Giants (0-1) Washington
Sunday, the Washington Football Team lost their opening day game to the Los Angeles
Chargers 20-16. They also lost their starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who
has been placed on injured reserve.
Later on Sunday, the Giants lost in their
game with the Denver Broncos 27-13. A last second Daniel Jones touchdown made
the score look a bit more respectable than how the game actually played out.
Last year Washington got off to a good start
winning their first game of the season, but they lost the next five games. After
beating Dallas, they went to 2-7 before putting together a four game win streak.
Washington lost the next two games, and then some would say, were gifted a win
in the last game of the season by the Philadelphia Eagles, giving them the NFC
East title with a 7-9 record. The playoffs had pitted Washington up against Tampa
Bay, and they took a 31-23 loss. Things have been tricky for Washington with their
Last year it was a mixture of Dwayne Haskins, Kyle
Allen, Alex Smith, and Taylor Heinicke. Smith was the starting quarterback when
they won 5 of their 7 games, and Heinicke was the last man standing after Smith
was injured. Heinicke, in just his second pro start, ran for 46 yards and a touchdown,
and threw for 306 yards and 1 touchdown. It wasn't enough to stop Tom Brady and
his Super Bowl bound crew, but Heinicke, Washington's "quarantine quarterback",
who was taking online math classes at Old Dominion
when Washington called on him, showed that he had the right stuff.
Alex Smith was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year. Smith returned from
a compound leg fracture he suffered in 2018 that almost cost him his right leg.
Smith retired, and now works for ESPN as an NFL analyst. Washington brought in
Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the experienced starter for the team. That plan lasted
just one game, as Fitzpatrick suffered a right hip injury midway through the second
quarter in the season opener with the Chargers. He had thrown just six passes,
and has been placed on injured reserve.
Taylor Heinicke came in to replace Fitzpatrick, and he completed 11 of 15 passes
for 122 yards, and one touchdown. He will be the starter for the Thursday night
game with the Giants. Terry McLaurin was the top receiver last year, and was on
Sunday also, catching all four passes when he was targeted. Tight end Logan Thomas,
the third leading receiver last year, caught all 3 passes that came his way, including
the one lone touchdown pass from Heinicke. Antonio Gibson was the top running
back last year, and he got right back to it, rushing 20 times for 90 yards, and
he caught 3 passes for 18 yards. His performance was marred when he fumbled the
ball over to the Chargers at the Washington 4-yard line. That led to a Charger
touchdown that took the lead, and Washington didn't come back.
Sunday, Washington's offense can be excused for the unforeseen quarterback change.
Their defense did well after Taylor Heinicke managed to have Washington take a
16-13 lead, which they held into the fourth quarter. Cornerback William Jackson
even intercepted a pass at the Washington 4 yard line. Unfortunately, running
back Antonio Gibson fumbled it right back to the Chargers on the very next play,
and the resulting touchdown had Washington down 20-16.
After the Washington
offense stalled, the defense had the Chargers at their own 12 yard line needing
16 yards on 3rd down, and gave up a 17 yard pass completion. Washington allowed
three more third down conversions, down to their 7-yard line. Quarterback Justin
Herbert took three knees to mercifully end the game. Overall, Washington
let the Chargers make 14 of their 19 third downs, including the kneel down.
will have to play better if they want to win games. Upfront they are strong, coming
off a year where they were ranked 2nd in pass defense and 6th in sacks. The Chargers
did a good job handling Chase Young, no sacks and just three tackles. The Giants
will have to do the same.
Daniel Jones keeps promising to
improve his ball handling, but in the very first game of the season, he was at
it again. Jones scrambling red zone fumble in the third quarter basically ended
the Giants chances of making a comeback in the game. The number now is 39 turnovers
in 28 career games, Some of the problem is that Jones is still under pressure
to make something happen when it's not there. To his credit, he threw to eight
different receivers in the first half, looking for a weak spot. That's quite a
lot considering Jones threw only 12 passes during that time, and he did complete
9, including a 37 yard touchdown to Sterling Shepard.
Jones couldn't rely
on the run game, which was non existent. Saquon Barkley's return was supposed
to spark the offense, but that didn't happen. Barkley finished with 26 yards on
10 carries. In the end, Jones was the leading rusher of the game with just 27
rushing yards. Is the offensive line the problem?
To be fair, because of injuries,
the starting offense barely played together very much during preseason. Jones
is very familiar with Shepard, who was the standout receiver in the game, with
113 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Golladay, new to the team, had four catches for
64 yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph, and rookie Kadarius Toney, played in the opener
despite missing most of training camp. They will look to be more productive playing
together for the second time in this next game.
the Giants defense had worked out in advance to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick's passing
game went right out the window. Taylor Heinicke will be running Washington's offense.
Last year Washington allowed a lot of pressure on their quarterbacks, and they
gave up 50 sacks as they shuffled quarterbacks in and out. Fitzpatrick took two
sacks before Taylor Heinicke came in to replace him, but Heinicke was sack free
for the rest of the game. The Giants came up with two against Teddy Bridgewater
on Sunday, and quarterback pressure up front will be key in this game. Heinicke
hasn't had much playing time with his receivers, and could be pressured into making
The Chargers were able to shut down Washington's wide receiver Terry
McLaurin after he caught 4 passes in the season opener. The Giants would be wise
to do that from the start. In the first half Sunday, the Giants defense made some
good plays and held the Broncos to just 10 points, but they couldn't get them
off the field. That continued as they let the Broncos dominate the clock from
the start of the third quarter with a 16 play drive that took over eight minutes,
and ended with a touchdown. One thought on why the defense had such problems was
that their former head coach Pat Shurmur, currently the offensive coordinator
for the Broncos, was familiar with the defensive tendencies of some of the players
he recently coached. Giants fans can hope that was it, and the defense will be
more effective this game.
Both teams are coming off opening day losses
with a fast turnaround for a Thursday night game. There are a lot of things to
work on in a short period of time. The only good news is that after the game,
one team will have quickly evened their record to 1-1. The loser however, will
be 0-2, and have an extra long week to think about that, and the possibly of starting
the season at 0-3. For that third game, the schedule has Washington visiting the
Bills, and the Falcons traveling to MetLife stadium to face off with the Giants.
Both those teams lost their opening games as well, so maybe one of these losing
NFC East teams will get their chance then. Someone is going to win this Thursday
night. There was a reason Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback, and not
Taylor Heinicke. That difference, without much time for Washington to prepare,
should swing things in favor of the Giants.
Thursday at 8:20pm Giants (0-1)
at Washington (0-1).
Sunday at 1:00pm 49ers (1-0) at Eagles (0-0).
at 4:25pm Cowboys (0-1) at Chargers (1-0).
Washington is the only NFC East
team favored to win in these games.
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Daniel Jones has 8 total career wins, and 4 of them have come against Washington.
Barkley, in the 2 games he played at Washington, ran for at least 170 yards.
The Giants have won the last 5 games they've played with Washington.
SEPT 26 Falcons at Giants
3 Giants at New Orleans