Thursday 27 July 2017

NFL round-up: Kirk Cousins interception blows Washington Redskins' chance of play-off place

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (41) in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by New York Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (41) in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Kirk Cousins threw a late interception as the Washington Redskins blew their chance at a play-off place with a 19-10 home loss to the New York Giants on the final day of the NFL's regular season.

Facing a team with nothing to play for, the Redskins were their own worst enemy in a listless performance. Cousins was twice picked off by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the second half, with the second coming with less than 90 seconds left and the Redskins trailing 13-10.

After New York punted, Washington got the ball back one final time with six seconds left, but as they tried for a miracle play Jordan Reed's attempted lateral pass was picked off by Trevin Wade who ran it in for another touchdown.

The Redskins would have made the play-offs with a win provided the late game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions did not end in a tie, but they instead face an off-season of questions and recriminations.

Meanwhile New York will advance as the first wild-card in the NFC.

The Redskins loss meant that what could have been a play-in game for the post-season between Green Bay and Detroit instead became a battle for the NFC North division title.

Green Bay took it as Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes - three in the second half - to lead the Packers to a 31-24 victory, a sixth straight win for a Green Bay team who have put early struggles behind them.

Green Bay will now host the Giants in next weekend's NFC wild-card game, while the Lions will head to Seattle to face a Seahawks team who sealed the NFC West title with a 25-23 win over San Francisco.

The 49ers blew an 11-point lead and after the game the team confirmed the firing of both general manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly as 'Black Monday' started a little early.

Mike McCoy also lost his job on Sunday evening, out as Chargers coach after the Kansas City Chiefs won what could be the final NFL game played in San Diego 37-27 to take the AFC West title.

McCoy's departure adds to an off-season of uncertainty as the team could be poised to relocate to Los Angeles.

To win the West, the Chiefs needed victory in San Diego and an Oakland loss in Denver, and the Raiders duly succumbed 24-6 to the Broncos.

Little went right for Oakland as they lost backup quarterback Matt McGloin to a shoulder injury and suffered a heavy defeat to a team who may be the defending Super Bowl champions but who are also a team out of the play-off picture.

Although Oakland are still play-off bound, they advance as the number five seed and appear to be down to their rookie third-string quarterback as McGloin joins Derek Carr on the sidelines.

Oakland will face the Houston Texans - who closed with a 24-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans - in the NFC wild-card game.

Meanwhile, it was reported that Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who suffered a complex migraine on October 9, told his players after the game he was stepping down, although a formal announcement will come on Monday.

All four of Matt Ryan's touchdown throws came in the first half as the Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints 38-32 to secure a first-round bye.

Ryan had 235 of his 331 yards before the interval as the Falcons took a 35-13 lead into the locker rooms, then watched nervously as the Saints scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to threaten a comeback.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' incredibly slim chance of snatching a play-off place ended despite a 17-16 success against the Carolina Panthers.

The Bucs needed to win while hoping six other results went in their favour - including a tie between the Giants and the Redskins.

But before that game even kicked off, the Bucs' hopes were over when the much-changed Dallas Cowboys lost 27-13 to the Philadelphia Eagles as tight end Zach Ertz notched two touchdowns and 139 receiving yards.

Back-up quarterback Landry Jones showcased his abilities by throwing for 277 yards and three touchdowns as he guided the AFC North-winning Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-24 overtime win against the Cleveland Browns, who wrapped up a miserable 1-15 season.

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