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Hail or Fail: Redskins improve draft stock with overtime loss to Giants

Hale Hentges made his first career touchdown catch on Sunday. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

A look at the good (Hail!) and bad (Fail!) from the Redskins’ 41-35 overtime loss to the Giants on Sunday.

Hail: Washington’s draft stock

The Redskins are all alone in the basement of the NFC East and have now lost nine straight games against division foes dating back to last year. On the bright side, Washington enters the final week of the regular season in position to secure the second overall pick in next year’s draft. Thanks to Miami’s overtime win against the Bengals, who are officially on the clock after falling to 1-14, the Redskins can clinch the No. 2 pick with a loss to the Cowboys in the regular season finale. That game was flexed from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m., as was the Eagles’ game against the Giants. After losing at Philadelphia on Sunday, Dallas needs a win and an Eagles loss to make the playoffs.

The Redskins have found the perfect formula: Show some fight, but lose anyway.

Fail: Washington’s pass rush

Plenty of things could change between now and April, but conventional wisdom is that the Bengals will use the No. 1 pick to draft LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is the presumptive No. 2 pick, and the Redskins could desperately use a playmaker of his caliber. Greg Manusky’s defense sacked Giants quarterback Daniel Jones once, and gave the rookie plenty of time to carve up a Redskins secondary that has been decimated by injuries.

“I thought our defense had an opportunity to make a play in the overtime,” interim coach Bill Callahan said, when asked why he opted to kick the extra point instead of going for two at the end of regulation.

With an edge rusher like Young, who starred at DeMatha and has 16 1/2 sacks for the Buckeyes this year, it would be a more defensible strategy.

Hail: A QB rivalry

Selected nine picks apart in the first round of this year’s draft, Dwayne Haskins and Jones figure to be compared to one another for their entire careers. If Sunday was any indication, the two could have some classic duels over the coming years. The Giants were roundly criticized for taking Jones with the No. 6 pick, but the former Duke star has been the better of the two QBs this year. After missing the last two weeks with an ankle injury, Jones joined Fran Tarkenton and Deshaun Watson as the only rookie quarterbacks with three games of at least four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. His overtime touchdown pass to tight end Kaden Smith was his fifth of the game, a new career high. Before Haskins left with an ankle injury suffered on the first play of the second half, he was enjoying his best game as a pro. The No. 15 overall pick completed 12 of 15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Fail: Stopping Saquon Barkley

The Giants cruised to a 24-3 win over the Redskins in Week 4 despite Barkley missing the game with an ankle injury. New York wouldn’t have won without their second-year running back on Sunday. Barkley had 22 carries for 189 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown in the first quarter, during which he juked safety Montae Nicholson out of his shoes. Barkley was effective in the passing game, too, finishing with four catches for 90 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown on which he was left wide open on a seam route, and a 51-yard gain on a screen pass that set up another score. Barkley has 359 yards rushing in two career games at FedEx Field.

Hail: Steven Sims Jr.

Terry McLaurin had another strong game, with a team-leading seven catches for 86 yards, but the less-heralded Sims continued his own impressive rookie campaign with six catches for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell continues to find creative ways to get Sims involved beyond catching passes from his slot position. Two plays before he caught his second touchdown, Sims flipped the ball to wide receiver Kelvin Harmon as part of a double-reverse that ended with Harmon completing a pass to running back Chris Thompson for an 11-yard gain. McLaurin, meanwhile, needs 81 yards receiving against the Cowboys to reach 1,000 for the year and eight yards to break Gary Clark’s Redskins rookie record of 926 yards in 1985.

Fail: Home-field advantage

Trailing by seven with 6:27 remaining in regulation, the Redskins were backed up at their own 1-yard line. As Keenum and the Washington offense huddled, a member of New York’s defensive line encouraged the crowd in the end zone to make some noise before giving the sign for a safety. It’s not every day you see a visiting player asking for more crowd noise, but such is life at FedEx Field these days, where Redskins fans are used to being outnumbered. At least Washington didn’t have to resort to a silent count, as the Los Angeles Chargers reportedly did in a home game against the Raiders on Sunday.

Hail: Hentges

Hale Hentges, rather. The rookie tight end entered the game with two catches in limited action this season. He doubled that total against the Giants, hauling in a six-yard pass from Haskins in the second quarter for the first touchdown catch of his career and making a diving 22-yard catch on a throw by Keenum to extend the Redskins’ game-tying, 99-yard drive.

Fail: Pat Shurmur’s challenge record

The Giants’ coach is 0 for 7 on challenges this season after officials upheld an incomplete pass ruling that he challenged early in the second quarter. Even Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen think that’s impressive.

Read more on the Redskins:

Redskins rally after Dwayne Haskins leaves with an injury, only to lose in OT

Dwayne Haskins avoids serious injury, gets locker room visit from Daniel Snyder

Three takeaways from the Redskins’ 41-35 loss to the Giants

The key moments from Washington’s latest loss, including Kaden Smith’s game-winning TD

Bill Callahan on Redskins’ decision not to go for two: ‘Our defense had an opportunity to make a play’