For the third time in four games, the Redskins got off to an awful start in Sunday's loss to the Giants. With that type of trend it's natural to ask the reason for the bad beginnings, and Washington coach Jay Gruden talked about it after his team was knocked out of playoff contention.
"I think they made us flat. Giants made us flat," Gruden said.
The coach made a surprise decision to open the game, bucking his normal convention and electing to receive the ball. The offense quickly stalled, and the defense gave up points too. The Redskins trailed 10-0 going into halftime.
"You can't play playoff football and start slow and give teams a 10 point head start," Pierre Garçon said after the loss.
"It was very similar to Carolina—we were never able to get the fans into the game, get a momentum burst and then keep it," Gruden said. "We had a couple of spurts there in the second half, got the score tied, but just could never get anything going early. Terrible start."
The Giants certainly deserve credit for Sunday's game. Their defense proved it's one of the leagues best, shutting down the Redskins run game and repeatedly getting to QB Kirk Cousins.
That said, there is also something missing from the 'Skins that the team did not bring the same passion or intensity as the Giants, despite Washington having everything to play for and New York with nothing. Remember, the 'Skins needed to win for a playoff spot. The Giants already locked theirs up.
Asked if he believed his team was ready from the opening kick, Gruden answered honestly.
"On a gut level, I like to think so, but obviously the results say otherwise, so what can you say?"