Sep 252016
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (September 25, 2016)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

WASHINGTON REDSKINS 29 – NEW YORK GIANTS 27…
Sloppy and undisciplined football cost the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon as they fell to the division-rival Washington Redskins 29-27 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants overall record now stands at 2-1 (1-1 in the NFC East).

The Giants out-gained the Redskins in first downs (28 to 20), total net yards (457 to 403), net yards rushing (120 to 90), and net yards passing (337 to 313). But for the third game in a row the Giants lost the turnover battle (3 to 1). They also committed 11 penalties for 128 yards. There were untimely mistakes in all three phases of the game.

The game was going New York’s way for most of the first half as the Giants led 21-9 with 4:12 remaining in the 2nd quarter. But the Redskins out-scored the Giants 20-6 the rest of the game.

The Giants went three-and-out on their first possession but immediately got the ball back when wide receiver/special teams ace Dwayne Harris recovered a muffed punt at the Washington 28-yard line. Three plays later, running back Shane Vereen scored from one yard out and the Giants were quickly up 7-0. The ensuing kickoff went out-of-bounds, giving the Redskins the ball at the 40-yard line. They gained 29 more yards to set up a successful 49-yard field goal. Giants 7 – Redskins 3.

The Giants went up 14-3 on the their third possession as the team drove 75 yards in eight plays. Quarterback Eli Manning found running back Bobby Rainey for a 24-yard gain, and two plays later hit wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a 23-yard score. The Redskins responded with another field goal as they drove 60 yards in 11 plays to set up a 33-yard effort. The Redskins held on the next Giants possession and Washington returned the punt 50 yards to New York’s 36-yard line. The Redskins could only gain nine yards but it was enough for a 45-yard field goal that cut the score to 14-9.

The Giants scored their last touchdown of the day on their fifth possession as New York drove 75 yards in eight plays, culminating with a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Orleans Darkwa. This was the high-point of the afternoon for the Giants as they now led 21-9 with 4:12 to go before intermission. Yet in two plays, the Redskins cut the score to 21-16 as quarterback Kirk Cousins found wide receiver DeSean Jackson for a 31-yard gain and then a 44-yard touchdown.

The Giants quickly drove to the Washington 30-yard line with two minutes to go, but two negative plays pushed the Giants into a 2nd-and-27 where Vereen fumbled the ball away after a 12-yard gain. The Redskins then threatened late in the half, driving to the Giants 4-yard line, but with only seconds to go, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Cousins and the clock expired. At the half, the Giants led 21-16.

After the Redskins and Giants exchanged punts to start the 3rd quarter, Washington went up 23-21 when Cousins found wide receiver Jamison Crowder for a 55-yard score on 3rd-and-15. The Giants responded with a drive to the Redskins 10-yard line, but were forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown. Giants 24 – Redskins 23.

The Redskins then regained the advantage 26-24 early in the 4th quarter after a lengthy 15-play, 68-yard drive ended with a 25-yard field goal. This drive was aided by a successful 31-yard pass on 4th-and-12 out of a punting formation.

The mistake-prone Giants quickly drove to the Redskins 5-yard line on the ensuing possession, but an 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on center Weston Richburg (which caused him to be thrown out of the game) pushed the Giants back. Manning was then intercepted in the end zone, ending the threat. The Giants then blew a big opportunity after a blocked punt was wiped out due to an unnecessary roughness penalty on safety Andrew Adams. Instead of getting the ball inside the Washington 20-yard line, New York had to start their possession at their own 30. They did drive to the Washington 12-yard line but were forced to settle for a 30-yard field goal that gave the Giants a 27-26 lead with 7:53 to go in the game.

Nevertheless, New York’s defense could not hold the lead as Washington managed another long possession, driving 56 yards in 10 plays and taking over six minutes off of the clock. The 37-yard field goal gave Washington a 29-27 lead with 1:51 to play. After the Giants converted on 3rd-and-14 with an 18-yard pass from Manning to wide receiver Victor Cruz, the game was ended when Manning was picked off over the middle by defensive back Su’a Cravens with just over a minute to play.

Offensively, Eli Manning completed 25-of-38 passes for 350 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. His leading receivers were wideouts Odell Beckham (7 catches for 121 yards), Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 73 yards), and Victor Cruz (3 catches for 70 yards). The only backs to carry the ball were Shane Vereen (11 carries for 67 yards) and Orleans Darkwa (10 carries for 53 yards).

Defensively, defensive tackle Damon Harrison led the team with 10 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss. Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon each had sacks and the two combined for 3 tackles for a loss and 4 quarterback hits as well.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were running back Rashad Jennings (thumb), offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf), free safety Darian Thompson (foot), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (illness), quarterback Josh Johnson, wide receiver Roger Lewis, and defensive tackle Montori Hughes.

Cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) and Eli Apple (hamstring) left the game with injuries and did not return. There is no official word yet on the severity of either injury although Rodgers-Cromartie had a noticeable limp in the locker room after the game.

Running back Shane Vereen said after the game he had to see the doctor, but he did not disclose what his injury was.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants three games have been decided by a total of six points.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham caught his 200th career reception in his 30th game. That is the fewest number of games a player needed to reach 200 catches in NFL history. Beckham increased his career total to 3,035 receiving yards in, again, 30 games. That is an NFL record.

GIANTS SIGN ANDREW ADAMS TO 53-MAN ROSTER, CUT MICHAEL HUNTER…
The New York Giants signed safety Andrew Adams to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad on Saturday. To make room for Adams, the Giants waived cornerback Michael Hunter.

ARTICLES…

Sep 232016
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Game Preview: Washington Redskins at New York Giants, September 25, 2016

THE STORYLINE:
This is a big game. Going up 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the NFC East this early would put the Giants in the early driver seat for the division title. The Redskins are the defending NFC East Champions and we’ve seen what happens when the Giants and their fans take the Redskins too lightly (see last year’s game in Landover, Maryland). The Redskins season teeters on the brink as losing would give them a 0-3 record and a 0-2 division record. Expect their best effort.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Rashad Jennings (thumb) – questionable
  • RT Marshall Newhouse (calf) – out
  • DE Olivier Vernon (wrist) – probable
  • DT Robert Thomas (illness) – out
  • FS Darian Thompson (foot) – out

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The Washington Redskins are struggling on defense, currently ranked 28th overall (21st against the pass, 27th against the run). Their defensive line is mediocre at best and the secondary has had issues. That said, there are some match-up concerns for the Giants in this game. The Redskins operate a 3-4 defense but they will switch things up quite a bit with various packages. With Marshall Newhouse out, expect the Redskins to try to isolate their best pass rusher – Ryan Kerrigan (who has given the Giants problems in the past) – on Bobby Hart or Will Beatty. Preston Smith and Trent Murhpy are two other LB/DE ‘tweeners who can rush the passer.

The Giants will likely attack the Redskins with a balanced attack, employing an equal amount of running and passing plays. Jennings’ left thumb injury is a concern as the Giants have had issues holding onto the football. The team has one solid rushing game and one poor effort so it will be interesting to see how the team is able to run the ball against a Washington defensive front that has had problems.

What we have seen through the first two games is that Ben McAdoo is heavily relying on the Eli Manning to Odell Beckham-Sterling Shepard-Victor Cruz trio. There has been talk all week about Beckham versus Josh Norman, who is clearly Washington’s best defensive back. Norman did not shadow Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant last week but there has been some reporting that he will shadow Beckham in this contest. The Giants can’t and won’t get caught up with these concerns. Beckham is talented enough to beat any cornerback in the NFL and the Giants can exploit the other defensive backs in the secondary with any of their top three receivers.

