By Curt Macysyn
It is not likely that the New York Giants (5-9) have any sympathy for the Washington Redskins (3-11). After a season of disappointment and a fair share of bad luck, Big Blue finally received some serendipity from the football gods today.
With the Redskins ahead 10-7 in the closing seconds of the first half, quarterback Robert Griffin III was able to get to the edge for an apparent eight-yard touchdown run as the first half ended. But replays showed that Griffin lost control of the football prior to crossing the goal line and did not maintain control of the football as he hit the ground after leaping to pay dirt. After an extensive replay, the RG3 touchdown was reversed, and the Giants were awarded a touchback and trailed only 10-7 at halftime.
After the end of the half fireworks concluded, the second half became the Odell Beckham, Jr. show, as the talented rookie almost singlehandly handled guided the Giants to a 24-13 victory over Washington in the New Jersey Meadowlands.
TEAM OFFENSE: B
Beckham’s 143 receiving yards and 12 catches included three touchdowns, and obviously earned his effort an A+ for the day. Beckham caught his 12 passes on 15 targets, as he continues to carry the entire offense on his back. Quarterback Eli Manning tried to spread the ball around, but Beckham appears to be the primary option on most offensive plays.
On the afternoon, Manning completed 23 of 34 passes for 250 passing yards and three touchdowns. The veteran quarterback was only sacked once on the afternoon, and he had steady command of the offense throughout the game. After Manning and Beckham, however, the Giants’ offense could use more support.
Despite giving up only one sack, the offensive line was sporadic all afternoon. Tackle Justin Pugh had a holding penalty that negated a Beckham touchdown, and Weston Richburg also had a holding call on the afternoon. As a team, the Giants averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per carry on the ground, and the line was not physical enough to get any push on third down and less than a yard in a few cases.
The old Andre Williams reappeared with just 44 yards on 18 carries. The offensive line did not give Williams much help, but the rookie from Boston College does not possess a great burst of speed, nor does he run to daylight. With Rashad Jennings felled by an ankle injury again this week, the entire workload fell to Williams again. Perhaps late season pick-up Orleans Darkwa will see more repetitions moving forward.
Rueben Randle had another so-so performance with two catches on four targets, including a pass that was right in his hands and ripped out by David Amerson. Tight end Larry Donnell was pretty much invisible with two catches for 11 yards, but Daniel Fells had a nice 16-yard grab in the third quarter.
Overall, the Giants’ offense needs better line play, and Eli Manning could use more weapons than currently exist on the roster, including a threat of out the backfield, tight end and wide receiver. There was a Corey Washington siting on this Sunday with one catch on one target. With the lack of production from Randle, Washington should be given a bigger role in the last two games.
The Redskins aided the Giants’ cause with 135 yards in penalties, including unsportmanlike conduct calls to Santana Moss for arguing at the end of the first half, as well as Bashaud Breeland, who tried to be in Odell Beckham’s face all day to no avail. Beckham plays a feisty game, and that should serve him well because he does keep his emotions in check. Moss was also ejected from the game after his end of the first half outburst.
The Giants’ defensive front did get pressure on Washington starter Colt McCoy and his replacement Robert Griffin III (18 of 26 for 236 yards). McCoy reinjured his neck in the first half, and he was replaced by RG3, who had a good game in relief. The Giants’ defense still cannot handle running quarterbacks, as both Griffin (23 yards) and McCoy (20 yards), broke containment for big gains. The Redskins accumulated 372 total yards on the day, but typically shot themselves in the foot with bad penalities.
Coming off of his NFC defensive player of the week status, linebacker Devon Kennard is no longer under the radar. It was obvious that the Redskins made sure that the rookie did not get the best of them, and Kennard was not as effective as he had been the previous week against the Titans. He still ended up with a half of a quarterback sack and seven tackles.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul continues to make a push for another Giants’ contract, as he dominated the line of scrimmage again this week. JPP had seven tackles and 2.5 quarterback sacks on the afternoon, as he made life difficult for RG3 and tackle Trent Williams. Pierre-Paul has shown that he can be a dominating force against the league’s bottom feeders, so the contest against the stout Philadelphia Eagles should be of interest to the front office.
Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is fast beoming a premier dominant force in the middle of the defensive unit. Big Hank had 2.5 quarterback sacks and six tackles on the afternoon. The play of Hankins is making everyone forget Linval Joseph leaving for Minnesota in free agency, and in addition, statistically Hankins is playing much better than Joseph.
Safety Antrel Rolle suffered through a subpar effort as he plays for a new contract as well. Rolle whiffed on a tackle of Griffin that led to a 23-yard run for the Skins quarterback. Then on the same drive, he let Andre Roberts free on a 61-yard catch and carry, but was bailed out by Domiqiue Rodgers-Cromartie, who tracked down Roberts and prevented a touchdown. DRC was solid in pass coverage and appears to be getting healthier as the games wind down. Rodgers-Cromartie may have had his best effort as a Giant on the afternoon.
Another week, and another thoughtless Damontre Moore penalty. Moore has a high energy level, but he has to cut down on needless penalties. Maybe a class in the NFL rule book migh be in order. Moore is a talented player, and plays with great motor, but he needs to play the game with more intelligence. Rookie defensive end Kerry Wynn had an active afternoon with seven tackles and continues to make a push for playing time down the stretch and into next season.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
Preston Parker returned three kicks for 90 yards, including a nice 45-yard return which jump started the Giants’ offense. The Giants were seconds away from a turnover-less game, but Odell Beckham muffed a punt return. The Redskins recovered deep in Giants’ territory, but did not have enough time to make it count. OBJ had four punt returns for 19 yards, and the Redskins kept him bottled up all afternoon in that aspect of his game at least.
Kicker Josh Brown was perfect on three extra points and his one field goal attempt (32 yards). Brown did have a successful on-sides kick, but also booted a kickoff out of bounds, giving the Redskins possession at the 40 yard line.
Steve Weatherford was in sync with his coverage team. Weatherford had six punts with a 43.5 average on the afternoon, and most importantly he had five of those punts downed inside the 20 yard line. Weatherford shanked a line drive to the Redskins’ Andre Roberts, but he was bailed out by good coverage and an illegal block by Washington as well.
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Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.