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Giants Come Out Flat Against Redskins, Fall 20-14

A loss like the one the Giants had against the Patriots two weeks ago can really define a team.

One team might consider it a half victory of sorts. They pushed the (then) undefeated, defending world champs to the brink. The Giants have fielded a lot of criticism this year, and a solid performance like that, even in a loss, could be something to build on moving forward.

On the other hand, it was yet another demoralizing, late-game loss in a season plagued by them for the Giants. Another loss like that could set a team back, and kill their confidence.

I don’t know if the Giants lacked confidence against the Redskins on Sunday, but they certainly didn’t play like they did against New England.

And the bye seemingly didn’t help the Giants rest up, as Tom Coughlin even said his team was “sleepwalking” through the first 30 minutes against Washington.

(Photo: USA Today)

(Photo: USA Today)

The first half of Sunday’s game couldn’t have gone much worse for the Giants, who managed a paltry 102 first half yards. Eli Manning was intercepted on both of the Giants’ first two possessions, and the Redskins entered the half with a comfortable 17-0 lead.

The Giants made things interesting in the fourth quarter, scoring two long touchdowns in the game’s final ten minutes. But it was too little too late, as the Giants defense couldn’t get a stop, and the Redskins took over first place in the NFC East.

This was the last thing Giants fans wanted to see coming out of the bye. With Tony Romo out for the season and the Eagles in a tailspin, the Redskins are seemingly the Giants’ only competition for the division crown. A win Sunday would have put the Giants in great position entering the final stretch, but alas, it didn’t happen.

Defensively, the Giants played well enough to keep Big Blue in the game. Redskins running backs averaged just 3.2 YPC. While Redskins QB Kirk Cousins threw for 302 yards, 108 of those yards came on two plays. It wasn’t a flawless performance, but they did what they needed to do.

This offense is a mess right now. Shane Vereen was responsible for Eli’s first pick, but the other two were just bad throws. Rueben Randle looked lackadaisical outside of his touchdown grab, and failed to put up even the smallest fight for the ball when Manning was picked off in the end zone.

The 5-6 Giants still have five games to reverse their fortune, but it’s hard to be encouraged by this team after what we saw on Sunday.

Offensive Game Ball: WR Odell Beckham Jr.

As usual, Beckham was the best player on the field on offense. He hauled in nine passes for 142 yards and a spectacular touchdown grab that’s up there with his legendary catch from last year. The 18 targets are both a testament to Beckham’s skill, and a harsh reminder the Giants have no other weapons on offense. Beckham needs some help.
Defensive Game Ball: LB Devon Kennard

No one on the defense looked spectacular, as the Giants defense did not force a turnover or record a sack on the afternoon. Kennard had a nice game though, tallying ten tackles. With Jon Beason out for the year, Kennard is now the Giants’ most electrifying linebacker, and he has a good nose for the ball and is a tackling machine. He’s a key part of that second line.

The Goat: The offensive line

It’s worth noting Weston Richburg and Justin Pugh didn’t play on Sunday, while Geoff Schwartz left the game with what appears to be a season-ending leg injury. So the o-line wasn’t exactly playing at full strength. But the depth is truly concerning, as the line did not give Manning a ton of time to throw, and he was sacked three times on the day. The makeshift offensive line also did the struggling running game no favors, as the Giants averaged a brutal 2.5 yards on the ground. This unit needs to get healthy, and fast.

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