What the Giants do need to stop doing is turning the football over. That hasn’t cost them yet, but it will if it continues. They have four turnovers in first two games. They also need to get back to their Week 1 success in the redzone.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
On paper, this looks like a good match-up for the Giants. Much of the success of the Redskins offense is based on their ability to run the football. While they are currently ranked 25th in rushing in terms of yards per game, Washington is 6th in the NFL in yards-per-carry (4.7). If the Giants can duplicate their early season success in stopping the run, that will place a lot more pressure on QB Kirk Cousins, who has been shaky thus far. Cousins has had some rough moments against the Giants and the Giants are due for some turnovers (none so far despite a far more athletic, aggressive, and talented defense).

That all said, while the Cowboys get all of the attention in the division for their offensive line, the Redskins have a pretty darn strong group as well. The Men in Blue up front had better not take them lightly. Matt Jones is a very talented running back and the Giants need to keep him in check. Much of the Skins offense is also centered around play-action – look for a heavy dose of that as Washington tries to sucker the Giants young and aggressive safeties. Landon Collins and Nat Berhe are going to be on the spot.

Cousins is a strange quarterback. At times he looks terrible, at other times he looks amazing. While he has justly been criticized for a rough start (1 touchdown, 3 interceptions), he still is completing an outstanding 65 percent of his passes. Cousins tends to throw more underneath (hence his higher completion percentage) and when he throws farther down field, he tends to get into trouble. That said, the Redskins have some very dangerous outside weapons including DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder. There will be a temptation by the cornerbacks to sit on the shorter stuff, but they need to be very careful of the occasional deep shots. In addition, Washington will employ bubble screens to the wideouts so the corners will have to be aggressive in countering that. Tight end Jordan Reed is an exceptional receiving tight end who has giving the Giants fits.

The game plan is obvious. Stop the run. Get after Cousins and force him to make bad decisions.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The added talent and athleticism on the Giants roster is starting to translate to special teams. For example, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins are a threat on every field goal attempt. What the Giants need to clean up is their punt coverage (kickoff coverage – knock on wood – has been good so far). Dwayne Harris is due to break one.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Steve Spagnuolo on the safety position: “Yeah, it’s getting to be a concern. We’ll miss Darian Thompson. He kind of communicated back there and kind of glues things together. Landon’s just got to step up and help out the guy that’s next to him, whether it’s Nat Berhe or whoever it is. But, we’re getting thin at safety.”

THE FINAL WORD:
This is a game that a Tom Coughlin team (circa 2012-15) would lose. It scares the heck out of me because this is probably the Redskins season. Meanwhile, the Giants have been feeling good about themselves and talking a bit too much trash for my taste this week. The Giants are the better team, but if they don’t match the Redskins intensity, they will lose.

Nov 302015
 
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monty

Washington Redskins 20 – New York Giants 14

Overview

The eternal football debate when your team loses: did you simply lose to the better team on that day, or did you not match their intensity and beat yourself? The New York Giants insist the latter. They claim they slept walk through three quarters. But that simply could be a coping mechanism. We’ll never really know for sure.

Empirically, all we can go by is what we see on the tape. And it’s not good. The Giants got their butts whipped in the trenches. The Redskins out-rushed the Giants 105 yards to 33 yards. Eli Manning was sacked three times and officially hit eight more times while Kirk Cousins wasn’t sacked and only hit three times. Even though the Giants ran 67 offensive plays, they only held the ball 24 minutes while the Skins ran one fewer play and held it 36 minutes. New York lost the turnover battle 3-0. While none of those turnovers led to Redskins’ points, they did deprive New York of at least one red zone scoring opportunity in the third quarter.

In the end, at least on this particular day, the Washington Redskins were the better team. They played better on offense and defense.

As for the New York Giants, shame on them. Shame on the entire franchise for putting that product on the field in a game of this magnitude. Had the Giants won, they were almost a lock to win the NFC East and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Now they will have to scratch, claw, and pray to make it. Shame on them. They had claimed that the four heart-breaking losses earlier in the season have made them more mentally tough. Bullshit.

Quarterback

Thanks to General Manager Jerry Reese and the team’s unending injury situation year after year, this team lives or dies with its quarterback play. They can’t rely on a defense or running game – both of which are once again among the NFL’s worst. So when Eli Manning and the passing game is clicking, this team has a chance to win any game. If they are not clicking, a loss is inevitable. Manning did not play well on Sunday. The first interception was not on him. Even though the second was tipped into Dwayne Harris’ hands, that was a poor decision on the part of Manning. Fans are debating who was more to blame on the killer red zone interception in the third quarter – Manning or wideout Rueben Randle – but the ball was thrown behind Randle. At other moments, a somewhat rattled Manning threw the ball up for grabs before settling down in the 4th quarter and making some clutch throws, none better than his 4th-and-16 touchdown throw to Randle. He later added a 21-yard strike to Odell Beckham. But it was too little, too late. On a day when the Giants run-to-pass ratio was 13 to 54, the passing game simply did not produce. There were too many misfires and throws into traffic. The Giants’ first 10 drives ended in three interceptions and seven punts. The Giants were 3-of-15 (20 percent) on third down. Manning was also flagged with a delay-of-game penalty on the play before his first interception.

Running Backs

The Giants’ four running backs rushed for 32 yards against the 30th-ranked run defense in the NFL. New York only gained one rushing yard in the entire second half, and that was by wideout Dwayne Harris. Now to be fair, those stats are skewed because the Giants only rushed the ball 13 times despite having 67 offensive snaps (and only rushed the ball three times total in the second half). But the longest run of the day was only eight yards. Despite having six carries, Rashad Jennings only accrued 14 yards (2.3 yards per carry). Orleans Darkwa carried the ball twice for two yards and Andre Williams carried it twice for one yard. Shane Vereen had 15 yards on two carries, but his drop caused the first interception.

The stats are even more alarming when you consider that the Giants actually started the game running the ball well. They gained 24 yards on four carries on their initial possession. In other words, the Giants gained only nine rushing yards on 12 of their 13 offensive possessions.

Wide Receivers

Against an injury-depleted and suspect secondary, more was expected. Once again, Odell Beckham was the headliner with 9 catches for 142 yards and a sensational, one-handed, diving touchdown grab that cut the score to 20-14 with just under five minutes to play. But like against the Patriots, too many of Eli Manning’s throws to Beckham fell incomplete. Against New England, Beckham caught 4-of-12 targets thrown in his direction. Against Washington, Beckham caught 9-of-18 targets. That’s 17 incompletions to one receiver in two games. The Giants are trying to get the ball to Beckham more, but even though he is getting his 100+ yards, the passer-to-target efficiency isn’t there and drives are stalling. If we’re going to be honest, the Redskins’ cornerbacks did a nice job on Beckham most of the game.

With the Redskins rolling their coverage to Beckham, this was a golden opportunity for Rueben Randle to have a big game and he laid an egg. He had one catch in six targets. He didn’t come back for the football on one end zone shot and two plays later drifted backwards on his route, allowing the cornerback to come underneath and pick off the ball. Randle dropped a pass and seemed completely out of sync with Manning. Dwayne Harris also did not produce, catching 2-of-5 targets for 28 yards. Hakeem Nicks got his feet wet catching 1-of-2 passes thrown his way for 4 yards. In the end, Beckham caught 142 yards and the other four active receivers caught 72 yards on a day when Manning dropped back 54 times.

