Giants (4-7) vs Redskins (3-8)
Redskins played on Monday night and were trailing by only four points at halftime,
but after that things did not improve and it turned into a 27-6 loss to San Francisco.
It was the first time Washington was held without a passing or rushing touchdown
since Robert Griffin III started quarterbacking in 2012.
Giants had a shot at making a spectacular comeback on the season if they could
just beat the Cowboys, but they couldn't. They managed to tie up the score in
the fourth quarter, but the Cowboys had the final say on the last drive of the
game with their 24-21 victory.
Last season the Redskins were
sitting at 3-6 looking to continue their streak of finishing up last in the NFC
East for the fifth straight year. Instead they became the division champs by reeling
off seven straight wins. Then they took a 24-14 loss to Seattle in the first game
of the playoffs, but had made a real statement on the 2012 season. It was one
where Robert Griffin III was voted the Offensive
Rookie of the Year. Another rookie, Alfred Morris, set
a new mark on the team for rushing yards and how is it possible to do that? Yes,
you all remember that John Riggins was the 'premiere ball hog' for the Redskins,
and in 1983 Riggins had an amazing 1,347 rushing yards complimented by an NFL
record 24 rushing touchdowns.
Morris in his rookie year managed an outstanding
1,613 rushing yards, and together he and Griffin combined to have the most rushing
yards of any team in the NFL in 2012. In Washington expectations were high as
that was a great foundation to build on for 2013, but it hasn't turned out that
way. Quarterbacks like Griffin who can take
off and run also take hits. The Redskins nearly used him up in the final games
last season as he played with a big black brace and with multiple knee injuries.
Griffin recovered from surgery in the offseason,
was held back from working with his offense in the preseason, and was pushed to
be more of a pocket passer. He has never played that way and things have not worked
out well for the team.
Who's the most important person
on a team? If you said quarterback, you're real close, but you're wrong. It's
the head coach, because unless doctors make a call, he's the one person who decides
who is actually going to play or sit. It's Tom Coughlin's job to field the players
to give the team the best chance to win. Last
week Hakeem Nicks had missed some practices having an injury checked out and Tom
Coughlin decided that Nicks would not play. Nicks
has said that he felt healthy enough to play, but Coughlin held him out and the
Giants lost a very important divisional game. Now
they may well have lost by three points either way, even using their second leading
receiver and deep threat against the near worst secondary in the league, but we'll
All we know is that Nicks had a lack of practice time and was
put in his place in front of the players, who would have appreciated having him
in this game because it meant so much for their season. Now for you, the paying
fans, are you happy that a young player was maybe handed a 'life lesson' for listening
to his agent and having his health checked out in his contract year? Who suffered
the most from all of this? It was certainly not the Cowboys. Too bad Dez Bryant
didn't earn a 'life lesson' from Jason Garrett for some of his antics.
After watching the near destruction
of a very talented rookie quarterback in his first year, running the football
and paying the results, the powers that be decided that Robert Griffin III should
be developing his passing skills from the pocket. It's just not happening for
them at this point in time. Two weeks ago against the Eagles, they
had four net passing yards at halftime, and then were losing 24-0 in the fourth
quarter. When the Eagles started celebrating too soon, Griffin hit them with two
long touchdown passes (62 yards and 41 yards) when he was outside the pocket.
Making both 2-point conversions, the score became a more respectable 24-16 loss.
In Monday's loss, San Francisco did not sleep on Griffin and his longest pass
went for 18 yards. He took 6 sacks and passed for only 118 total yards, his lowest
output this season, and had 1 interception.
So where is the ground game? Alfred
Morris ranks third in the NFL with 970 rushing yards and averages 5 yards a carry.
The trouble is that when the Redskins fall behind the running game is shelved.
Morris had only 14 carries for 52 yards last game as San Francisco worked on stopping
the run knowing that Griffin has been inefficient with his passing this season.
