The 10 biggest moments from the Redskins' 2016/17 season
1) Week 2: Cousins throws backbreaking red zone pick vs. Dallas
An 0-2 start in some areas wouldn't qualify as anything larger than a blip on the radar, or something that causes little more than a decent stir. But in the DMV, after Kirk Cousins found Barry Church instead of a Redskins receiver — causing his team to drop the second of two contests at home to start the year — it was enough to inspire pandemonium. After this throw, everything felt possible: Going 0-16, benching Cousins for Colt McCoy that night, etc. Luckily, the ship would soon be righted.
2) Week 3: Cravens intercepts Manning to cap off wild win in New York
Su'a Cravens' rookie season will ultimately be remembered as a promising one that was wrecked by injuries, but his fourth quarter interception of Eli Manning in a game the Redskins could not lose will go on his highlight tape forever. In what would prove to be a trend all year long, the Redskins defense found themselves on the field late in the final frame needing a stop, and Cravens got one with his lunging snag in the Meadowlands. Josh Norman used one word to describe the play: "Silly."
3) Week 5: Flacco just misses go-ahead TD, Redskins seal it moments later
Yes, the "game of inches" cliche about the NFL is more tired than Albert Haynesworth after a conditioning test, but in looking at Washington's Week 5 victory in Baltimore, it fits. With the Redskins up six, Breshad Perriman of the Ravens caught what looked to be a go-ahead touchdown from Joe Flacco, but upon review, it was revealed Perriman couldn't quite get both feet in bounds. Baltimore's rally was then silenced thanks to a well-timed Will Compton hit, and the Burgundy and Gold came away with their third straight W.
4) Week 7: Boldin hauls in last-second score to steal victory for Lions
This was the first of two huge missed opportunities before the bye. Following a surprising but well-executed Kirk Cousins read option, the Redskins took a 17-13 lead with just over a minute remaining and simply needed to prevent Detroit from reaching the end zone. On this day, though, that task wouldn't be completed, after Matthew Stafford found Anquan Boldin for a killer 18-yard touchdown right before the final whistle. Afterward, Chris Baker would openly question Joe Barry's decision to not bring more pressure in Stafford's face on his last drive.
5) Week 8: Hopkins misses chip shot which leads to tie in London
And here's the second huge missed opportunity before the bye. A wild, back-and-forth-and-back-again affair in London with the Bengals came down to a 34-yard field goal attempt in overtime by Dustin Hopkins. And, as if the Boldin gut-punch from a week ago wasn't enough, Hopkins ended up hooking the kick, causing this one to end in a more unsatisfying than usual tie. It was an especially shocking miss, considering Hopkins had arguably been the league's top kicker until that moment.
6) Week 10: Smith forces fantastic turnover — with one hand
Week 10 was the Preston Smith takeover game, as the second-year pass rusher came alive against his favorite opposing quarterback, Sam Bradford. Bradford and the Vikings offense had possession and were looking to retake the 23-20 fourth quarter lead the Redskins were nursing at FedEx Field, but Smith, after perfectly reading a quick pass, tipped the ball up with both hands then plucked it with one. It was a startling display of athleticism by the sophomore, and ranks right up there in terms of individual highlights from the year.
7) Week 11: Cousins finds Garcon for deep strike in huge win over Packers
When Pierre Garçon found himself on the receiving end of a 70-yard bomb from Kirk Cousins, broke a tackle by a Packers defender and scampered into the end zone, the Redskins seemed destined for the postseason. In what could very well be labeled as the peak of Washington's year, the 'Skins put on a passing display against an elite NFL franchise on a national stage, and no play better symbolized that fun Sunday night than this score. Unbeknownst to almost everyone, though, was the fact that the Burgundy and Gold would never come close to matching this level again.
8) Week 14: Kerrigan ends Eagles attempted comeback with strip-sack
After two road losses to Dallas and Arizona, the Redskins entered Philadelphia reeling and very much in need of a favorable result. And, similar to the Week 3 Giants game, this Week 14 meeting with the Eagles came down to the last drive, with the defense being tasked with cutting off a comeback by an NFC East quarterback. Things looked bleak, too, as Philly's offense marched down the field and parked itself near the end zone, but Ryan Kerrigan came screaming through the right side of the offensive line, knocked Carson Wentz to the ground and forced a fumble that was recovered by Trent Murphy. An ugly win is still a win, right?
9) Week 15: Cousins fumbles to open up second half vs. Panthers
The Redskins' first half performance against the Panthers was very discouraging, but they got the ball to start the second half and had a chance to turn things around. That hope lasted just one play, however, as Kirk Cousins was drilled from behind, lost control of the ball and watched it get scooped up by Carolina on Washington's one-yard line. The ensuing touchdown drained whatever life was remaining from the home fans, and Josh Norman was unable to get the revenge he desired against his ex-employer.
10) Week 17: Cousins tosses season-ending interception in home finale
The last significant moment of the Redskins campaign is also its lowest. Knowing a win all but guaranteed a trip to the playoffs, Cousins and the prolific Washington offense took the field searching for a game-tying score against a Giants squad that had little to compete for, but a late throw over the middle from the improving quarterback was an appropriate cap to a putrid regular season finale. Now, the offseason begins earlier than most expected, and the organization will face a host of questions as it hopes to put together a better effort starting in September.