Tight Ends

Will Tye and Jerome Cunningham were the only two right ends active. Tye had a solid day, catching 6-of-8 targets for 74 yards. Tye caught three passes for 52 yards on the Giants’ second TD drive, including a 28 yarder on 4th-and-2. Cunningham was targeted four times, but only caught one pass for 2 yards. Cunningham (and RG Bobby Hart) completely whiffed on their defenders on a running play that lost four yards in the 3rd quarter.

Offensive Line

With both Weston Richburg (ankle) and Justin Pugh (concussion) out, the Giants made the unusual move of switching Geoff Schwartz to left guard, preferring to play John Jerry at right guard. Those plans had to be scrapped before intermission when the injury-prone Schwartz fractured his lower leg. Jerry then moved back to left guard and rookie Bobby Hart was inserted at right guard. It was pretty clear the coaches didn’t really trust the interior trio of Jerry, Dallas Reynolds, and Hart in terms of the ground game as the team only ran the ball three times in the second half, and all three of those runs were outside efforts. Yes, the Giants were down by three scores but they didn’t call any of their usual inside shotgun running plays to Vereen or Jennings. Pass protection also became an issue as Eli Manning was sacked three times, officially hit eight times, and was never really comfortable in the pocket. RT Marshall Newhouse had issues in particular with OLB Ryan Kerrigan, who had two sacks against him. Newhouse also gave up the third sack to DE Chris Baker on a stunt. John Jerry was flagged with holding when the Giants were moving the ball on their third possession, helping to stall a drive when the score was still 0-0. Ereck Flowers had some issues on a couple of outside pass rushes. Reynolds whiffed in pass protection on the end zone shot to Randle where Eli was forced to drift backwards. Given the circumstances, Hart performed better than expected.

Defensive Line

The defensive line was out-played up front. The run defense was decent in the first half, allowing the Skins’ running backs only 30 yards on 11 carries (2.7 yards per carry). But the Washington ground game picked up momentum in the second half, gaining 74 yards in 22 carries (3.4 yards per carry). That’s not stellar productivity for the Redskins, but it was enough to help control the clock and eliminate any chance of a comeback.

The bigger problem was the complete lack of a pass rush. Kirk Cousins was not sacked and only hit three times, two of those by defensive linemen Cullen Jenkins and Robert Ayers. Cousins rarely was under any duress and at times it must have seemed like training camp drills for him. Jay Bromley was flagged with a roughing-the-passer penalty when the Skins were attempting to run out the clock after New York’s first score in the 4th quarter.

Linebackers

The linebackers were fairly active with Devon Kennard (10 tackles), Jasper Brinkley (6 tackles, 1 TFL), and Jonathan Casillas (5 tackles, 1 pass defense) accruing 21 tackles. J.T. Thomas returned to action after missing a few games but did not show up on the stat sheet. A killer play in the game was the 45-yard screen pass to RB Matt Jones late in the first half that helped to set up the touchdown that put the Redskins up 17-0…both Kennard and Brinkley misread the play. Casillas also missed a tackle after a short throw on 3rd-and-22 that helped the Redskins get into more manageable field goal range.

Defensive Backs

Kirk Cousins completed 20-of-29 passes (69 percent) for 302 yards and a 114.4 quarterback rating (Eli’s QBR was 59.4 or half that). Aside from one huge play, the Redskins’ wide receivers did not do much damage. Pierre Garcon was held to 3 catches for 35 yards, Jamison Crowder 2 catches for 12 yards, Ryan Grant 1 catch for 19 yards, and Chris Thompson 1 catch for 9 yards. And Giants-killer DeSean Jackson only had two catches, one of which went for 3 yards. The problem? Jackson’s only other catch went for 63 yards and a touchdown when he badly beat CB Jayron Hosley (who was subbing for the injured Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and S Brandon Meriweather. “It was a speed break out the huddle,” Jackson said. “We said we were going to hurry up and hike the ball. We kind of caught the defense off guard.” The next longest completion to a wide receiver was the 19 yarder to Jones. Rodgers-Cromartie dropped what should have been a 64-yard interception for a touchdown in the first quarter when the game was still 0-0.

Aside from Jackson, the real thorn was tight end Jordan Reed, who caught eight passes for 98 yards, including catches of 26, 20, and 20 yards. The first 20 yarder came on the Redskins’ second TD drive and the the second one came on 3rd-an-5 with 3:29 left on the clock and the Giants trailing by six points. Craig Dahl was beaten on both plays.

Special Teams

Not good enough. Jay Bromley did block a 51-yard field goal effort. And the Redskins longest kickoff return was 25 yards. But Jamison Crowder had two 12-yard punt returns. Dwayne Harris only gained 14 yards on four punt returns and 19 yards on one kickoff return. Harris’ decision to return the last Redskins’ punt inside the 5-yard line was a dumb decision that cost the Giants yards and a few precious seconds. He also muffed a punt that he recovered. Brad Wing had two punts result in touchbacks (though both had a chance to be downed at the 1-yard line) and three downed inside the 20. He averaged 50.4 yards per punt with a net of 41.

Coaching

Offensively, the Giants were hamstrung by the offensive line issues and not having an A-game from Manning his his targets. But this running back-by-committee approach is not working. Stick with one or two guys. The Giants had a nice rhythm running the ball on their first drive. Vereen had back-to-back runs for a total of 15 yards and he never ran the ball again. Dumb.

I hated the defensive play calls after the Giants cut the scored to 20-14. The Giants played it too conservatively, not coming after Cousins. Worse, despite not bringing extra rushers, they left Dahl all alone on Cousins’ go-to guy – Jordan Reed – on 3rd-and-5 with 3:29 left to play. He’s the guy you want to double in that situation. Dumb.

Cram it in your Cramhole Award

Even though Joey couldn’t do the game review this week, I decided to keep this going in his honor. The choice was obvious: the entire New York Giants team. How in the world do you play so poorly with so much at stake? It’s one thing to lose. It’s another be trailing 20-0 in the 4th quarter to the Washington Redskins. The Giants didn’t score a single point on their first 10 offensive possessions. The defense didn’t force a turnover or register a sack. Shame on the players and coaches.

(New York Giants at Washington Redskins, November 29, 2015)
Nov 292015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 29, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

WASHINGTON REDSKINS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 14
The New York Giants lost a critical division game to the Washington Redskins, 20-14, on Sunday afternoon in Landover, Maryland. With the defeat, the Giants fell to 5-6 overall and 2-3 in the NFC East. The Giants are still tied with the Redskins for first place in the dismal NFC East with five games left to play. However, the Giants lost starting guard Geoff Schwartz for the season with a fractured lower leg.

The Giants’ offense was dismal, being shutout for three quarters against the NFL’s 22nd-ranked defense. New York’s first two drives quickly ended with interceptions off of tipped passes. In the Giants’ five other first-half drives, the team only gained four first downs and punted the ball away five times.

The Redskins could not convert the Giants’ two first-half interceptions into points as the defense forced a three-and-out and defensive tackle Jay Bromley blocked a 51-yard field goal attempt. However, Washington was still able to take a commanding 17-0 halftime advantage due to a 12-play, 56-yard field goal drive; a 63-yard deep strike from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver DeSean Jackson after cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game with an ankle injury; and a 9-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a quarterback keeper on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line near the end of the first half.

