- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2019

GREEN BAY, Wis. | Dressed in a black hoodie, Dwayne Haskins limped into the news conference room and sighed. The Redskins quarterback saw the setup of the podium, and more specifically, the obstacle in front of him.

“Oh, stairs,” said Haskins, who played more than half of Sunday’s 20-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers on a painfully twisted ankle. “Great.”

Haskins gingerly climbed the steps to take questions — with the most pressing one being: How’s the sprain?

On an afternoon when the Redskins were officially eliminated from the playoffs — Dallas would hold the tiebreaker if both teams were to finish 6-10 — another year without a postseason appearance felt like an afterthought.

After all, the Redskins’ playoff chances were improbable, at best — Sunday’s result just provided finality.

The bigger concern for the Redskins Sunday was the health of some of their most important players, including Haskins.

Haskins battled through a sprained ankle after former Redskins linebacker Preston Smith landed on the quarterback’s foot during a sack. The 22-year-old was slow to get up and played with a noticeable limp afterward.

“It’s a tough injury, but I’ll be all right,” Haskins said.

The Redskins lost Derrius Guice in the second quarter with a knee injury — already the third of his short career. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (calf), cornerback Quinton Dunbar (hamstring) and linebacker Ryan Anderson (head) all were sidelined over the course of the game.

Inside the Redskins locker room, Kerrigan stood with his calf bandaged up. When he returns to Ashburn on Monday, he’ll receive an MRI to fully know the extent of the damage.

But the 31-year-old, who had just missed last week’s game against the Panthers with a concussion, said he felt the injury right away as the play was still developing.

“I felt a little pop, strain thing in it,” Kerrigan said. “I knew it was not good.”

The outmanned Redskins still managed to push the Packers, a 10-3 team sitting at first place in the NFC North, with a relentless pass rush.

The Redskins, now with 17 sacks in the last three games, held Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to just 195 yards, bringing him down four times.

Washington also saw Haskins‘ toughness. Despite his limited movement, the Ohio State product stood tall in the pocket, completing 16 of his 27 passes for 170 yards and helping make a late push to tighten the game.

Trailing 20-9 in the fourth, Haskins spread the ball all over the field as he led the Redskins on a two-minute drill, capping an eight-play, 75-yard drive by threading a pass to rookie Terry McLaurin between two defenders in the back of the end zone.

After the game, Haskins said there was “no way” he was going to come out of the game because of his injury.

Teammates and coaches were impressed.

“He got grit, got heart,” running back Adrian Peterson said. “He showed his character. He’s going to fight. It’s going to be hard to knock him out of a game.”

Added interim coach Bill Callahan: “I give him a lot of credit for hanging in there.”

The Redskins, though, just didn’t have enough to upset the Packers.

As they have all season, Washington started slow, with three consecutive three-and-outs to begin the game while the defense surrendered two touchdowns.

When Guice went down in the second quarter, Callahan said he thought Washington lost its “1-2 punch” on offense. Last week, Guice and Peterson combined for 228 rushing yards and each scored. They showed promise, making fans especially excited for Guice.

Now the Redskins await yet another update from doctors. This is the third knee injury the running back has suffered in two seasons, tearing his left ACL during his rookie year, while tearing his meniscus in his right knee earlier this season. The latter caused him to miss eight games.

In the meantime, Washington will have to live with the fact it failed to miss the postseason for the fourth straight year. Entering the Packers game, the Redskins saw a sliver of hope that could accomplish the unthinkable, given how weak the NFC East has been this season.

No team in the division has a winning record, and mathematically, there was a scenario in which Washington could have won out to finish at 7-9, while the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles each finished no better than 6-10.

“The tough part is our division is so open,” McLaurin said. “We were in a lot of games this year. And we may not have closed the first half, didn’t finish in the second half. That’s what separates playoff teams.”

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