By Jason Keidel
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If you didn’t burp up a little cranberry sauce by the fourth quarter of the Giants-Redskins game on Thanksgiving night, you’ve got the stomach of a goat.
And if you didn’t have a financial or vocational need to watch the game from whistle to gun, you are either truly a fan or truly in need of a hobby.
When two NFL teams lacking in talent, temerity, and playoff position meet in the later stages of the season it’s usually something simple that makes the difference. Like being the home team, or the team that scores last.
Check both boxes for the Redskins (5-6), who walked away with a most soporific 20-10 win over the Giants on Thursday night at FedEx Field. Some Thanksgiving games are memorable for the moments or monolithic players involved, or some remarkable play you saw with your entire family. None of that happened here.
In fact, had someone told a Big Blue fan that the Giants would sack Kirk Cousins six times and pick him off and dash for a touchdown, that fan would’ve felt pretty good about the game. But sadly, for Thursday night’s Giants and this season’s Giants, for that matter, a non-offensive touchdown is sometimes the only touchdown the team will score.
Unlike the last month or two, when the Giants were losing on the field and mouthing off away from it, giving their best effort during anonymous media sessions, the came out ready to play Thursday night. The Giants hounded the quarterback, and appeared to at least have a plan as to how to move the football.
The problem was, they didn’t, and they just aren’t that good.
When Eli Manning found open receivers, they dropped the ball. When he needed time to find receivers in the fourth quarter, the defense dropped him. When the Giants ran the ball, the offensive line couldn’t find or open holes for the backs. It was all just a case study in Big Blue’s incompetence, not indifference. And while the Redskins handed owner Daniel Snyder a symbolic turkey leg (and a win) on his 53rd birthday, you could see John Mara brooding in his luxury suite.
It’s hard to believe that the product you saw — the franchise that is the New York “Football” Giants — is a billion-dollar enterprise. You need not travel by sea, land, or air to notice the difference in product or performance. All you needed to do was just watch Thursday’s earlier games.
The Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions played their respective buns off. And if the Giants feel sorry for themselves because of their seasonal swath of injuries, consider the Vikings have won seven straight, and have done so with their third-string quarterback, Case Keenum. Now, at 9-2, Minnesota is talking about playoff seeding, not offseason hot spots.
The Los Angeles Chargers, who started the season 0-4, are one of the hottest teams in football, after whipping the Cowboys, in Dallas no less, to improve to 5-6. The Chargers, who play in a soccer stadium and had every reason to forfeit the season, are playing with a skill and will that any football fan can admire. Philip Rivers, a marvel in resilience, keeps getting off the deck to whip another TD pass to whomever is plugged into the lineup.
The same cannot be said for the 2-9 Giants, who tried for a moment to scale the walls of adversity by beating the Chiefs a week ago, but are now languishing as the joke they were two weeks ago. Even a team as bipolar as the Redskins found a way to bounce back from blowing that biblical lead they had in New Orleans last weekend.
It seems the only race the Giants can finish in the money is the College QB Sweepstakes.
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