Skins’ Gruden after NY loss: ‘Job’s in jeopardy every week’
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — This was all kinds of embarrassing for the Washington Redskins, from the offense to the defense to the special teams, from the poor plays to the face-palm penalties, from the numbers on the scoreboard to the thousands of empty seats in the stands.
Facing a last-place team that had nothing to play for — but appeared to have more fans in the stadium Sunday than the home team did — coach Jay Gruden’s Redskins dropped their fourth consecutive game to fall below .500 with a 40-16 loss to the New York Giants.
Asked whether he’s concerned about his job status, Gruden replied: “My job’s in jeopardy every week. So I’ve just got to go about and do the best I can, get these guys ready to go, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Third-string quarterback Mark Sanchez, playing for Washington (6-7) because of injuries to Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, made his first NFL start since 2015 and played like it, going 6 for 14 for 38 yards and two interceptions, including a pick-6.
“It was tough sledding, for sure,” Sanchez said. “That’s easy to figure out.”
The score was 40-0 in the third quarter when Gruden yanked Sanchez, whose passer rating was 10.7 and whose longest completion went for 10 yards.
A reporter wanted to know what Gruden thought “went wrong” for Sanchez.
“What DID work?” came Gruden’s answer. “There was nothing that worked. Nothing worked. So everything did not work.”
Sanchez was replaced by another recently unemployed player, Josh Johnson, who threw his first NFL pass since 2011 and helped the hosts score all of their points in garbage time. Gruden said after the game he would prepare Johnson to start next week at Jacksonville.
The Redskins were guilty of two penalties on the initial punt of the game by New York (5-8), setting a pattern: Washington was flagged 15 times for 135 yards.
“Unacceptable,” said defensive back and punt returner Greg Stroman.
There was a 5-yarder on Washington’s offense for having 12 men in the huddle early. Right tackle Morgan Moses was called twice for false starts in the first half, giving him 12 accepted penalties this season, the most for any player in the league. Late, after a 31-yard pass from Johnson to Josh Doctson would have set up Washington with a first-and-goal at the 3, the receiver was penalized 15 yards for taunting a defender. On the very next play, Johnson was picked off. Then, with the Giants about to punt on fourth-and-3, Washington had 12 men on the field for the punt, so New York got to keep the ball.
There were boos repeatedly from a crowd listed at 57,347 — about 25,000 under the stadium’s capacity — and all the blue Giants jerseys in the stands made it “feel like we’re at home” to New York linebacker Alec Ogletree.
Competing against a Redskins offensive line that included four tackles and an injured center, a mediocre Giants pass rush that entered the game with 19 sacks — an average of about 1½ per game — already was up to five for the day after Washington’s first possession of the second half.
A so-so Giants offense that was missing star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did whatever it wanted most times it had the ball and put up 34 points by halftime, only four fewer than its previous highest total for an entire game this season.
Rookie running back Saquon Barley gained 170 yards on only 14 carries, including a 78-yard TD, plus added another 27 yards on four catches. Eli Manning, written off by many earlier this year, looked quite competent, completing 14 of 22 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns before taking the fourth quarter off.
“It’s tough to deal with. It really is. It’s unfortunate,” Gruden said. “That product we put on the field today is not a reflection of the guys’ work during the week and in practice. However, it did look bad.”