After defeating the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, regaining the lead in the NFC East and playoff race, the New York Giants fell victim to the Washington Redskins Sunday by a whopping score of 23-10. The Cowboys are now back in first place and the Giants are left wondering, how did it come to this?
Things appeared to be going in the right direction for Big Blue. They broke through their four-game losing streak and had their destiny in their own hands. This week was an entirely different story. The Redskins took down the Giants for the second time this season, doing nothing more than exploiting the obvious weaknesses of this New York football team.
The G-Men opened things up with a bang, literally. Chase Blackburn made a huge special teams play on the opening kickoff. On the first offensive drive for the Skins, Corey Webster intercepted a Rex Grossman pass intended for Santana Moss. Things were looking up. Then, the Giants offense took the field. What ensued next was a drive full of dropped passes, which became the theme for the rest of the game.
Dropped passes were not the only plague of the game. Penalties became a factor, especially the obligatory David Diehl holding call. What game would be complete without it? Only this time, it negated a Hakeem Nicks touchdown, early in the fourth quarter.
The primary problem for the Giants was the secondary. That is not to say that the run defense was much better. Both performed equally poorly. The offense couldn't get much going themselves. Eli Manning finished with a quarterback rating of 45.5. The three interceptions that he threw today were uncharacteristic of Manning this season. Of course, he should not bear the brunt of the blame here.
Hakeem Nicks, Jake Ballard and Victor Cruz all dropped catchable balls. The offense was a mess all the way around. Lawrence Tynes missed a 40-yard field goal. The offensive line couldn't hold up. Eli was sacked three times on the day. He hadn't been sacked, before today, in 12 quarters.
About the only player who showed up to play today was Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP had another big day - 16 combined tackles and a sack, definitely a day to be proud of as an individual, not as a team.
For all of Antrel Rolle's yapping this week, he played about as poorly as anyone else in a blue jersey. This guy needs to spend more time in his playbook and less time with the media.
The Giants need to rebound from this game and rebound hard. They will have to win the next two games. But, after this particular loss, I am not entertaining playoff talk. Any die-hard Giants fan knows the math and knows what is at stake. Hopefully, the Giants figure that out for themselves.