Five Giant losses: Capital punishment

As the playoffs move into the conference championship week, we take a look at five games that cost the Giants an opportunity to defend their title in the postseason.

The Giants finished 9-7 this season but needed one more win to get back into the playoffs. Today we examine the Giants’ frustrating 17-16 loss at Washington in Week 13.

What went wrong: The Giants dominated the first half, eating up nearly 21 of the 30 first-half minutes. They kept Robert Griffin III off the field and converted 8-of-10 third downs. They did everything exactly the way Tom Coughlin’s staff drew it up except for one thing -- score enough points.

The Giants had to settle for three Lawrence Tynes’ field goals and were only able to take a 16-10 lead with 3:09 left in the third quarter.

That is when it all went downhill for the Giants.

Turning point: After Tynes’ field goal, the Redskins put together a 12-play, 86-yard scoring drive that spanned from the end of the third into the early part of the fourth.

The Giants couldn’t stop the run as Washington rushed for 55 of its 207 total rushing yards on that drive. Griffin then hit Pierre Garcon on the go-ahead touchdown with 11:31 remaining.

The offense went three-and-out on the next possession but the Giants got the ball back with 6:06 remaining. Eli Manning hit Martellus Bennett for an 11-yard pass on a third-and-10 at the Giants’ 43 but Will Beatty was flagged for holding. The Giants were forced to punt with 4:03 remaining and they never got the ball back.

Washington gained three first downs, the backbreaking one coming on a 17-yard pass from Griffin to Garcon to get the Redskins to the two-minute warning. The Redskins sealed the game with one more run for a first down.

Giant regret: In the second quarter, Tynes missed a 43-yard field goal wide left. But the holding penalty on Beatty and the defense’s inability to get a critical stop at the end were the Giants’ undoing.

What if: If the Giants had won this game, they could’ve likely won the NFC East. They had a chance to take a two-game lead over Dallas and put the Redskins down three in the division with four games remaining.

Instead, the Giants’ division lead was sliced to one over Dallas and Washington. The Redskins ended up winning their final seven games to win the division while the Giants wasted the division and a wild card spot by dropping three of the last five games.

Tell us how costly you think the Washington loss was for the Giants below.