Giants vs Redskins: X's and O's

Here is a position by position analysis for how the Giants did against the Redskins.

QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning showed intelligence and patience by calling a timeout with the play clock at 2 and the Giants in a third-and-five situation from Washington's 11 early in the fourth quarter. RB Derrick Ward gained first-down yardage after the timeout. Throwing off his back foot, with two Washington defenders in his face, Manning never should've unloaded a deep pass that was easily intercepted by FS Sean Taylor at the Redskins' 14, with 6:00 left in the third quarter. The interception ended a promising Giants drive when they were down 17-10 and gaining momentum. Bottom Line: If only Manning could eliminate that one glaring gaffe per game.

RUNNING BACKS

FB Madison Hedgecock blocked MLB London Fletcher to open a huge hole for RB Derrick Ward, who gained six yards up the middle on a third-and-five play from Washington's 11 early in the fourth quarter. Bottom Line: RB Derrick Ward was a workhorse (26 carries, 94 yards).

WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

WR Plaxico Burress made a tremendous inside adjustment to Manning's errant throw, caught the ball and blew by RCB Carlos Rogers for a 33-yard touchdown that helped put the Giants ahead 24-17 with 5:32 left in the game. TE Jeremy Shockey beat Fletcher down the middle of the field, but couldn't catch a perfectly placed Manning pass that would've amounted to at least a 20-yard gain with 9:18 left in the game. The Giants punted three plays later. On a previous third-and-eight play, Shockey showed great instincts by creating just enough separation to make a sliding 21-yard pass between SS LaRon Landry and WLB Rocky McIntosh at Washington's 1 early in the third quarter. RB Reuben Droughns scored a 1-yard touchdown on the next play, a score that brought the Giants within a touchdown (17-10). Bottom Line: Burress redeemed himself in the second half.

OFFENSIVE LINE

LT David Diehl was too slow to react after the snap, which allowed RDE Andre Carter to blow by him, blast an unsuspecting Manning and cause a fumble that Fletcher recovered at the Giants' 6 with 5:37 to go in the first quarter. The Redskins went ahead 7-3 two plays later thanks to RB Clinton Portis' 1-yard touchdown run. Bottom Line: Diehl doesn't look comfortable at tackle.

DEFENSIVE LINE

RDE Osi Umenyiora pressured QB Jason Campbell into sliding up in the pocket, which enabled reserve DE Justin Tuck to hit him and cause a fumble on a third-and-10 play from the Giants' 35 with around three minutes to play. Campbell recovered the ball, but the Redskins, down 24-17, were forced to punt. Bottom Line: The lack of pressure offered from their front four is still a serious issue, although it did improve some from the opening two games.

LINEBACKERS

WLB Kawika Mitchell beat RB Ladell Betts to the goal line, wrapped him up and forced the ensuing game-deciding, fourth-and-goal play from the Giants' 1 with less than a minute to play in the game. SLB Mathias Kiwanuka's technique and persistence helped him drag down Campbell for a critical 1-yard sack, which created a third-and-11 situation for Washington at the Giants' 36, with two minutes remaining in the game. MLB Antonio Pierce, engaged with another player, showed awareness by pouncing on Portis' fumble. With the score tied, 17-17, his recovery gave the Giants the ball at Washington's 44 with 7:33 left in the game. Bottom Line: They were far better than the previous Sunday.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

With the score tied 17-17 early in the fourth quarter, LCB Sam Madison made the right read in staying with WR Santana Moss' end around and limited Moss to just a 2-yard gain. Bottom Line: They helped limit Washington to 76 passing yards in the second half.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Rookie LB Zak DeOssie overran KR Antwaan Randle El, who fielded a Jeff Feagles punt at Washington's 38, shifted inside and returned it 27 yards to the Giants' 35 with 2:19 left in the game. RB Reuben Droughns' 34-yard return of the second-half kickoff gave the Giants good field position (their own 39), and they took advantage of their comfortable beginning by putting together a 10-play drive that resulted in Droughns' 1-yard TD run that got them within a touchdown (17-10). Bottom Line: Droughns looked good as the primary kick returner.

COACHING

Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was rewarded for continuing to target Burress in the second half, even after Burress couldn't hold on to three catchable balls in the first half. Whatever Tom Coughlin told his struggling players at halftime worked, because they were a completely different team during the last two quarters. Bottom Line: Staring at 0-3, they showed some real resolve in the second half.

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