The Giants had a chance to get back into the game early in the third quarter after the Redskins turned the ball over on downs at the New York 37-yard line. The Giants responded by driving 59 yards in eight plays down to the Washington 4-yard line. But on 3rd-and-goal, Manning’s pass was thrown behind wide receiver Rueben Randle and intercepted in the end zone.

The Giants went three-and-out on their next two possessions as the Redskins added a 33-yard field goal to go up 20-0 early in the 4th quarter. The Giants made things interesting late with two touchdown throws, including a 40-yard pass to Randle on 4th-and-16 with 10:10 remaining and a spectacular 21-yard, diving catch by wide receiver Odell Beckham with 4:57 remaining.

Nevertheless, the Giants’ defense could not get the ball back quickly after the latter score, allowing the Redskins to gain 37 yards and two first downs, taking 4:38 off of the clock. The Giants started their last drive at their own 20-yard with with only 19 seconds left.

Offensively, the Giants finished with 17 first downs, 299 net yards passing, and a pathetic 33 yards rushing against the NFL’s 30th-ranked run defense. Manning finished the game 26-of-51 for 321 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He was sacked three times and officially hit eight other times. Beckham caught 9-of-18 passes thrown in his direction for 142 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Will Tye caught 6 passes for 74 yards. No Giants’ running back gained more than 15 yards.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 18 first downs, 302 net yards passing, and 105 rushing yards. The defense did not force a turnover. Cousins completed 69 percent of his passes, was not sacked, and only hit three times.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Offensive guard Geoff Schwartz fractured his lower leg in the first half. His season is over. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured his ankle but returned to the game.

POST-GAME REACTIONS…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham (Video)
  • WR Rueben Randle (Video)
  • DT Cullen Jenkins (Video)

POST-GAME NOTES…
Inactive for the Giants were TE Larry Donnell (neck), OC Weston Richburg (ankle), LG Justin Pugh (concussion), WR Geremy Davis, DE George Selvie, CB Leon McFadden, and S Cooper Taylor.

ARTICLES…

Nov 272015
 
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New York Giants Defense (September 24, 2015)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants at Washington Redskins, November 29, 2015

THE STORYLINE:
It’s been a roller coaster season filled with ups and downs, bad injury news, and four heart-breaking defeats. But through 10 games with six to play, the Giants find themselves in first place in the NFC East, with two of their primary challengers all but officially dead. As unthinkable as it seemed only a week ago, the Giants can virtually lock up a playoff spot before December if they beat the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

These circumstances make this contest one of the most important the Giants will play in 2015. But as important as the game is to the Giants, it’s Washington’s season. If the Redskins lose, like the Cowboys and Eagles, they are all but officially done. Expect playoff-type intensity from the Redskins at Sunday – a team that is 4-1 at home this year, including wins over two teams (the Eagles and Saints) that have beaten the Giants. The Giants need to match or surpass that intensity to win.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • TE Larry Donnell (neck – out)
  • OC Weston Richburg (ankle – doubtful)
  • LG Justin Pugh (concussion – out)
  • RG Geoff Schwartz (ankle – probable)
  • LB J.T. Thomas (ankle – questionable)
  • LB Mark Herzlich (quad – out)
  • LB Uani ‘Unga (neck – probable)
  • DE Damontre Moore (hamstring – probable)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral – probable)
  • CB Leon McFadden (groin – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The Redskins are 22nd in overall defense (12th against the pass and 30th against the run). Those figures suggest the Giants should remain balanced. When the Giants defeated the Redskins at the Meadowlands back in September, the Giants passed the ball 32 times for 279 yards and ran it 31 times for 84 yards. But a few variables have changed since that first meeting. New York’s two best offensive linemen – center Weston Richburg and left guard Justin Pugh – are out. That will put a damper on an already moribund rushing game (26th in the NFL). A good running play is usually a well-choreographed affair where one breakdown can lead to failure. Take out two important cogs, especially two of the team’s best run blockers, and it’s not likely that the Giants will be able to generate much success against a defense that has struggled against the run lately.

The other factor that suggests more emphasis on the pass is that Redskins’ cornerback Chris Culliver tore his ACL and MCL in practice on Thanksgiving, making an already somewhat shaky secondary more vulnerable. That doesn’t mean the Giants should abandon the run, but I would emphasize the short-passing game early in lieu of the run – which is what Ben McAdoo often does anyways in some contests.

Washington only has 17 sacks on the season and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (4.5 sacks) remains their best pass rusher. The Redskins will line him on both sides so he will likely battle both starting offensive tackles. Inside linebacker Perry Riley is athletic and flashes at times. 3-4 right defensive end Jason Hatcher has been bothered by a knee issue. Bashaud Breeland is now Washington’s best corner, and he is up and down. The safeties are ordinary at best, and Dashon Goldson has been battling a slew of injuries. Eli Manning and his receivers should be able to do some damage against this group if the injury-depleted offensive line can give him time. Look for Washington to blitz up the middle to test Dallas Reynolds and John Jerry.

This game is too important to get too cute with. Put the ball in the hands of your best play-makers: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, and Shane Vereen. The week off should have helped Rueben Randle too and I could see him having a big day against Washington as they roll their coverage towards Beckham. Eli has played very well against the Redskins in recent games.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Kirk Cousins is coming on, but to date, he has really struggled against the Giants. Cousins was named “NFC Offensive Player of the Week” against the Buccaneers and had a perfect 158.3 QB rating against the Saints. He’s completing 68 percent of his passes, and as Tom Coughlin pointed out, 80 percent in his last two home games. Cousins brought his team back from a 24-0 deficit against the Buccaneers – a warning for a New York defense that has demonstrated a startling inability to hold leads.

Former Eagle and Giants-killer DeSean Jackson missed the first Giants-Redskins game with a hamstring injury. He’s an explosive deep threat who can put points on the board quickly. Fellow wideout Pierre Garcon is a savvy playmaker as is tight end Jordan Reed (6 touchdowns). Reed plays more like a wide receiver than tight end and is a match-up problem. Diminutive Jamison Crowder has 43 catches as the slot receiver. The Redskins are far more talented at the skill positions than a lot of fans realize. The Giants could focus more on Garcon and Reed in the first game with Jackson out, but they won’t have that luxury this time around. The good news for the Giants is that Prince Amukamara is back, but the Redskins surely have noticed the issues free safety Landon Collins has had in recent weeks.

The Redskins started off the season running the ball very well, but have struggled more of late. That said, this is big offensive line with quality, physical running backs who are sure to test a Giants’ defensive line missing Johnathan Hankins inside. Hankins wasn’t really missed against the Patriots, but this is a different style of opponent. The Giants will need a strong game from Cullen Jenkins, Jay Bromley, and Markus Kuhn. Trent Williams is one of the better left tackles in football, but Jason Pierre-Paul has given him trouble at times and Williams is battling a knee injury.

The Giants need to stop the run and make the Redskins one-dimensional. That will help take away the play-action pass and put pressure on Cousins to perform against a Giants team that he has turned the ball over against in the last three games between these two teams.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Redskins have returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, one against the Giants in Week 3 and the other last week against the Panthers. The Giants have also struggled lately on punt return coverage, with long returns by the Saints and Patriots possibly costing the Giants both games. The Redskins’ kicker has 30 kickoffs resulting in touchbacks and Washington is 2nd in the NFL in kickoff coverage so kickoff returns may be tough this week. Dwayne Harris has yet to break one on a punt return. Keep in mind the Giants blocked a punt against Washington in Week 3.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin on Kirk Cousins: “I think he’s much more confident. I think the rhythm with which he goes about his business, particularly in the play-action pass game, is outstanding.”

