The game featured two of the most maligned quarterbacks this decade, yet
it was Rex Grossman who handled yesterday’s matchup with aplomb while
Eli Manning wilted under the pressure.
Grossman, who went 22-of-34 for 305 yards and two touchdowns, led the Redskins to the 28-14 win in what was most certainly an emotional day for both franchises and their respective cities on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Grossman had just his fourth-career 300-yard day, while Manning (18-of-32, 268 yards, no touchdowns and one interception) was under constant heat from the Redskins’ vaunted pass rush.
Overall, the Giants (0-1) committed eight penalties, allowed four sacks and had a field goal blocked in an inept and flat performance on a day that most within the locker room privately said they needed to win.
The Giants never seemed to have that fire and it was effectively put out for good when Redskins’ rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan tipped a Manning pass at the Giants’ 12-yard-line, catching his own ricochet and racing nine yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown. The score, which was Washington’s first lead, made it 21-14 with 12:53 remaining in the third and all but crushed the Giants’ spirits.
Three things we saw
1. Just plain Gross
Rex Grossman has been on the wrong end of many jokes during his career, but yesterday the gag was on Big Blue. The journeyman made his first start since 2007 and eviscerated the undermanned Giants secondary. He went 21-of-34, including two touchdowns. Granted, the Giants were without numerous defensive starters — including Justin Tuck, Jon Goff, Terrell Thomas and Osi Umenyiora — but that’s still no excuse for the way Grossman and Co. manhandled the Giants in key moments. The Redskins (1-0) converted numerous third-and-long opportunities, including five plays that went over 20 yards in the first half when it seemed like the Giants were starting to gain control of the game.
2. Mental miscues
What plagued the Giants last year reared its head again. There were just too many mental miscues, spotty play in big moments and missed assignments for such a veteran team. New York suffered through eight penalties, a handful of drops, four sacks allowed and a blocked field en route to the embarrassingly ineffective performance. Eli Manning was harassed into a subpar performance, the running game never got going and there were too many breakdowns in their patchwork secondary. With or without Justin Tuck (neck stinger), the Giants wouldn’t have gotten much done. Especially if taking into account the flat and unresponsive way they played in the second half, as the Redskins took its first lead off a Ryan Kerrigan pick-six with 12:53 left in the third and never trailed again.
3. Run for your life
Head coach Tom Coughlin emphatically said during the pre-season that the Giants would go back to making the running game the backbone of the offense, yet the Giants only rushed for 75 yards on 20 carries. Ahmad Bradshaw (13 carries, 44 yards and a touchdown) and Brandon Jacobs (six carries for 29 yards) were non-existent when the Giants needed them most — specifically on short-yardage situations. The microcosm of the Giants’ ground game was Bradshaw getting stoned on 4th-and-1 from the Washington 31-yard-line with 5:11 remaining in the third quarter. That effectively ended the last real chance the Giants had of cracking the Redskins’ interior defense.
Follow Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8 for Giants coverage throughout the season.