It was a wild game between division rivals when the New York Giants hosted the Washington Redskins. The Giants came in to the game with a 2-0 record, earned through a pair of nailbiting wins over the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.
Washington came to New York with an 0-2 record, a team desperate for a win.
New York jumped out to an early 21-9 lead, scoring touchdowns on offense and limiting Washington to field goals on their early possessions. It looked like the Giants would finally win one walking away, but injuries and sloppy play changed the dynamic completely. The good numbers were good.
- Eli Manning was 25 for 38, throwing for 350 yards and a touchdown.
- Odell Beckham caught 7 passes for 121 yards and was open for more despite being shadowed by Josh Norman all game. Sterling Shepard caught 5 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown while Victor Cruz made three big catches for 70 yards.
- The Giants gained 120 yards on 21 carries (5.7 yards per carry) and a pair of touchdowns on the ground.
- The defense notched a pair of sacks -- both coming from the defensive line — to go with a pair of forced fumbles. They also held Washington to 90 yards on 30 carries (3 yards per carry).
But the bad numbers were atrocious.
- The Giants were penalized 11 times for 128 yards and the loss of their starting center. That doesn’t count the lost yardage from nullifying Romeo Okwara’s blocked punt (over 40 yards).
- Worse, the Giants once again turned the ball over three times. Two of them were on interceptions by Eli Manning. The first was on a poor route by Will Tye, the second a pass intended for Shane Vereen that got jumped. Vereen also fumbled in the second quarter.
The Giants played by far their sloppiest game of this young year. With well over 100 yards in penalties the Giants repeatedly extended Washington drives and shot themselves in the foot.
Perhaps the biggest mistake was an unnecessary roughness call on rookie safety Andrew Adams that canceled out a huge blocked punt by Romeo Okwara. That mistake cost the Giants dozens of yards in field position and they ultimately had to settle for a field goal. Center Weston Richburg was also hit with a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties which forced his ejection from the game. Former CFL star Brett Jones came on in relief, and while he played well, the Richburg’s absence hurt the Giants. The pace of the offense was slowed as Eli Manning was forced to call the protections — a job usually done by Richburg — and simply missing one of the very best linemen in the game was a blow to the offense.
Adding injury to insult, the Giants were once again careless with the ball, a pair of turnovers at the very least taking points off the board and handing them to Washington... Ultimately along with the game.
The Giants have been careless with the football all season, but relatively clean penalty-wise. Ben McAdoo seems to have his work cut out for him fixing both problems. It’s work he needs to get done sooner rather than later before the Giants give their season away.
The Giants had been relatively healthy through the first two games, but injuries finally hit them Sunday. The Giants came in to the game missing Rashad Jennings,
During the second quarter they lost rookie corner Eli Apple to a hamstring injury. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie later left the field with a groin injury. Their loss left an obvious void in the Giants’ defense. While Leon Hall and Trevin Wade played admirably off the bench, the step down in speed and quality on the defense was obvious, and Washington was able to capitalize.
Big free agent (in every sense of the term) defensive tackle Damon Harrison was in and out of the game in the second half. His absence was noticible as well. Though Jay Bromley flashed as a disruptive presence, Washington found it much easier to run the ball and bleed the clock in the fourth quarter without “Big Snacks” on the field.
The Giants need to hope these talented players can return to the field this week.
Simply put, the better team lost.
The Giants should have won this game going away. Though the defense struggled to get off the field, they largely limited Washington to field goals and Kirk Cousins was under duress for much of the game.
Missed assignments and boneheaded penalties gave the Redskins renewed life and extra chances on defense while they constantly sabotaged themselves on offense and defense.
Continuing the trend from the last few seasons, the Giants failed to capitalize on their opportunities.
They could be undefeated right now. They could have handed a division rival a defeat from which they likely would be unable to recover.
Instead, they suffered their first loss on the season and gifted Washington with a chance to claw out of their 0-2 hole. Though there were a few bright spots, such as the success of the running game, the play of the wide receivers, and the relative success of reserve linemen Bobby Hart and Brett Jones, the Giants have absolutely nothing to feel good about.
If they want to know why they are no longer undefeated, they need simply look in a mirror.