A lost opportunity to keep the NFC East a one horse race in this one. While the Redskins deserve the credit for winning a huge divisional matchup (in what was basically an elimination game for them) you can't help but feel that this was one of those games where the team who beat the Giants the worst was the team in white. As often as the Giants tried to take themselves out of this one, they continued to hold onto a lead until early in the 4th quarter. And if the Giants defense was able to get the ball back to Eli one more time maybe the story is different this morning. With that, some thoughts:
…all in all a pretty sloppy effort from the Giants at a time when they needed a crisp game in all three facets. Offensively, the sloppy play and mental errors take away from what was a pretty solid showing from the unit. Hate to waste a game in which your offense converts 9-of-15 3rd down attempts, gets 100-yards rushing from its RB, has three players with five catches and plays turnover free football for 60 minutes. Unfortunately this was all wasted when the Giants picked up NINE PENALTIES in this one, seven of which came on offense.
...an average starting position just inside of the Washington 10 didn't help out either.
…9 penalties with many of them coming at the MOST inopportune times seemed to kill the Giants. 9 penalties are unacceptable as is but they become even more infuriating when they come at crucial points in the game. The Giants offense opened the game moving the ball well but had both drives stalled by penalties inside the Redskins' 30, forcing the Giants to settle for two field goal attempts (one missed by Tynes) early on. Two penalties by Jim Cordle on kickoff returns were also killers, including one that called back a return that was taken all the way to midfield in the 2nd half. Just a note–on both Cordle penalties three officials threw their flags. And of course Beatty's hold on the Giants final possession.
…the Giants' final drive felt a lot like the final drive in Philly earlier this season. In both situations, struggles earlier in the game left the Giants with little margin for error. Back in Week 4 the crucial offensive PI penalty by Barden pushed them out of Lawrence Tynes' field goal range. In this one, a blatant hold from Will Beatty flipped the situation from a 1st and 10 inside Redskins territory to a 3rd and 20 at their own 33. The Giants continue to put themselves in tough situations late in games and as we are starting to see it will come back to bite them.
…a first half with 16 first downs, nearly 300 yards of offense and four trips past midfield need to result in more than 13 points. That is a failure on everyone who is a part of the offensive unit; starting with the coaches down to the offensive line. That type of success cannot be wasted– take advantage of those opportunities and the Giants get the ball to start the second half with much more than a 13-10 lead. The lack of success in the red zone is going to be the death of this team. Their defense just isn't good enough to compensate and in fact are at their best when they can let the front four put their hand in the ground and go at the passer. Something that needs to change and needs to change fast.
…in a four-play span in the 1st quarter Eli missed both Nicks and Cruz on deep routes that had the potential to end up in touchdowns for the Giants. Both receivers had a step or two on the coverage with Eli underthrowing Nicks on the sideline route and overthrowing Cruz as he ran down the seam. If you look back at the Cruz overthrow you'll see him look back for the ball just past the 2nd level and this throws off the timing between him and Eli on the play. Cannot leave potential big-play TDs on the table, let alone two in a four-play span.
…yes the defense only allowed 17 points but they were once again shredded by the Redskins rushing attack, with the shredding beginning right up front on the defensive line. Just from watching it live, it seemed that the entire DL (especially Tuck and Canty) was playing on its heels all game and losing the LOS. While credit certainly goes to the Redskins' OL, you have to think that this group once again struggled with the discipline needed to carry out your responsibilities against an offense such as the one they faced. Too many times (as has been a trend all season long) we saw the Giants lose the edge on a run. Too much peeking into the backfield looking for the ball rather than a focus on carrying out an assignment against the read option plays. If the Giants came into this one better prepared for facing the read op, it certainly didn't show. If the defense is going to get shredded by an offense anyway, why not try to beat it with an attacking/aggressive approach. Force the Redskins hand–offer RG3 a "give" read on the read option plays. Either way–the Giants defense didn't execute any type of plan for containing the read option. Wouldn't it be better to force the offense to react rather than the opposite? The Redskins dictated the flow of the game when they had the ball and it showed in the 2nd half as they ran for just under 150 yards.
…Kenny Phillips' injury forced the Giants to open the game and play good chunks of it in a traditional 4-3 base rather than the three safety look they used down the stretch last season and for nearly every snap last week. Having three linebackers on the field is not a something that plays to the Giants advantage and their lack of speed as a unit hurt them in this one. Not sure how many snaps Phillips got in for but even then he was not fully ready to be a contributor.
…the Giants rushing attack found plenty of success in this one as Bradshaw carried 24 times for 103 yards. Even more importantly they picked up four 3rd and Short's in the 1st half, something that they have struggled with all season. The Giants (I'm pretty sure about this) came out in the shotgun formation on each one of them and were able to convert with ease. And outside of the two missed long throws in the 1st quarter, the Giants passing game was able to get into a rhtyhm, with Eli finding seven different receivers in this one including Cruz, Nicks and Bennett five times each.