Through the first two games of the season the Giants had been penalised 7 times for 65 yards. In week 3 vs the Redskins, they were penalised 11 times for 128 yards. Along with 11 penalties, the Giants turned the ball over three times, two errand interceptions thrown by Eli Manning and yet another fumble from Shane Vereen. The Redskins may have won the game 29-27, but the Giants have only themselves to blame.
It all started so well for the Giants, going 14-6 up in the 1st quarter, opening with a 1 yard Shane Vereen run, followed swiftly with a 23 yard touchdown pass from Manning to rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard, whose route running ability continues to be outstanding, shown once again on this touchdown. The Giants defense started well, stifling the run and not allowing Cousins to throw deep on them, as the Redskins only managed 2 field goals.
The Redskins opened up the 2nd quarter with their 3rd field goal as the Giants defense continued to bend but not break. On offense, the Giants were running the ball extremely well, with Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa heading the attack in the absence of Rashad Jennings. The interior offensive line can take a lot of credit for Vereens and Darkwas success, especially Justin Pugh, who was Pro Football Focus’s highest ranked left guard of the week. Vereen and Darkwa finished the game with 67 yards and 53 yards respectively for the day, along with 1 touchdown each.
The Redskins bounced immediately back with a deep pass downfield from Kirk Cousins to who else but DeSean Jackson, a long time destroyer of the Giants secondary. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie got burnt by the speed of Jackson, who was able to cling onto the football in the endzone despite DRC’s best efforts.
The Redskins were unable to capitalise on a recovered fumble (Vereen), as Cousins was strip sacked by Jason Pierre-Paul inside the Giants 10 yard line as time expired for the half. A lucky escape for the Giants, but it would be last turnover the Redskins failed to capitalise on. 21- 16 at the half for the Giants.
The Redskins took their first lead of the day in the 2nd half, as a screen pass from Cousins to Crowder went 55 yards to the endzone, after some excellent blocks and missed tackles. The Giants could only respond with a field goal, luckily a fumble from Manning was recovered by Darkwa or it could’ve been nothing.
The Giants defense then had the Redskins at 4th and 12, following a sack from Olivier Vernon, assisted excellently by JPP. Tress Way faked the punt and threw a beautiful ball down the left side of the field, which was caught by Dunbar. A bold move from Jay Gruden, but one that certainly paid off as the Redskins added 3 more.
The Giants then moved the ball effortlessly down the field, with Manning connecting with Beckham on two consecutive throws. The drive was then halted by Manning as he throws an interception in the endzone intended for Will Tye. On second look, Tye probably should have done better, but Manning also had wide open receivers in Beckham and Shepard.
The Giants D stood up to force a punt from the Redskins, this time blocked by rookie defensive end Romeo Okwara. The ball went out of bounds and the Giants would start inside the Redskins 20. Oh no they wouldn’t. An unnecessary roughness penalty on recent practice squad signing Andrew Adams allowed the Redskins to replay 4th down.
The Giants only managed a field goal on the next drive as the Redskins got the ball back with 7 minutes on the clock and the Giants leading only by 1 point, 27-26.
The Redskins hadn’t run the ball all too well through most of the game, but when they needed it most they did. Shaving nearly 5 minutes off the clock, the Redskins pounded the ball down to the Giants 19 and added another 3 to take the lead 29-27.
Eli Manning is known for his 4th quarter comebacks and his 2 minute drill heroics, but he was unable to pull through for the Giants this time as he was intercepted by rookie linebacker Su’a Cravens intended for Vereen around midfield with 1:09 left in the game. The Redskins would kneel and run out 29-27 winners.
Positives for the Giants?
It’s hard to find positives in a game like this, but the Giants running game was surely one. 120 yards on the ground from 21 plays in the first 37:07 minutes of the game allowed the Giants to surge to a 21-16 lead. But, not a single run play in the remainder of the game may have been the Giants downfall. I still don’t know why McAdoo went away from the run, as it wasn’t like the Giants were chasing the game at any point and needed to throw.
The Giants defense once again had a great game against the run. Only 90 yards in 30 rushing plays as Matt Jones never really got going. Damon Harrison (10 tackles) and Johnathan Hankins were outstanding yet again and these two have been my unsung heroes of this Giants defense so far this season.
The Giants travel to the very impressive 3-0 Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, in a huge game for Big Blue as they don’t want to fall to 2-2 following wins from the unbeaten Eagles (3-0) and the Cowboys (2-1).