By Curt Macysyn
Everything had been coming up roses for the New York Giants (5-6) after their last second loss to the New England Patriots two weeks ago. Thanksgiving day losses by the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles handed the Giants an opportunity to firmly take control of the division. In what has become the new normal for the franchise, the G-men could not handle prosperity, as the Washington Redskins (5-6) jumped on top early and held off a late Giants rally to win 20-14 and gain control of the division.
Even though Big Blue had their objective well within grasp, the Giants failed to show up in a sloppy first half, as the Washington Redskins took control of the game and their own destiny with the win. There cannot be much finger pointing after this contest, as offense, defense, and special teams gave a poor effort, and the result reflected the effort.
Quarterback Eli Manning was intercepted on the first two Giants offensive series, and he ended up with three picks on the afternoon. The much maligned running game was absent once again, and the defense did not make a play throughout the contest, as New York dropped into second place in the division.
Another game where the running game was non-existent, with a mere 33 yards on the ground (2.5 yards per carry). Injuries along the offensive line have clearly taken their toll, as Geoff Schwartz joined Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg on the sidelines, and Marshall Newhouse continued his inferior play.
Quarterback Eli Manning threw the ball 51 times, and he completed 26 passes (51 percent) and touchdowns to Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham, but bad Randle showed up for the most part today, as the mercurial receiver was mostly disinterested. Of the three interceptions that Manning threw, one bounced off of Shane Vereen’s chest, while on another he almost got Dwayne Harris killed. The third interception could have been averted with a better route by Randle.
Beckham being Beckham is must-see TV, as Odell had another incredible touchdown grab, but not much else to watch here on offense.
Give the Redksins credit, they took advantage of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie being out with an injury by targeting Jayron Hosley for DeSean Jackson’s 63-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Brandon Meriweather was ineffective on that play, and for most of the day as well, as the Giants imperfections are usually exposed by the opposition.
Speaking of imperfections, the front four could not get pressure on Kirk Cousins, so the dirty work largely had to be done by the secondary. The front four made a great effort to try and keep Cousins out of the end zone on his 1-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, but to no avail.
Linebacker Devon Kennard led the unit with ten tackles on the afternoon, and Landon Collins had nine tackles, mostly downfield, however. After an initial bump, Jason Pierre-Paul appears to have hit the wall. The defensive unit gave up 407 total yards on the afternoon and did not force a turnover.
Special Teams: C-
Dwayne Harris had a subpar afternoon as he had only 14 return yards on four punts. Harris inexplicably tried to field a punt along the goal line that put the G-men in further trouble at the end of the game.
Kicker Josh Brown pinned the Redskins deep on one kickoff, but the ‘Skins got good returns on two other kickoffs. Brad Wing had a busy afternoon, as he punted seven time for a 51.0 yard average. Two of Wing’s punts went for touchbacks, although Dwayne Harris almost downed a punt at the one-yard line but Jay Gruden successfully challenged that Harris touched the goal line.
The safety play was once again below par, but Cooper Taylor was on the inactive list. With a patchwork offensive line at his disposal, Ben McAdoo should begin to limit the playbook because the unit does not have the capacity to perform at a high level as currently constituted. The stubbornness of this administration continues to bite it in the rear end, as the same problems keep cropping up each and every week, and get addressed with the same tired responses, mainly expecting Jayron Hosley, Brandon Meriweather, Marshall Newhouse, and Andre Williams to perform at a high level. It has not happened yet.
The Giants all-time record dropped to 97-65-4 against the Redskins since teams began playing each other in 1932. The 97 wins are the most for the franchise against any other team in the league with second-best being the 83 wins the G-men have against the Philadelphia Eagles. Big Blue had won five games in a row against Washington.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past four seasons for Examiner.com, and he is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). Born and raised in New Jersey, Curt attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, N.J. and is a graduate of Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Follow him on Twitter @CurtMac23 for the latest NFL and New York Giants news.