- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2019

LANDOVER — More than a half-hour after the Washington Redskins‘ 41-35 overtime loss to the New York Giants, Dwayne Haskins emerged from the training room with a medical boot around his ankle. The brace was on the left, opposite the leg he had hurt weeks ago in Green Bay.

Haskins finished that Packers game on one good leg.

This time, the Redskins rookie quarterback was not allowed to continue. After going down on the first play of the second half, he was told his afternoon was over.

Haskins was back to watching Case Keenum, who began the year as the team’s starter.

Keenum rallied Washington from down double digits to send the game into overtime, where Giants quarterback Daniel Jones marched his team down the field — throwing a dagger to tight end Kaden Smith from three yards out.

Jones had a career-best day, and for a half at least, Haskins seemed determined to match the fellow member of this season’s class of rookie quarterbacks.

After the game, Haskins had already turned his focus to the final game of the season in Dallas.

“I want to play (next week),” said Haskins, who will undergo an MRI on Monday. “If I can, I will. It’s just an ankle sprain.”

Standing from a podium, Haskins said he lobbied to go back in — only to be told not to by owner Dan Snyder. (That statement caused such a stir that the Redskins sent clarifications that Snyder told Haskins to listen to Dr. Robin West, the team’s head physician who did not clear him to return.)

Until his injury, the Ohio State product had put together the best half of his career — stringing together 10 consecutive completions. He felt in a rhythm, he said. His stat line — 12 of 15 for 133 yards and two touchdowns — reflected it.

There was a silver lining, of sorts, in Sunday’s loss: Washington is now in the driver’s seat for the No. 2 pick in the draft, likely Ohio State pass-rusher Chase Young.

Early in Sunday’s clash between the second and third quarterbacks taken in this year’s draft, Haskins seemed determined to answer Jones throw for throw.

Jones tosses a 23-yard touchdown to Sterling Sheppard? There was Haskins with a throw on the run finding Steven Sims in the end zone, tying the game at 7.

The two went back-and-forth until the Giants pulled away in the second, with Jones finding running back Saquon Barkley and Cody Latimer on two separate touchdown throws. New York led 28-14 at the half.

Without Haskins, the Redskins turned to Keenum.

In the fourth, the Redskins had field position after linebacker Nate Orchard’s punt block set up Washington 17 yard from the end zone. That set up a score by Adrian Peterson, who passed Walter Payton to become the NFL’s fourth all-time leader in rushing touchdowns.

Keenum then directed a 14-play, 99-yard drive to knot the score. Starting from their own 1, Keenum and the Redskins converted three first downs — including a 32-yard strike to Steven Sims — before Keenum carried it in a keeper.

“It’s kind of nice to be able to have just no inhibitions and nothing to lose,” Keenum said. “You just go out there and sling it. That’s my motto … but probably more so when I’m coming in as the closer.”

Down by a point after Keenum’s touchdown, interim coach Bill Callahan pulled his closer in favor of letting Dustin Hopkins kick the point after to take the gamer to overtime.

As soon as the Giants got the ball in the extra period, Jones picked up where he left off. The rookie took advantage of a decimated Washington secondary. With Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau out with hamstring injuries, the Giants quarterback picked apart a makeshift Redskins back end stuffed with defensive backs brought in off the street. Aaron Colvin, Kayvon Webster and Coty Sensabaugh. Webster and Sensabaugh, for reference, were added to the roster last week.

Jones finished with 352 yards, tossing a career-high five touchdowns.

All week, Haskins, taken at No. 15, had done his best to avoid comparisons to Jones.

He had tried to distance himself from the fact the Giants took the Duke product instead of him (a New Jersey native) at No. 6.

But after Sunday, those comparisons won’t slow down anytime soon — even if an ankle injury derailed what could have been.

“Once I get in the rhythm,” Haskins said, “I’m pretty hard to stop.”

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