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BALTIMORE—The Washington Redskins will finish the 2018 season on Dec. 30 with a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the game won’t mean anything to the Redskins. as they were eliminated from playoff contention again earlier this week.
Washington lost to Tennessee on Dec. 22. That 25-16 defeat, combined with Philadelphia’s come-from-behind win over Houston, eliminated the Redskins from any shot at the playoffs, finishing off a season in which so much has gone wrong.
The Redskins lost their top two quarterbacks (Alex Smith, Colt McCoy) to broken legs, their third-string quarterback (Mark Sanchez) proved rather ineffective, and they’ve been forced to sign and use Josh Johnson in that position.
That’s why Sunday’s game with the Eagles holds no meaning. Philadelphia, the defending Super Bowl champion, is on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, but a victory, combined with a Minnesota loss to Chicago, would let the Eagles slide is as the second wild-card team.
But there will be no post-season trip again for the Redskins. They started well at 6-3, then all the injuries began. Washington never recovered, and it will be watching the playoffs again.
“Yeah, it’s very disappointing without a doubt,” Head Coach Jay Gruden said in The Washington Post. “It is a tough pill to swallow, because I know we have a very talented team here, and I feel like I didn’t get enough out of them to get us in a position to advance to the playoffs.”
CAPS KEEP ROLLING
The Washington Capitals kept up their solid play last weekend with back-to-back victories over the Buffalo Sabres (at home) and then the Ottawa Senators (on the road).
Washington edged Buffalo 2-1 on Dec. 21, thanks to a late goal from Tom Wilson and some solid goaltending from Braden Holtby. Wilson found some room when Evgenzy Kuznetsov stole the puck from goalie Carter Hutton behind the net, took a pass, and fired it into the open net — with seven minutes left — and snapped a 1-1 tie.
Holtby was the story for the Capitals. He made 36 saves overall, and from every angle possible. The veteran even flew out past the circles to stop a possible breakaway and even got this stick on the puck twice more while lying on the ice.
“He was a big reason we were able to get two points tonight,” Washington Head Coach Todd Reirden said after the game. “He was outstanding all game long. He had a huge role in us winning that game.”
Chandler Stephenson scored the other goal, on a short-handed breakaway, following a great pass from Nic Dowd.
The next night, Brett Connolly led the way with a goal and an assist, while Pheonix (cq) Copley made 35 saves in a 4-0 win over the Senators.
Washington now has won seven of its last eight games and sits in first place in the Metropolitan Division.
WIZARDS SPLIT TWO OVER WEEKEND
The Washington Wizards won at home on Dec. 22 but ran out of gas when losing on the road to Indiana the following day.
The Wizards may have been tired because of how much work they needed to beat the Phoenix Suns in the home game. Washington had to go to three overtimes to hand the Suns a 149-146 defeat in that game, despite playing without John Wall, who had flu symptoms.
Bradley Beal stepped up big for the Wizards in the game, finishing with his first triple-double ever — ending up with 40 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds while playing 53 minutes.
“It’s tiring but it’s fun,” Beal told the media afterward. “You always embrace those types of games, competitive games like that. It was definitely a gut check for us, with John down. Just all about effort, playing hard.”
Thomas Bryant added 31 points on a 14-for-14 night from the field and completed his triple-double with 13 rebounds.
The Wizards could not do as well in a 5 p.m. game in Indianapolis the following day. Washington seemed to tire in the second half, as Indiana pulled away for a 105-89 victory. Indiana broke the game open with a 20-4 third-quarter run. Markieff Morris topped Washington with 16 points, as neither Wall or Beal could make it into double figures.