The Giants had a golden opportunity to take control of the NFC East during Sunday’s game in Washington, but they failed to get the job done, falling to the Redskins 20-14 in a game that New York trailed throughout. Washington now sits in a first-place tie with the Giants atop the division with five regular season games remaining for each team.
The Big Blue offense, which has done a great job to carry the team this season, gained only 33 rushing yards on 13 carries and saw quarterback Eli Manning throw three interceptions, including a crucial one in the end zone that cut short a potential scoring drive in the third quarter.
“We didn’t have our best performance yesterday, that’s disappointing, and I wish we played better,” said Manning. “I think our defense kept us in it, did a good job, and offensively we would have liked to get something going, we get a first down or we’d move the ball, and do something to force us back. We’d get into a third and long, so they did a good job. We had some opportunities to make some plays down the field and we just didn’t make enough big plays and make some of the challenged throws that we need to complete.”
Even though Manning threw interceptions (one of which should have been caught by tailback Shane Vereen) on each of New York’s first two possessions, the Giants still found themselves tied with Washington 0-0 after one quarter. However, that same defense that played so well to open the game gave up a huge 63-yard pass play from Kirk Cousins to DeSean Jackson early in the second quarter. Two Giants punts later, the Redskins added a second touchdown on an 80-yard drive that was capped by a Cousins quarterback sneak on 4th-and-goal.
Faced with a three-score deficit in the fourth quarter, the frustrated New York offense was forced to throw the ball more than it wanted to. Although Manning connected with Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. with long touchdown strikes on consecutive drives, the effort was not enough. Cousins and the Redskins ran the clock down to within the final minute during their last possession of the game.
“We had to score, and score quickly and kind of got into a passing deal,” said Manning. “We didn’t want it to be a game where we had to throw it 50 times; we would have liked to run it more, but I think it’s also a combination.”
The Giants will look to balance out their attack when they face the Jets this Sunday at MetLife Stadium. With both New York teams jockeying for playoff spots, Manning and Big Blue can’t afford to lay another egg on offense.