Once productive tight end, Fred Davis, might be head coach Mike Shanahan's 'life
lesson' for the Redskins. Davis was inactive for five games and played only 10
snaps in Monday's loss.
Same as last year, their strength
is playing against the run and not the pass. Rushing defense was ranked 5th and
is down, but it has improved over the season to where they are now ranked 14th
in the league. Pass defense was their biggest weak link last season and it hasn't
improved very much. Linebacker Brian Orakpo was missed last season after suffering
an injury early on and Ryan Kerrigan learned from his opportunities. This season
they share the lead in sacks, credited with 6.5 each.
London Fletcher has
been around for 16 years and is still doing the job. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall
is the strength of a weak secondary. The defense
has given up 37 touchdowns and is tied for the league's highest total. Jim Haslett
is in his fourth year as the defensive coordinator and when a team goes from winning
the division to possibly finishing last, management will take a long hard look,
especially when your unit was the weak link last year as well.
Once again the offensive line
will be making changes. Center Jim Cordle is
out for the season and for the sixth time there will be a new look for the offensive
line. Kevin Boothe will move to center and
James Brewer will take over his spot at left guard. Eli Manning could have used
all his weapons last week, but for reasons previously mentioned, he was without
Hakeem Nicks. Spotting Nicks to the Cowboys, they blanketed Victor Cruz so well
that Manning threw a season low four passes his way. In the end Manning completed
only 16 of his 30 passes for 174 yards and fell short twice closing in on the
end zone in the first half and settling for field goals.
Andre Brown did his
job running for 127 yards and was assisted by Brandon Jacobs who had 75. Jacobs
will miss this game though. Peyton Hillis has been inactive the past two weeks
and will likely fill in. The Redskins are good against the run, but Brown has
taken things to a new level. You have to hope he can keep up this pace without
suffering an injury, and who knows, maybe Manning can get the passing game going
a little better to take some pressure off.
Jason Pierre-Paul, who was recently
an NFC defensive player of the week,
will miss this game. He had injured his shoulder and took limited snaps in last
week's game. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins could possibly fill in at defensive
end. They'll want to keep pressure on Washington's offensive line since they've
been allowing numerous hits on Robert Griffin III. The main priority will be shutting
down running back Alfred Morris who's had good runs on them in the past. Just
because San Francisco could do it doesn't mean the Giants can.
Last week the
defense was hampered when cornerback Trumaine McBride went down and they tried
to backfill with safety Antrel Rolle and failed to stop Tony Romo on the last
drive of the game. McBride is out for this game. Corey Webster has been out, so
Jayron Hosley will step in. Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon is near the top
in receptions in the league and he could spell trouble for a defense making changes
in the secondary.
the battle of 'please don't let me finish last in the division', the Giants and
Redskins will play each other twice in these remaining five games. A Redskins
victory means that the absolute best one team would finish at would be 8-8 and
the other 7-9 since they play each other once again. If the Giants win they can
hope to continue doing that to finish 9-7 which is certainly no easy task the
way they've been playing. The Cowboys need to win just two of their remaining
four to stay ahead of the Giants because of the tie breakers.
The Cowboys (7-5) played their game
on Thanksgiving Day and won over the Raiders (4-8) 31-24. The Cardinals (7-4)
travel to play the Eagles (6-5) in the Sunday 1pm game and later at 8:30pm the
Giants (4-7) are on the road playing Washington (3-8). The Eagles and Giants are
favored to win in their games.
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TeamGiants on Twitter.Notes.
Pierre-Paul will miss a game for the first time after playing in 59 consecutive
player John Riggins holds the record for rushing attempts and rushing yards in
a single postseason: 136 attempts and 610 yards in 4 playoff games in 1982.
London Fletcher has started in 210 consecutive games.
Alfred Morris rushed for 242 yards in two games against the Giants in 2012.
Robert Griffin III threw his 11th interception Monday. He threw 5 in all of last
Dec 8 - Giants at San Diego.
Dec 15 - Seahawks at Giants.