THE FINAL WORD:
The Giants’ 97 wins versus Washington are the most for one team against another in pro football history. And the Giants are 5-0 against Washington in their last five contests. Much of that latter discrepancy has been due to the difference in play between Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins when these two teams have met. But don’t sleep on Washington. Cousins has a very talented group of targets who can present serious match-up issues for the Giants. This game is Washington’s season. Expect their best effort.

Sep 272015
 
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New York Giants 32 – Washington Redskins 21

Confusing Intro

Two 4th quarter leads blown, 0-2 and playing without your starting LT, best cover corner and best DL against a suddenly revitalized Washington Redskins (161 and 182 yards on the ground to open the year against two of the best defensive fronts in the league in St. Louis and Miami) team that vows to “Break the man in front of you”, were the Giants already dead in week three?  Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your team here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.

It turns out the Giants did learn from their first two weeks, not taking their collective feet off the gas in a 32-21 win over the Washington Redskins. Staked to an early 9-0 bulge thanks to a Prince Amukamara INT and Rashad Jennings blocked punt for a safety, the Giants were never really threatened in this one despite a 101-yard kickoff return in the 4th quarter that cut a 32-14 lead to 32-21 and had to make some Giant fans wonder, are we going to cough up the lead again? Never fear, Kirk Cousins is here, and the former Spartan was again generous throwing 2 costly INTs, one inside his own 20 and another when it appeared the Skins were finally gaining some footing on offense. Questions will be raised about Tom Coughlin’s sanity again though, because with under 2 minutes left in the game he inexplicably chose to throw the ball on a 3rd-and-10, essentially gifting his opponent about 40 seconds of clock time late in the game for the second time in three weeks. Fortunately this was Kirk Cousins and not Matt Ryan or Tony Romo and the Skins final effort was an 8-play, 64-yard clunker that ended on a 26-yard garbage time run as time expired. The Giants are not quite dead, which means we can’t yet go through their pockets and look for loose change but we just might get a miracle if the teams in the NFC East keep losing players and we start to get some back next week against the Buffalo Bills.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quarterbacks

My name is Eli Manning, you killed my first two games, prepare to die. Eli Manning started the game 8-of-8, looking sharp and decisive with the ball, seeming to involve Rueben Randle early to get the 4th-year pro in a groove to help this offense. Manning found Odell Beckham on a 4th-and-1 conversion on a simply perfect pass low and outside where only his WR could make the catch and again Beckham was on the receiving end of a perfectly-placed toss into the end zone to the high post. Despite the first two games and non-stop criticism, Eli stepped onto the big stage and did what Eli does, he played to win the game and he did just that. That is the Eli we want, that is the Eli we expect and with another makeshift OL, no real slot WR and a frustrating TE situation the Big E came up huge when he had to. Up 25 to 14, instead of going into a shell, Eli and company fired the dagger with a back shoulder pass to Rueben Randle that DB Bashaud Breeland (can someone name a kid Bill or Ted or something, ffs this is getting out of control) tipped, but Randle gathered it and went in for the score. Manning finished the day with 279 yards, 2 TDs and again no interceptions.

Running Backs

Andre Williams gets the first nod for his bruising TD run over left guard following a Prince Amukamara INT to stake the G-men to a 9-0 lead. Late in the 3rd quarter, Williams did his best Brandon Jacobs, in trucking FS Trenton Robinson on a 5-yard run that had to make Skins fans shudder at the memory of old #27 obliterating S LaRon Landry. Other than that, a pretty poor night for the backs again, with a paltry 2.7 ypc average with 11 yards as the long run of the night. This mix and match zone runs and power runs has the OL and backs tied up and simply not performing well at all. It may be time to see what Orleans Darkwa can do because this running game is dead in the water. FB Nikita Whitlock didn’t play many snaps on offense. RB Shane Vereen was held catchless and only touched the ball 6 times but his alert onside recovery saved what could have turned into another late game meltdown.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Wide Receivers

Someone must have threatened to put Rueben Randle’s hand in warm water the next time he falls asleep if he didn’t show up this week, because the 4th-year former Bayou Bengal came out punching and didn’t let up. Randle ran a great DIG route on a 3rd-and-8 early in the 3rd to pick up a key conversion. To top things off, Randle pulled in a 3rd-and-10 with the Giants up 11 and only 3:33 left, and raced home for the game-clinching TD. Great night for Randle who finished with 116 yards on 7 grabs and the game-clinching TD. Superlatives simply don’t work anymore when discussing Odell Beckham Jr. He finished with a pedestrian (for him) 79 yards on 7 catches but his 4th-and-1 snag of a low slider from Eli and his effortless grab of a post in the end zone that was high and near a defender just shows how composed he is with the ball in the air and how much his QB trusts him.

Tight Ends

Washington-killer TE Larry Donnell killed a Giants drive midway through the 2nd quarter. An easy 3rd-and-7 conversion fell right through the 6’6” Donnell’s hands killing a drive that ended in a FG. The head scratcher? Donnell seemed to somersault just because he can on a 22-yard catch from Manning as the 4th quarter opened. I mean he didn’t fumble so that’s great but the non-induced gymnastics need to go. Every time he plays, Daniel Fells seems to have a big catch down the seam. Manning found Fells on a seam route on a Giants scoring drive midway through the second quarter. Fells deked LB Keenan Robinson with a jab step outside, got inside leverage and ran a perfect seam route for a 23-yard gain. He’s not flashy, but Fells is as fundamentally sound a TE as this team has had for some time.

Offensive Line

Without starting LT Ereck Flowers, things appeared to be grim against a Washington front that gave the Dolphins and Rams fits. Overall, not a bad job really, though at times RT Marshall Newhouse tried out his new skates when Ryan Kerrigan lined up over him. Newhouse did gave up some pressures, but kept a clean sheet and against a player of Kerrigan’s caliber that’s worth a pat on the backside. Not from me of course, that would be weird. The signal caller was kept clean all game and with few exceptions the pocket was fairly well-formed and stable most of the night. There was definitely pressure at times, but credit C Weston Richburg for keeping slight pressures from becoming drive-killing sacks by helping and switching to double team when needed. LT Justin Pugh acquitted himself well in rookie tough guy Flowers’ absence, and dare I say it, LG John Jerry played a pretty solid game, using his considerable backside to anchor well against a very big and very physical Washington front 7. Against bigger, physical lines, the 680 lb guard tandem of Geoff Schwartz and Jerry will actually be a big plus. C Weston Richburg largely goes unnoticed but ask Eli how much he appreciates room to step up into the pocket and the ability to dump off a screen pass and have his agile pivot man get out in front of the play and actually give it a shot. Another unsung improvement who won’t be on Sports Center or make the Daily News’ goofy headlines, but rest assured our 2nd year center is becoming exactly what this offense needs, a steady sturdy leader who can captain this young and now promising OL.

