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Sloppy play rears its ugly head as the Giants fall to the Redskins 29-27

The Giants looked to expand their lead over their division rival Washington Redskins on Sunday but came up short due to turnovers and penalties throughout the game.   All eyes were on the Odell Beckham/Josh Norman matchup and early on Norman got the better of Beckham, holding him to just 2 receptions for 44 yards in the first half.  Despite Beckham’s slow start, Eli and the offense were able to consistently move the ball in the first half with an even attack that led to three touchdowns, two of which were in the red zone by way of Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa.  The Giants were without their number one running back, Rashad Jennings due to a thumb injury that he incurred in week 2 versus the Saints.  The rushing game had a return to form after a disappointing effort against the Saints (64 rushing yards).

Orleans Darkwa rushes for a Giants' First Half Touchdown vs Washington Sunday. (photo: Bobby O'Hara/PureSportsNY)

Orleans Darkwa rushes for a Giants’ First Half Touchdown vs Washington Sunday. (photo: Bobby O’Hara/PureSportsNY)

In the first half alone, Vereen and Darkwa rushed for 95 yards on 17 carries for a 5.6 yard per carry average.  It wasn’t all good news from the running backs on Sunday as Shane Vereen fumbled on the Giants final possession of the half.   There was just under 1 minute and 20 seconds left on the clock when Vereen coughed up the ball on the Redskins 34 yard line.  This is the second week in a row that Vereen has put the ball on the ground and into the hands of their opponent.  This was not the most costly turnover of the game but it was untimely to say the least as the Giants were driving and were close to being able to pad their lead heading into the locker room.   Coach Ben McAdoo has talked frequently about ball security, also known as “protecting the Duke”, but the Giants have done no such thing thus far.  Turning it over three times last week against the Saints and then again 3 times today by way of 2 errant throws by Eli Manning and the Vereen fumble.  Ball security is a major issue for the team and something that will clearly have to improve or opportunities to win in close games will continue to disappear.  In addition to Vereen’s turnover, the Giants had 5 penalties for 68 yards in the first half.  Left Tackle Ereck Flowers accounted for two of them with a holding and a face mask penalty and the other penalty of note was center, Weston Richburg‘s first unsportsmanlike penalty of the game.   The penalties were a negative trend that would continue into the second half.

 

Crowder scores a TD vs New York on Sunday. (photo: Bobby O'Hara/PureSportsNY)

Crowder scores a TD vs New York on Sunday. (photo: Bobby O’Hara/PureSportsNY)

On the Washington Redskins second possession of the third quarter, a routine screen pass to wide receiver Jamison Crowder turned into a  55 yard touchdown pass.  In just 1 minute and 17 seconds, the Redskins put seven on the board and took the lead by a score of 23-21.  It was a dramatic shift because with just over 4 minutes remaining in the first half they trailed the Giants 21-9.  The Giants would re-take the lead on their next possession with a 29 yard Josh Brown field goal making it 24-23.   Following a Giants defensive stop the Redskins punting team came onto the field and that’s when the Giants special teams unit was totally fooled.   The Redskins faked a punt and punter Tress Way fired a 31 yard strike to cornerback Quinton Dunbar for the first down.  Giants cornerback Trevin Wade was not able to catch up to Dunbar and break up the pass which led to Redskins continuing their drive.  Their kicker Dustin Hopkins would kick his fourth field goal of the day at the start of the fourth quarter giving the lead back to the Redskins.  During the the Giants first possession of the fourth quarter center Weston Richburg picked up his second unsportsmanlike penalty of the game leading to his ejection.  Richburg appeared to hit Josh Norman and then exchange words with him and a flag was quickly thrown that led to his exit.  A couple of plays prior to that, Norman hit wide receiver Sterling Shepard high and was flagged for unnecessary roughness which may have led to Richburg feeling the need to exact some kind of revenge.  It was a costly penalty as Richburg is a leader on the offensive line and they were without him for most of the fourth quarter.  On the heels of Richburg’s ejection, the most costly turnovers and penalties were soon to come.

Quinton Dunbar intercepts Eli Manning Sunday vs Giants (photo: Bobby O'Hara)

Quinton Dunbar intercepts Eli Manning Sunday vs Giants (photo: Bobby O’Hara)

Early in the fourth quarter, with the Giants driving, Manning threw his first interception from within the red zone.  With 1st and 10 from the Redskins 15 yard line Manning’s pass intended for Will Tye was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar in the end zone for a touchback.  It was a very costly turnover as the Giants were in position to at least put three points on the board.  Following that turnover the Giants special teams unit would make a terrific play that was quickly negated by a boneheaded move by a rookie recently elevated to the roster.  Defensive end Romeo Okwara blocked the Redskins punt and the Giants were about to take over inside the Redskins twenty yard line but safety Andrew Adams was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty.  Adams’ penalty offset the illegal batting penalty called on the Redskins’ Trent Murphy which led to the Redskins simply being able to punt again and in the end negated Okwara’s play.   The Giants would tack on another field goal on their next possession but their skinny 1 point lead would be erased when Washington took over on their subsequent possession. The Giants defense needed to take a stand on the Redskins possession but were unable to keep them from trotting out Dustin Hopkins for yet another field goal.  The Giants’ penalty problems arose yet again when Olivier Vernon was called for roughing the passer on a 2nd and 14 play which would have put the Redskins in a third and long situation inside their own twenty five yard line.  It was significant moment in the Redskins final drive because it led to an automatic first down and kept the drive alive.  The Redskins would kick a 37 yard field goal eight plays later to recapture the lead at 29-27.  Manning would throw his second interception with 1 minute and 9 seconds remaining in the game.  On 1st and 10 from the Giants 39 yard line a pass intended for Shane Vereen was grabbed by a diving Su’a Cravens effectively ending the Giants chances at winning the game.  The third and final turnover by the Giants sounded the death knell as they lost to the Redskins by a score of 29-27.

There were multiple chances that the Giants had in the second half to find the end zone yet were unable to match their first half efficiency.  They were 0 for 3 inside the red zone in the second half and saw the turnovers and penalties hinder them repeatedly.  When the team goes back to review the film they will certainly be paying close attention to how they managed to continue to get in their own way with sloppy play throughout the game.   This is a tough loss and one that they’ll surely be thinking about as they try to wipe the slate clean and get ready for a tough Minnesota Vikings football team next Monday.

 

Injury Notes :

Cornerback Eli Apple left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game in the fourth quarter with a groin injury.  Both of their departures had an impact on the Giants ability to cover a talented Redskins receiving corps.  The severity of their injuries is something to watch this week as both are a vital part of the Giants secondary.

 

Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY     You can follow him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY

 

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