The New York Giants entered Sunday hoping to take control of the NFC East. The Giants ended the day having ceded that control, to the Washington Redskins. The Giants and Redskins are tied atop the division at 5-6 after Washington's 20-14 victory, but the Redskins have the tie-breaker advantage. The Redskins have a 2-1 division record, to 2-3 for the Giants.
The Giants still have five games left to get this right, and a good chance to emerge with the division title. They looked like anything but a playoff team, however, for most of the day on Sunday.
All season long, the Giants' biggest issue has been finishing games. Sunday, though, they couldn't get started until it was far too late. The Giants fell behind, 17-0, at the half -- including giving up a 63-yard touchdown to Giant-killer DeSean Jackson. They missed an opportunity to get back in the game when Eli Manning was picked off in the end zone by Quinton Dunbar.
"I just didn't think we played well, we sleep-walked, whatever the word is early on," said head coach Tom Coughlin.
Trailing 20-0, the Giants staged a furious fourth-quarter rally. The Giants got within 20-7 on a fourth-and-16 40-yard touchdown from Manning to Rueben Randle with 10:10 to play. They got within 20-14 with 4:57 to play when Odell Beckham Jr. made a spectacular diving grab in the end zone for a 21-yard score.
The Giants' defense couldn't come up with a stop, however, and time ran out on the Giants' comeback hopes.
"This is one you can look at and say shoulda, coulda, woulda all day long," Coughlin said.
Manning completed 26-of-51 passes for 321 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Two of Manning's interceptions came on tipped balls, one by Shane Vereen and one after Dwayne Harris took a big hit. Another came when Rueben Randle ran a poor route, allowing Quinton Dunbar to make an interception in the end zone.
Beckham finished the game with nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown.
The Giants' makeshift offensive line struggled for much of the game. The Giants were without Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg starting the game, then lost Geoff Schwartz to a fractured left left leg in the first half. The Giants rushed for only 33 yards on 13 carries, and Manning was sacked three times.
The Giants' defense made a couple of big stops early in the game, but couldn't pressure Kirk Cousins and couldn't make up for the impotent offense the Giants played most of the game. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie dropped an interception that could have been a first-half Pick 6 and when Rodgers-Cromartie went out of the game Jayron Hosley and Brandon Meriweather were burned by Jackson for the 63-yard score.
The Redskins had lost five straight games to the Giants before Sunday, but looked like the far superior team this time. Washington is now 5-1 at home this season.
NFC East Standings
There's no one even at .500 And the division is still wiiiiiide open. pic.twitter.com/kd5oAwRwID— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) November 29, 2015
It's a regular-season MetLife Bowl as the Giants host the New York Jets in the battle for MetLife Stadium bragging rights. The game, of course, is about a lot more than bragging rights for the Giants.
Giants' Remaining Schedule
|New York Jets||Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015||1 p.m. EST|
|@ Miami Dolphins||Monday, Dec. 14, 2015||8:30 p.m. EST|
|Carolina Panthers||Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015||1 p.m. EST|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015||1 p.m. EST|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016||1 p.m. EST|