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