New York Giants Defense (September 24, 2015)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Line

Kerry Wynn made his mark early, knifing through on a 3rd down to drop Matt Jones for a loss and force punt #2. Wynn finished with 8 stops and a QB hit, and in case that doesn’t tell the story clearly, that would be a 128-tackle season for a DL. As a point of reference, Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s best year was 2005 when he finished with 81 stops. Am I inducting Kerry Wynn into the Hall of Fame because he went to school in Virginia? Yes, yes I am. Wynn likely won’t ever make a Pro Bowl or spit pieces of a PBJ on a reporter, but make no mistake, #72 was a difference-maker all night against what was a vaunted Washington running game. Consistent backside tackles and an ability to hold the edge made Wynn a force all night. His linemates didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but play after play, the Giants DL played with outstanding technique, not allowing cut-back lanes, shutting off the edge and forcing bruising RBs Matt Jones and Alfred Morris to churn out yards inside. The G-Men held the W’s to 88 yards, 26 of it on a last-second run that can easily be tossed out to show how dominant this group was all night. Cool moment of the night: FB/DT Nikita Whitlock had an impressive 360 spin to get in Cousins face from the NT spot and force an incompletion. With the Skins down 19 entering the 4th quarter, it was pin your ears back time and the Giants DL didn’t get much in the way of sacks, though Kerry Wynn and Jay Bromley each chipped in with a couple of QB hurries. That lack of pressure may come back to bite this group eventually but we’ll take this one week at a time and worry about that when and if it happens.

Linebackers

OLB Devon Kennard just keeps making play after play. The 2nd-year former Trojan LOVES contact and it shows. Kennard’s ability to shock with his hands is something this team hasn’t seen since Carl Banks roamed the Meadowlands. What made Banks such a dynamic run and edge defender was his ability to stay square and “shock” or jolt the man blocking him violently with his hands, holding the vaunted edge and controlling the running game. Kennard does the same thing when asked in 3-4 sets, and he gets better every week at it. It’s not glamorous, it’s not cool but key on #59 a few times and watch how violent his hands are and how aggressively he defeats blocks of 300lb lineman with ease. It’s a beautiful thing. LB Jonathan Casillas may have had the whiff of the game when he was handed a perfect blitz and clean shot at Kirk Cousins and he ran right past the QB. It was coincidentally the same fake-blitz-that-becomes-a-blitz that LB Kawika Mitchell executed in Super Bowl 42 to hurry a Tom Brady throw. At the snap, Casillas takes a drop step into his zone, then zips inside a lane created by the DL, only to miss a chance at a sack. Casillas was almost victimized by TE Jordan Reed who had flown past the LB into the end zone but Kirk Cousined it and the Skins were forced to kick the oblong pigskin for points. LB Jon Beason returned from his latest injury room vacation but didn’t register a tackle or have really any impact in limited action. He did avoid a season-ending injury so let’s call that a win. Beason’s understudy (hoping to make the journey from Milan to Minsk) Uani’ Unga picked off a Cousins’ pass with the Skins driving and the G-Men up 12. And with the Giants scoring on the ensuing possession, that INT turned out to be a huge moment in the game. It was of course tipped by Devon Kennard who had perfect coverage on the play and batted the ball into the air, so just get used to 59 making things happen seemingly all over the field. Unga could be blamed on Chris Thompson’s TD catch late in the 4th quarter as the old-young rookie failed to get sufficient depth in his drop, opening a small window for the Cousins pass.

Landon Collins, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Backs

Prince Amukamara, victimized by Julio Jones and the Falcons game-winning drive, redeemed himself instantly with an INT inside Washington territory that led to an early and easy TD. The Prince batted away a pass to a seemingly-open Pierre Garcon. S Landon Collins looks like he’s rounding into form, making a key breakup early in the 2nd quarter against athletic TE Jordan Reed. Collins had Reed in man coverage all the way and Collins looked to be beaten but he closed down quickly, read Reed’s eyes and turned to find the ball and knock it away at the last second. The ball could have been thrown a bit better, but credit Collins with one of those little smart football things (watching a WRs eyes when running with him to find the ball) that don’t get enough credit. Heady play by the rookie. I bemoaned the signing of S Brandon Meriweather, but thus far #22 has been a solidifying force in the secondary. His strong effort around the line of scrimmage and ability to support the run game have been critical in this defense’s ability to limit ground yardage. Everyone’s favorite punching bag now that Markus Kuhn is on the pine, is undoubtedly CB Jayron Hosley, but the former weird giant turkey mascot school product was solid save for a pass interference call in what was probably his best game as a Giant in coverage.

Special Teams

Finally, finally something special! Rashad Jennings of all people, called for a running into the kicker play that was wiped out by offsetting penalties, came back on the re-do and blocked P Tress Way’s offering into the end zone for an early safety and a silly looking 2-0 lead. I’ll be honest, I really wanted the game to end 2-0. Rueben Randle tried his best to be Chris Calloway as the Redskins last ditch onside kick glanced off the WR’s..well his everything, but Shave Vereen corralled the ball and finally put the team at ease that a victory was within reach, almost. After Rueben Randle’s TD put the G-men up 32-14, disaster struck again as a 101-yard kickoff return for a TD put the game AGAIN on edge but the ensuing onside kick flashed through Randle’s hands, not making contact and the Giants could finally breathe easy.

Coaching

Two simply head scratching calls on 3rd downs from Ben McAdoo. One was an out to TE Daniel Fells, not even close to the first down. And the other was the EXACT same play late in the 3rd that tied up Larry Donnell like a young Bruce Wayne finding all those bats in that hole. Swatting, panicking, falling, Donnell looked awful, but even if caught, he’s 5 yards short. With the best WR in…I would say NFL, most would call me nuts so let’s go best WR in the stadium…and a 6’2” slot WR at your disposal, you decide that slow, sessile TEs should get the ball 5 yards shy of the first down marker because they are so very fast? Mind numbing play calls. That said, McAdoo kept at the run despite it not working to keep the defense honest and eventually it broke the game open as the G-Men erupted for 32 points against a thus far stingy Washington defense that had held the Dolphins and Rams in check.

Nobody gets ‘em ready like old Tommy C. Think about this for a moment. 0-2, he’s too old, his eyes seem more beady than usual (according to me only but seriously they are way beadier now), no Ereck Flowers, no Victor Cruz, no DRC, no Robert Ayers, on short rest against a confident and physical Washington team. The Giants came out and again fought from whistle to whistle, scrapping on defense, specials and offense wire to wire. It’s too early to know what this season will hold, but give Tom an A+++ for game preparation this week with an undermanned squad and tons of pressure, his charges came out swinging. That said, the throw on 3rd down with Washington out of time outs was another late-game head scratcher. My guess is he wanted to be aggressive and get the first down and ice the game since being conservative has led to blowing two 10-point 4th-quarter leads. Not the worst idea given that Randle scored on a similar play a drive earlier, but you have to bleed the clock in that situation, take the extra 40 seconds off and don’t risk stopping the clock there.

By now you all know how I feel about Spags. I love the way he attacks and I love the confidence and speed his teams play with. He has a rookie and a has-been at safety who have had rough patches but overall have acquitted themselves well. He has LBs who can’t cover and LBs who can’t play the run and he actually uses them according to their strengths. This is a team devoid of difference makers on defense. But the speed and aggression they play proves that the whole is better than the sum of its parts and team defense can keep you in games if everyone believes. And this group does.

