The Washington Redskins are determined not to just bow out this season. Despite hovering at last place in the NFC East, Washington (4-9) gave the New England Patriots (10-3) a closer-than-expected battle in a 34-27 slugfest at FedEx Field on Dec. 11.

After falling behind 14-3, Washington forced a 20-20 tie at halftime before an interception off a tipped pass ended a last-second attempt to tie with 22 seconds left in the contest.

The contest could’ve had a different ending had Washington receiver Santana Moss not been flagged for an offensive interference penalty after catching a touchdown pass that drew the Redskins 24-23. After Moss was flagged, Rex Grossman’s intended pass was tipped and intercepted on the very next play.

Rookie running back Roy Helu continued to impress as a starter, rushing for 126 yards and showing signs that the future of the position in D.C. is in his hands. But Helu’s performance was overshadowed by Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski, who set a single season record for most touchdown catches by a tight end (13) and led all receivers with six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington was without starting tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams, who have both been suspended for the rest of the season due to failed drug tests.

Washington will go on the road next Sunday when they face the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Washington beat New York 28-14 in the season opener earlier this year.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO