The New York Giants entered their Week 11 matchup against Washington in full control of their destiny and the division; they left FedEx field with neither. Big Blue suffered its second loss in a row which promoted Washington to first in the NFC East while relegating the Giants to second ahead of Philadelphia and Dallas. As a result, the Giants have suffered a loss to each of their divisional foes and for the first time since 1996, they have lost all of their NFC East road games.
Coach Coughlin will be particularly unhappy with this game as his team seemingly sleepwalked throughout it. Despite ranking in the top-3, the Giants did not have a single takeaway while also committing turnovers on their first two possessions with Eli getting intercepted on both occasions due to tipped passes. Manning ended the game with three interceptions and completed 26 of 51 passes for 321 yards and two TDs for an overall QBR of 59.4.
Big Blue had the ball for exactly 24 minutes which equals their third-lowest time of possession for the season with the other lows coming in both games against Dallas. They registered zero points through the first three quarters and then scored twice in the final stanza including an incredible 21 yard grab from Odell Beckham Jr. who ended the day with 9 catches for 141 yards and now has 9 touchdowns for the season. The other score went to Rueben Randle who scored on a 40 yard reception with 10 minutes to play.
The Giants began the day without two of their starting offensive linemen in Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, also lost guard Geoff Schwartz as he fractured his lower left leg and was unable to return. Rookie Bobby Hart initially took Schwartz’s place but was himself replaced by John Jerry as Coughlin made some in-game adjustments to the line.
In some good news, Big Blue saw their star corner Prince Amukamara return after missing five games with a partially-torn pectoral muscle. He made four tackles with three of them being solo. Also, Hakeem Nicks made his second debut with a four yard reception in the second quarter. He was signed off the waiver during the bye and sported his familiar No.88 jersey. LB Mark Herzlich who was initially declared out on Friday with a quad injury, did play and had a special teams tackle.
The Giants’ loss leaves the playoff race wide open and it is debatable if the NFC East has become the worse one in football. Teams from the previous contender, AFC South, are a combined 18-26 while teams in the Giants’ division are 17-27. On paper, Washington has the “easiest” schedule with games against the Bears, Bills, Eagles and Cowboys while the Giants close out the season against the dolphins, the Panthers, the Vikings, and the Eagles.
One thing is for certain, if the Giants don’t make the postseason for the third year running, this game against Washington will be the one they will rue most. Not because they were beaten, but because they hardly competed.