Inside the Game 

So how are the Giants thus far throttling teams on the ground with the same cast of characters that former DC Perry Fewell led to a 30th-place finish in rushing yards allowed with a whopping 135.1 yards per game against, and dead last in yards-per-attempt at 4.9 yards per carry? FOUR POINT NINE yards per carry, let that sink in for a moment; it means if you run the ball twice you’re looking at 3rd and 7.2 inches to go on average. Through three games, admittedly a small sample size, Steve Spagnuolo’s group is 2nd in yards, giving up 74.7 yards per game and tied for 4th in yards per attempt at 3.4 yards per carry. So what’s been the one big difference? It’s been discussed before, but here it is: the 4-3 shift to a Base 50 or Oklahoma 5-2 front utilizing OLB Devon Kennard as the edge setting run weapon and utilizing 320lb DT Jonathan Hankins as a true nose tackle who can alter the game from that spot. (Captions below pics).

4-3

Notice in this frame, the Skins come out with 3 WRs, 1 TE and one RB, and motion the WR across the formation to get the Giants to shift to the backside of the play, presumably to open up a hole outside the TE and up the field on the right. The Skins had drummed the vaunted Rams front to the tune of 182 rushing yards with similar plays that hemmed in the Rams DEs and neutralized speedy and disruptive DT Aaron Donald.

5-2

As the WR goes in motion, so too does LB Devon Kennard, who shifts to his OLB role, creating what is now a 5-2 front. This shift to get Kennard up to the LOS had worked well in weeks 1 and 2, but the Skins are ready and are running AWAY from Kennard on the play.

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DE George Selvie gets hooked initially and a big lane opens up. But the shift by the Redskins – designed to get safety Brandon Meriweather to slide inside as a true FS as safety Landon Collins is forced to follow the WR in motion and play in the slot, and isolate CB Jayron Hosley on the edge – play side doesn’t work. A big hole develops as you can see above. RB Alfred Morris now has a huge lane to run in, but S Brandon Meriweather, instead of shifting inside to safety to cover for S Landon Colllins, moved up to play CB and take on the block of the WR, as CB Jayron Hosley sat back to put a body in the hole and allow his teammates to “screw down” or move their blockers down the LOS to collapse a running lane. Had Hosley moved to the WR and Meriweather slid back to FS, this play could potentially go for a score or at least a very long gain but Spagnuolo’s trust (or gamble) in leaving CB Prince Amukamara and S Landon Collins in man coverage on the backside means the priority is stifling the ground game.

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Hosley’s presence and Meriweather’s physicality in fighting off the WR’s block cause Morris to stutter step in the hole and cost himself the advantage his TE and RT had initially created. The play goes for 6 yards, a win for the offense usually, but this was a home run-type of running play a year ago. But because the focus on stopping the ground game is clearly a priority, Spags was ready with a smart non-backside play shift that kept a bigger more physical safety to take on a wide receiver’s block and two DEs outside of the NT to help screw down and close the hole after Morris was forced to hesitate. That hesitation cost Morris a huge gain and showed precisely how this team is more prepared and willing to sell out to stop the run. The Skins shift does get Kennard up on the line and moves him away from the play, but it does NOT get Meriweather to slide inside, which would have left Hosley on an island. Chalk one up to the Giants on that one for seeing a tendency, seeming to play into it but having a plan to counter on the backside.

Cram it in your Cramhole Award

It has to go to the Washington team for having the unmitigated gall to hire Perry Fewell. I still have sleepless nights thinking about the Seahawks running for 875 yards against us (dramatization, may have been fewer) and they not only hire the dolt but SHOW HIM ON TV! OK, technically it’s CBS’ fault for showing him but I firmly believe that I speak for all Giant fans, DO NOT SHOW PERRY FEWELL ON TV. Not now…not ever. Just don’t do it. Thankfully Fewell learned nothing in his time here and was totally unable to slow down a passing offense he saw in person every single day. Don’t ever change Perry, you stink and we love you for it…now that you’re gone of course.

(Washington Redskins at New York Giants, September 24, 2015)
Sep 252015
 
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New York Giants Defense (September 24, 2015)

New York Giants Defense – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS 32 – WASHINGTON REDSKINS 21…
The New York Giants may have saved their season with a convincing 32-21 victory over the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night. The Giants improved their overall record to 1-2 while the Redskins fell to 1-2.

The Redskins received the football to start the game but could not pick up a first down. After offsetting penalties negated the first punt, the second punt attempt by Washington was blocked by running back Rashad Jennings for a safety. New York was up quickly 2-0.

The Giants crossed midfield on their first offensive possession but were forced to punt. On the second snap of Washington’s second drive, cornerback Prince Amukamara picked off quarterback Kirk Cousins at the Redskins 20-yard line and returned it to the 14. Four plays later, running back Andre Williams scored from one yard out to make the game 9-0.

Prince Amukamara, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Prince Amukamara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The Redskins went three-and-out on their third possession. The Giants responded with an 8-play, 47-yard drive that set up a 35-yard field goal by place kicker Josh Brown as the Giants expanded their lead to 12-0. The Redskins then finally moved the ball on their fourth possession, putting together a 10-play, 54-yard effort that resulted in a 44-yard field goal. Giants 12 – Redskins 3.

Both teams then exchanged field goal drives again, the first a 9-play, 47-yard possession by the Giants that resulted in a 36-yard field goal by Brown and then a 13-play, 61-yard possession by the Redskins that resulted in a 37-yard field goal. The Giants once again crossed midfield on their final possession of the first half but could not score. At halftime, the Giants led 15-6.

The Giants received the football to start the second half and promptly expanded their lead to 18-6 after a 15-play, 50-yard drive that took up half the third quarter. The Redskins responded with a scoring threat of their own that was dramatically stopped when linebacker Devon Kennard deflected a pass by Cousins that was intercepted by fellow linebacker Uani’ Unga at the New York 27-yard line.

The Giants then took charge of the game with an 8-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 30-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Odell Beckham. The Giants led 25-6 early in the fourth quarter.

The Redskins looked to make things interesting on their ensuing possession by driving deep into Giants territory. On 4th-and-1 from the Giants 7-yard line, running back Matt Jones picked up the first down but fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone, resulting in a touchback and a turnover. The Giants went three-and-out on the following possession. Washington then drove 74 yards in 12 plays to cut the score to 25-14 after a 4-yard touchdown pass and a successful 2-point conversion attempt with 3:40 to play.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants (September 24, 2015)

Rueben Randle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Running back Shane Vereen recovered a Redskins onside kick attempt at the Washington 41-yard line. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-10, Manning hit wide receiver Rueben Randle for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 32-14 advantage with 3:21 to play. However, the Redskins returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown. The second Redskins onside kick went out of bounds. After a three-and-out by the Giants, the Redskins received the ball with 1:43 to play and advanced the ball to the Giants 14-yard line before the clock expired.

Offensively, the Giants gained 19 first downs and 363 total net yards (279 passing, 84 rushing). The team was only 4-of-12 on third down (33 percent). Manning completed 23-of-32 passes for 279 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions for a QB rating of 119.1. His leading receivers were Randle (7 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown) and Beckham (7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown). Jennings gained 31 yards on 11 carries, Williams 29 yards on 14 carries, and Vereen 23 yards on six carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 22 first downs and 393 yards (305 passing, 88 rushing). The Redskins were 6-of-15 (40 percent) on third down and 2-of-3 (67 percent) on fourth down. The defense forced three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble). The only sack was by linebacker Jonathan Casillas

Video highlights/lowlights and the post-game locker room celebration are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Orleans Darkwa left the game with a knee injury and did not return. Cornerback Prince Amukamara hurt his ankle but returned to the football game.

