By Paul Dottino
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In some ways the rematch with the Washington Redskins turned out to be a reverse of their first meeting. This time, the Redskins got the better of play in the second half and prevailed, 17-16.
The Giants will be looking hard in the mirror after this one, as each team had just eight possessions. The Giants settled for three field goals (along with a missed field goal) and a Martellus Bennett touchdown grab, while the Redskins had two touchdowns and a field goal.
And the Redskins had Lady Luck helping them out late in the first quarter when a Robert Griffin III fumble popped up and into the hands of WR Josh Morgan, who took it 13 yards for a TD.
Let’s get to our review:
Offense – RB Ahmad Bradshaw: He ran hard and with power despite an aching foot that continues to limit his practice schedule. The bad news is that the holes which were there in the first half (17 carries for 77 yards) were not there after the intermission (seven carries for 26 yards). The one thing, however, that was missing? The big play. His longest run was of 14, and he’s usually able to break off at least one very long gainer against the type of heavy blitz package deployed by the Redskins.
Defense – MLB Chase Blackburn: OK, so you will come back and say that the Redskins ran for 207 yards on 31 carries, so how can you do this? It’s simple — he stepped up on Washington’s first drive of the third quarter and thwarted a potential touchdown when he stripped RB Alfred Morris inside the Giants’ 10. LB Keith Rivers recovered and the Giants not only preserved a 13-10 lead, but were able to drive the other way for a field goal.
Special teams – P Steve Weatherford: There’s not much else to be said, other than this guy is a pro. He punted three times for a 49.3-yard average, dropped one kick inside the 20 and finished with a net of 42.3. He also did a very good job of handling a wide snap from Zak DeOssie, although Lawrence Tynes went wide left on his 43-yard field goal on the first drive of the second quarter.
Offense – OT Will Beatty: QB Eli Manning appeared to be in position for another one of his patented comebacks, trailing by a point. But with less than five minutes to play and a third-and-10 from his own 43, an 11-yard completion to TE Bennett was called back because of Beatty’s holding penalty. That play sealed the Giants’ fate — a 4-yard pass to Bradshaw followed on third-and-20, and the Giants punted and never saw the ball again.
Defense – Back seven: It appeared that the Giants were in zone coverage on WR Pierre Garcon’s winning 8-yard TD catch with 11:31 to play. Garcon ran a drag route while RGIII rolled right and got pressure from Rivers. LB Michael Boley was cautious of the quarterback and allowed Garcon to slide past him, while S Antrel Rolle was a few yards deeper in the end zone and did not react quickly enough to provide any support. This play not only provided the Redskins with their first lead of the second half, but it energized the stadium and was the final score of the game.
Special teams – OL Jim Cordle: You really don’t have to look any further than his holding penalty which wiped out David Wilson’s 49-yard kickoff return to the 50 that came right after the Redskins took a 17-16 lead with 11:37 remaining. The flag forced the Giants to start at their own 8, and a three-and-out did nothing but hurt their chances to rally. It was Cordle’s second holding call of the game — he also got flagged on Wilson’s 19-yard kickoff return to open the second half, prompting the Giants to start from their own 9. The Giants’ average start of their drives for the night was from their own 15.
Which players should shoulder the blame for the Giants’ disappointing performance? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…