The New York Giants best the Redskins on the road en route to the team’s fifth win of this season. For Washington, their ninth loss of the year mathematically eliminates them from playoff contention, so you may now officially consider the 2013 season a bitter disappointment if you are a Redskin fan. Much was made about the officiating screw-up at the end of this game, but to me it did not directly cost Washington this game. After all, the next play (which was a fourth and one) was converted to Pierre Garcon. Once Garcon hauled in the catch, New York’s safety Will Hill was able to strip the ball from him and recover it for the Giants, thus sealing the win for his team. Much like the controversial call at the end of the Patriots-Panthers game, I can say that the blunder by the referees did not directly cost a team a game. I believe that this error drew more attention than it should have when all was said and done, seeing as how Will Hill still made that play for his team. You are going to have a hard time convincing me that something similar would not have happened had the first down sticks been correctly moved.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into this game. I thought that the Redskins came out and did a great job at keeping the Giants guessing. Washington came out and introduced the no-huddle offense and sprinted out to a 14 point lead, thanks in large part to Robert Griffin III hitting his first twelve passes of the game. However, I am not quite sure why Kyle Shanahan gave up on the no-huddle. Let’s backtrack to Weeks 1 and 2 of this season. When the Redskins were behind big to the Eagles and Packers, they fought their way back on the scoreboard by working in the no-huddle offense. Then, in Week 3 against the Raiders, the ‘Skins utilized the no-huddle for a majority of that contest and were able to pick up the ten point win because of it. I think that Washington should consider utilizing the no-huddle attack more often; the passing offense clearly benefits from it and the team’s passing offense has been hard to watch at times this year. In the first half against the Eagles in Week 11, the Redskins did nothing at all through the air. Then, in the second half against the 49ers in Week 12, the aerial attack was nowhere to be seen. In the second half of this game, Washington looked pitiful trying to throw the ball. A lot of it has to do with many dropped passes (something that has plagued the team for many years now), and the fact that Justin Tuck decided to go off with four sacks. Whatever the case, the Redskins struggled to move the ball through the air, and in a passing league you really need to be able to move the ball for at least 200 yards via the passing game every week, especially if you don’t have a great defense (the ‘Skins had only 184 net yards passing in this contest).
Eli Manning didn’t have a great game by any means, but he wasn’t terrible either. He rekindled his relationship with Victor Cruz in this game as Cruz was able to open himself up for six receptions and 80 yards (both lead the team). Brandon Myers caught a touchdown pass in his second straight week. He is becoming more of a part of this offense, which is something that has to be encouraging for the Giants seeing as how the tight end position has historically been one that flourishes in this offense. Will Beatty had another tough game, matched up against Brian Orakpo, but all and all I thought that New York did a nice job holding up against the four-man rush. Jim Haslett, as he always does, blitz in third down situations and a lot of them were misses because Big-Blue did a good job max-protecting, chipping, and releasing. To me, the Giants possessed the most consistent offense on the night and after the first quarter they really took this game over. The running game took a step back, but was still pretty effective and helped to set up play-action passes.
The Giants are still alive in the NFC East, but just barely. They really do have to win out while hoping for Dallas and Philly to sputter down the stretch. Through Week 13, each of those teams look like they are hitting their stride so catching them will be tough for the G-Men. Tom Coughlin did say that getting the team to 8-8 to end the season would be huge for them (during the pre-game interview) especially given the fact that they started the season at 0-6. This is a more realistic goal to shoot for, and something that they have a legitimate shot at doing. Meanwhile, for Washington, things can’t get much worse. Given where they finished last year, you would never have guessed that the team would only have three wins at this point in the season, even considering Robert Griffin III’s injury. You really can’t blame this loss on any injury. Griffin ran the ball very well (12 carries for 88 yards). The defense has not been good this year and RGIII throwing the ball has been a train-wreck at times this year. That is why I think they are 3-9 right now. Washington will look to get something going next week when the struggling Kansas City Chiefs come to town. Picking up a couple of wins in the team’s final four games will be huge for their confidence going forward into the 2014 season.