POST-GAME REACTIONS…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Tom Coughlin and various players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
Inactive for the Giants were WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Jerome Cunningham (knee), DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), DT Markus Kuhn (knee), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), RT Ereck Flowers (ankle), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion).

The Giants have won five games in a row over the Redskins.

The Giants improved to 15-7-3 on Thursdays, including 4-2 under Tom Coughlin.

For the second time in three games, the Giants did not commit a turnover.

QB Eli Manning increased his career touchdown pass total to 263. That broke a tie with Dave Krieg and moved Manning into 12th place on the NFL’s career list. Joe Montana is 11th with 273.

Justin Pugh made his first career start at left tackle. John Jerry started at left guard.

Middle linebacker Jon Beason made his 2015 debut after missing the first two games with a knee injury. Beason split time with Uani’ Unga, who led the Giants with nine tackles (six solo).

Jayron Holsey started at left cornerback for Rodgers-Cromartie.

Fullback Nikita Whitlock played several snaps at defensive tackle in the fourth quarter, as he did in the preseason finale in New England.

Sep 232015
 
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Tuffy Leemans, New York Giants (October 1, 1939)

Tuffy Leemans with ball, New York Giants at Washington Redskins (October 1, 1939)

Washington Redskins at New York Giants, September 24, 2015

THE STORYLINE:
Who are the 2015 New York Giants? On paper, they are a young team led by the oldest and most experienced head coach in the NFL and a 34-year old, two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback. They currently only have one offensive weapon – Odell Beckham – who really scares the opposition in the passing game. The running game remains too unproductive and inconsistent. Defensively, the Giants appear to be a spunky group that lacks any impact player. They can’t rush the passer and they can’t close the deal in the 4th quarter. And once again, it’s a team that simply can’t stay healthy (8 players on Injured Reserve, 13 on the injury report).

The Giants should have stolen the game from the Cowboys, and not the other way around. They had the Falcons on the ropes until another 4th quarter meltdown. Is it a lack of talent? Bad coaching decisions at the wrong moments? Lack of confidence and expecting the worst to happen? Probably a combination of all of the above.

The issue now is that for the third season in a row, the Giants find themselves in a very bad 0-2 hole and risk making themselves irrelevant once again before November. Their saving grace is the state of the rest of the NFC East. It’s almost as if they’ve been given one final second chance. Don’t blow it Giants.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Victor Cruz (calf – out)
  • OT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP and will not play)
  • TE Daniel Fells (foot – probable)
  • TE Jerome Cunningham (knee – out)
  • LT Ereck Flowers (ankle – doubtful)
  • RG Geoff Schwartz (illness – probable)
  • DE Robert Ayers (hamstring – questionable)
  • DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot – out)
  • DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (hamstring – probable)
  • DT Markus Kuhn (knee – out)
  • DT Jay Bromley (knee – probable)
  • LB Jon Beason (knee – probable)
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromarties (concussion – out)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Through two games, the Washington Redskins have the NFL’s #1 defense. It is #4 against the run and #2 against the pass. Part of that is due to having faced two offensively-challenged teams in the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams. But the Redskins also shut down a Rams team that had just beaten the NFC Champions.

The Redskins operate a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Joe Barry. The defensive line was largely rebuilt in free agency with the additions of nose tackle Terrance Knighton and left defensive end Stephen Paea. Ex-Cowboy Jason Hatcher still mans the right defensive end position. Their job is to keep the Redskins talented and active linebackers free. Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is an aggressive, physical football player who can rush the passer. The other outside linebacker – Trent Murphy – is similar in style and a former 2nd round pick. Inside linebackers Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley make a lot of tackles. (Riley has been bothered by a calf injury).

Despite Washington’s #2 ranking against the pass, the Redskins could still be vulnerable in the secondary. They imported cornerback Chris Culliver and safety Dashon Goldson in the offseason from the 49ers and Buccaneers, respectively, to go along with cornerback DeAngelo Hall and safety Trenton Robinson. They really haven’t been tested yet by a serious passing game.

The Giants did the right thing in cutting Preston Parker. Unless he gets his head out of his ass quickly, I would be tempted to do the same with Rueben Randle. I’d rather take my chances with no-names like Geremy Davis and Julian Talley who at least look like they are giving an effort.

The Giants need to get the God-damn running game going. No excuses. You have four backs who you have invested a lot of resources in. Use them. Put Daniel Fells in at tight end and Nikita Whitlock at fullback and run the football. When throwing the football, look to Odell Beckham and Shane Vereen. Perhaps the site of Burgundy and Gold will inspire Larry Donnell to re-visit his three-TD game against the Redskins from last season.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The game plan is simple. Stop the run. Make the Redskins one dimensional and force Kirk Cousins to beat you. It’s easier said than done as ex-Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan appears to be doing marvelous job with a group that really struggled in the preseason. The Redskins are the #1 rushing team in the NFL despite facing two teams with very talented defensive lines. Trent Williams is one of the more talented (but sometimes inconsistent) left tackles in the NFL and the Redskins have high draft picks – Brandon Scherff at guard and Morgan Moses at tackle – manning the reinvigorated right side of the line. The two-head monster at tailback is Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones – both big, physical backs. This is old school football. The Redskins are going to attempt to pound the Giants right at the point-of-attack. Washington will challenge the toughness and manhood of Big Blue.

The good news for the Giants is that WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) will not play. The two main threats in the passing game are WR Pierre Garcon and TE Jordan Reed (who is more of a dynamic H-Back). These are Kirk Cousins’ two go-to guys. Cousins is an up-and-down quarterback. Right now he is incredibly completing 76 percent of his passes but he will make the bone-headed turnover.

This is a game where the Giants front seven and secondary will have to play very tough, physical football for a full 60 minutes against the run. Defending the ground attack will be more important than rushing the passer in this game. The Giants will have to play their big boys up front. Do that and cover Garcon and Reed.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Giants are much better on special teams than the Redskins. This is an opponent where the team’s offseason additions could finally have a game-altering impact.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin on the Washington Redskins: “Kirk Cousins, their quarterback, his percentage of completions is at 75 percent. They’re the number one rush team in the league, they’re the number two time of possession team in the league – almost 38 minutes a game. The opponent just doesn’t have the ball. Defensively, they’re number one in the league, fourth against the rush, second against the pass.”

THE FINAL WORD:
Through two games, the Redskins have proven to be a very fundamentally-sound football team. They are the #1 rushing team and the #1 defense in the NFL. The big worry here is stopping the Redskins ground game. That’s the key to the game.

For the last few years, we’ve heard the coaches and players say, “There’s still time to turn this around.” For the last few years, they’ve been dead wrong. It’s put up or shut up time right now. Or the empty seats will start appearing at MetLife in October, and that’s just plain sad. Play the run. Hit. Tackle. Run the football. Get the ball to Beckham and Vereen in the passing game. Make plays on special teams.

Most importantly, to paraphrase Ulysses S. Grant, stop worrying about what other teams are going to do to you and make them worry about what you are going to do to them!

This game has some deja vu qualities to it to 2007. That 0-2 Giants team, with a new defensive coordinator named Steve Spagnuolo, won a nail-biter against the Redskins in week three. It was a win that propelled the Giants to a 6-game winning streak and much more significant results. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Just win. Then get Victor Cruz back and start making some hay.