With the loss, Washington fell to 4-9. After opening 3-1, the Redskins have lost eight of their last nine and are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The loss also ensured that Coach Mike Shanahan will have a losing record in consecutive 16-game campaigns for the first time in his 18 seasons as a head coach.
New England, meanwhile, improved to 10-3, tied for the best record in the AFC.
“Always disappointing when you can’t finish a game,” Shanahan said. “I thought we did a number of good things today, but the end of the day, we fell short. Some guys stepped up and really did a great job of playing at a high level even though they didn’t get a lot of reps during the week.”
Grossman and Co. engaged Tom Brady
and the Patriots in a shootout that almost ended in an upset, although the odds were stacked against Washington. The Redskins were missing their leading pass-catcher, tight end Fred Davis, and franchise left tackle Trent Williams, who were suspended last week for the remainder of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Right tackle Jammal Brown went down during warmups with a groin injury.
But, taking advantage of New England’s 32nd-ranked defense, the Redskins generated a season high in both points and yards (463). Grossman completed 19 of 32 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns, and rookie running back Roy Helu
rushed for 126 yards on 27 carries.
Brady completed 22 of 37 passes for 357 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, and tight end Rob Gronkowski recorded six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns to lead New England.
In a game considered a mismatch going in, the Redskins’ offense found itself in position to tie or win the game after cornerback Josh Wilson intercepted Brady in the back of the end zone on a play that would have put New England up by two touchdowns with 6 minutes 37 seconds left.
Grossman then completed two passes for 36 yards (13 to Donte Stallworth and 23 to Jabar Gaffney), but the Redskins largely stayed with the run as they drove downfield. Helu ran five times for 19 difficult yards, and fellow rookie Evan Royster had two carries for 20 yards as Washington moved into scoring position.
Facing second and goal from the 5, Grossman completed a pass to Moss in the end zone, but the play was overturned by officials who called Moss for offensive pass interference, saying he pushed off Patriots defensive back Julian Edelman.
Two plays later, facing third and goal from the 9, Grossman threw to Moss over the middle, but the wide receiver bobbled the catch and tipped it into the hands of Mayo, who made a diving catch at the 7 to quash Washington’s upset hopes.