EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If the New York Giants miss the playoffs once again, they have only themselves and the Washington Redskins to blame.
Rex Grossman threw a touchdown pass and the Redskins put a major hurt on the Giants and their playoff hopes with a dominating 23-10 victory yesterday in a game in which New York showed little desire with much on the line.
"I'm very disappointed in how we played today," coach Tom Coughlin said after the Giants (7-7) fell a game behind Dallas (8-6) in the NFC East with two games left in the regular season.
"I accept responsibility for it. But I expected to see more - quality execution - and we didn't get that."
Surprisingly, Washington (5-9) looked very much like a playoff team in winning for only the second time in 10 games and embarrassing the Giants for the second time this season. Grossman and the offense held the ball for 35 minutes, while the defense picked off Eli Manning three times and didn't allow a touchdown until the final minute.
"They had a lot at stake and obviously we didn't and I'm pleased the way we played," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said.
Coming off an emotional win over Dallas last Sunday night in a game that gave them control of their own destiny, the Giants showed nothing after a couple of early interceptions.
"I didn't see the passion in us today," running back Brandon Jacobs said. "We didn't play well. We disappointed each other and our fans, and we've just got to play better. I can't tell you why."
The Giants still control their destiny. If they beat the Jets and the Cowboys in their final two games, they will win the division.
The Cowboys play the Eagles next weekend and could wrap up the division if the Giants fall in their rivalry game with the Jets.
"I still have confidence," Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck said. "We laid an egg today, but I've seen us rebound from things like this a lot of times. There's no quit in our guys. This was kind of an eye-opener. We have to keep the intensity going the whole game, and we didn't maintain it today."
Washington never trailed in spoiling what the Giants hoped would be another step in their playoff run. The Redskins took the crowd out of the game early, opening a 17-0 lead and were never threatened. Grossman threw a 20-yard scoring pass to Santana Moss, Darrel Young scored on a 6-yard run after one of the Redskins' interceptions and Graham Gano kicked three field goals.
Former Giant and current Redskins defensive tackle Barry Cofield enjoyed spoiling the party hopes of his former teammates.
"A party broke out for us. I'm proud of how we came out and played," Cofield said, adding Washington has played well in recent weeks.
This loss was the fifth in six games for the Giants, who are in danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight year.