^By STEPHEN WHYNO=
^AP Sports Writer=
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) _ Josh Norman walked around toward the end of the Washington Redskins’ season-ending 19-10 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday wanting to thank fans for showing up for what should have been a playoff-clinching victory over an opponent with nothing to play for.
Instead, the Redskins came out flat, Kirk Cousins threw two costly interceptions and they blew their virtual win-and-in opportunity to join the Giants in the playoffs.
“You don’t come out and lose and like that,” Norman said. “That right there was just disgusting, it was despicable. … That right there, it’s not football.”
With control of its playoff hopes, Washington (8-7-1) lost two of its final three games and four of six down the stretch with a combination of horrendous starts, ill-timed mistakes and lackluster offense. Cousins was picked off in the second half twice Sunday by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the second interception all but sealing the result.
Cousins was 22 of 35 for 287 yards with a touchdown and those two interceptions in what could be his final game with the Redskins after playing this season on the franchise tag.
“This isn’t my first time dealing with this,” said Cousins, who was sacked a season-high four times. “Tough times don’t last; tough people do, right? I sound like a broken record, but I’m going to keep saying that until I retire.”
Redskins players complimented the Giants (11-5) for being “the better team,” which was jarring given that they were locked into the NFC’s first wild card with nothing at stake. Eli Manning played the entire game and was 17 of 27 for 180 yards as New York employed a conservative second-half approach and still came away with the victory.
The Giants will visit the winner of the Green Bay Packers’ Sunday night game at the Detroit Lions that will decide the NFC North.
Coach Ben McAdoo called it “a physical, hard-nosed football game against a hungry team on the road where we ran the ball, we stopped the run, we took care of the ball, and we took the ball away.”
For the Redskins, it was the ultimate failure with their season on the line.
“They just made more plays to win the game, and that’s what good teams do,” defensive end Chris Baker said. “Any time you have the situation in your hands to make it to the next level and you don’t capitalize on that, it’s a disappointment.
Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. added another dramatic chapter to their always contentious and ever-eventful rivalry. The Redskins cornerback, who entered tied for the most penalties in the NFL, was flagged for two more Sunday.
Norman shoved Beckham out of bounds in the second quarter and slammed his facemask into the Giants receiver’s facemask for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third.
“It’s the game,” Norman said. “You can’t tell referees what to say, what to do, what to call.”
McAdoo said he used a “coach’s decision” to remove Beckham in the third quarter after five catches for 44 yards, while keeping Manning in.
Replacing Beckham in the third quarter, Giants receiver Tavarres King caught a 44-yard pass from Manning late in the fourth to set up Robbie Gould’s 48-yard field goal. King came in with three catches for 19 yards in his career, and one for 6 yards this season.
“It was just what the doctor ordered,” McAdoo said. “It was something we saw in the series before. We saw TK had an advantage.”
Despite being down 10-0 and not getting the ball out of halftime, the Redskins wasted a lot of time late in the second quarter. They didn’t get the snap off before the two-minute warning and wasted 16 seconds by not calling a timeout when Chris Thompson slipped in bounds later in the drive. The series ended with a 57-yard field goal attempt by Dustin Hopkins that sailed wide left.
Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins claimed sole possession of the franchise record for field goals in a season in the third quarter with his 34th. … The Giants set a season high in rushing yards with 161. … Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan left the game with a right finger injury.
Giants: A wild-card playoff game next weekend.
(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)