The Giants looked prosperity in the face and spat in it, as they endured a 20-14 road loss to the Redskins Sunday.
Despite witnessing losses by divisional rivals Dallas and Philadelphia on Thanksgiving, and a chance to essentially take Washington out of the NFC East race with a season-series sweep, the Giants (5-6) entered the Nation’s Capital and laid an egg. The loss to Washington (5-6) now has both teams tied atop the division.
Eli Manning and Co. made things interesting down the stretch with two late touchdown passes, but it was an otherwise dreadful day for the offense. Manning connected on touchdowns with Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. – the latter rivaling any catch ever made by the electric wideout – but the efforts weren’t enough. The Giants committed two turnovers in their first two drives to set the tone for the day. And while the defense showed its mettle and didn’t let Washington capitalize off those early giveaways, it was a sign of things to come for Big Blue’s offense.
Eventually, the dam broke for the Giants’ defense, as Washington’s quarterback Kirk Cousins got hot early and rode the wave to stave off a Giants’ comeback attempt. It was Washington’s fifth-straight home win, and the Redskins are definitely a legitimate threat to take the division crown. Here’s what we learned Sunday:
1. One man gang
Where would the Giants be without Beckham? Sure, they lost, but his one-man high-wire act was almost good enough to knock off Washington. Beckham tallied nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown and was the best player on the field all game, as he saved his best efforts for the final stanza. Alas, it wasn’t enough, but he couldn’t be faulted for this defeat – especially when his cohorts offered nothing offensively. Randle only had that one catch, while the next best producer was tight end Will Tye’s 74-yard day.
2. He liked that!
Cousins indeed liked playing against the Giants Sunday as he rectified his earlier putrid performance. Cousins out-dueled Manning in going 20-of-29 for 302 yards, one touchdown and no picks. The latter stat was the most impressive, as Cousins had been an interception machine any time Washington lost. But this performance showed the good version of Cousins, who was rarely harassed (no sacks) or looked frazzled in the pocket, and poised enough to connect with eight different targets. Meanwhile, his counterpart Manning looked like the young turnover-prone neophyte in throwing three picks.
3. Running in place
Sure, it sounds like an intended pun, but the fact that this has been a running theme all season should be alarming to Big Blue. This is the second-consecutive game in which the Giants’ leading rusher was unable to top the 40-yard rushing mark. Shane Vereen tallied just 14 yards on two carries, while the No. 1 back, Rashad Jennings, also had 14 rushing yards on six carries. The never-ending search for a linchpin ball carrier continues for Big Blue.
Big Blue notes:
-Manning entered the game with only six interceptions, but looked more like the current-day version of big brother than his usual self.
-Big Blue entered the game committing only 10 turnovers.
-Cousins did most of his damage in the first half when he went 12-of-18 for 207 yards, one touchdown, and no picks. Conversely, Manning went 10-of-22 for 91 yards, no touchdowns, and two picks in the opening half.