By Paul Dottino
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The Giants have lost control of their own destiny. That is a fact, thanks to Sunday’s 20-14 road defeat to the Washington Redskins.
There is no way around it. The teams are 5-6 atop the NFC East and have split the season series, but the Giants have lost two more division games — and that’s the crippler. And it’s not usually productive when you need another team to lose specific games in order for you to gain the tiebreaker.
So the mission for head coach Tom Coughlin and his players is simple: Win as many games of their five remaining games as possible and force the Redskins to match. In other words, beat them outright. Or in more realistic terms, if either team can reach 9-7, it will own the division title.
Offense — WR Odell Beckham Jr. He added another spectacular diving TD catch to his resume — and this one gave the Giants life by bringing them within 20-14 with 4:57 to play. Beckham raced down the left sideline to beat CB Will Blackmon and fully extended to make a diving fingertip grab for a 21-yard score. Beckham finished with nine catches (18 targets) for 141 yards. His other long catches were for 46 yards — he was horse-collared by DB DeAngelo Hall to prevent a fourth-quarter TD — and 31 yards.
Defense — S Landon Collins. The rookie has continued to improve as the season gas gone on. He was physical against the rugged Redskins, notching seven solo tackles (eight overall), including two behind the line of scrimmage. Perhaps his best hit came on an open-field takedown against TE Jordan Reed two yards shy of the marker on 3rd-and-6 from the Washington 40 with 8:05 left, forcing a punt as the Giants tried to come back.
Special teams — DT Jay Bromley. The athletic interior lineman blocked Dustin Hopkins’ 51-yard field goal attempt with 6:56 left in the first quarter that would have opened the scoring.
Offense — RT Marshall Newhouse. He picked a really bad time to have a poor game. Injuries prompted the Giants to go with a shuffled lineup that had Geoff Schwartz at LG, Dallas Reynolds at CTR, and John Jerry at RG. Schwartz suffered a fractured leg in the first quarter and was replaced by rookie tackle Bobby Hart. The line battled but was unable to produce a running game (13 carries, 33 yards) and QB Eli Manning was hit eight times. Newhouse allowed all three sacks, two by OLB Ryan Kerrigan and one by DE Chris Baker. Each of them came on 3rd-and-long situations, although only two of the sacks forced the Giants to punt. Manning converted a fourth down into a 40-yard TD pass to Reuben Randle with 10:10 left.
Defense — S Brandon Meriweather. CB Jayron Hosley expected to have Meriweather over the top on DeSean Jackson’s deep post route early in the second quarter. The safety got caught out of position and Jackson was free for a 63-yard TD that put the Redskins on top 10-0 with 10:18 left in the half. It was a play that ignited the crowd and the Redskins — and they dominated most of the game before holding on at the end.
Special teams — WR Dwayne Harris. Realistically, it likely wouldn’t have mattered. But Harris should have allowed the Redskins’ final punt to go into the end zone for a touchback. The Giants (no timeouts) would have put the ball in play with 22 seconds left and — courtesy of a Washington holding penalty on kick — at the 30 yard line. Rather, Harris ran backwards to grab the ball inside the 5 and was trapped at the 6. So the offense started at the 16 with 19 seconds to play.
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