The Giants finally ended their schneid with a 32-21 win over the Washington Redskins.
It wasn’t the most aesthetically-pleasing performance for Big Blue, but it was imperative that they got into the win column by any means necessary. The Giants (1-2) were led by an efficient Eli Manning (23-of-32 for 279 and two touchdowns) and a defense that finally put away an opponent with opportunistic turnovers (three) and timely stops.
And for the first time all season, New York was able to preserve – and expand on – a fourth quarter lead, when Manning hooked up with Odell Beckham Jr. for a 30-yard strike early in the final stanza, and later with Rueben Randle for 41 yards – both over Washington’s top cover man, Bashaud Breeland.
It was a gritty win for a Giants’ squad that didn’t want to call it “must-win,” but certainly played like it.
Metro takes a look at what went right for Big Blue, as they now have 10 days between their next game to savior their maiden victory.
What we saw:
1. All hands were on deck – literally.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is a military man who loves to use that phrase any time he feels it’s needed. And after a brutal two-game stretch where the Giants managed to blow two winnable games, it was important that Big Blue used every available body to help secure their first victory. Starting running back Rashad Jennings displayed such versatility when he started the scoring when he blocked a Tress Way punt at the culmination of Washington’s opening possession. It was the first regular-season safety for the Giants in four years. The 2-0 score just three minutes into the game provided the impetus that New York needed to start the game on a good foot following the two previous demoralizing defeats. Jennings wasn’t the only one doing whatever it took, as fullback Nikita Whitlock actually saw action at defensive tackle on a key 3rd-and-15 play, deep in New York’s territory. It was those types of effort by unsung players that showed just how urgent getting a win was for the Giants.
2. Opportunity knocked.
Big Blue’s defense finally kept the pressure for a full four quarters, and managed to close out the game – although it got a little dicey late in the fourth quarter following a couple of late Washington scores. New York forced three-straight three-and-outs to start the game, and were able to turn turnovers into points. Cornerback Prince Amukamara registered the first takeaway when he snagged a lackluster Kirk Cousins’s pass over the middle and returned it to Washington’s 14-yard line. It set up an Andre Williams’s one-yard plunge, and the momentum was to be had by New York. Cousins threw his second interception when linebacker Uani’ Unga stepped in front of his throw late in the third quarter. It was Unga’s second interception in just his third game. Unsung cornerback Trevin Wade also produced a turnover when he caused stellar rookie running back Matt Jones to fumble at the goaline as he was going into the end zone and the team desperately needing a score, down 25-6. The play was a microcosm of New York’s urgency to end their slump, and how nonchalant Washington was from the beginning of the contest.
3. Running game didn’t travel.
Washington came into the game as the top-ranked rushing attack and second in time of possession, but it was the Giants’ defense that made sure neither would be a factor. The dynamic rushing duo of Alfred Morris and Jones were non-existent, as they could only muster 19 and 38 yards, respectively. Morris, particularly, had a rough time right from the opening whistle, as he only tallied 11 yards on four carries in the first half. Jones’s goaline gaffe prevented him from having a better stat line, as he registered 33 of his rushing yards came in the first half. Washington never got their gameplan on track, and a lot had to do with a Giants’ defense that made stopping the run its primary focus.
Big Blue notes:
- Manning started 8-of-8, connecting with five different targets. He’s also yet to throw an interception this season.
- Beckham finally received some help from a fellow wideout, as Rueben Randle added seven catches for 116 yards, including a late 41-yard touchdown to ice the game.