1. How desperate were the Giants? Very. But that wasn't the reason they won. New York won because it simplified its defense and was clearly prepared for Washington's offense. The Giants sat back in a cover two, daring Washington to beat them underneath. The Redskins couldn't. Too often they kept extra blockers in to handle the ends, leaving four receivers against seven defenders. That's a mismatch. Also, one Giants defender said they were dying to face Mark Brunell after playing Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck in the first three games.
2. Can the Redskins stop the Giants' big-play attack? We said it was a lot to ask. We were right. New York gashed Washington with four plays of 20 yards or more; those plays combined 138 yards. That's ridiculous. And the blame was all over. Lemar Marshall hesitated on a blitz; that extra split second allowed Eli Manning to hit a big play downfield. Sean Taylor got turned around on another deep ball.
3. But what is the key to stopping them? We thought it was easy: stop Tiki Barber. They couldn't. Part of the problem was sloppy tackling, starting on the first play when Marcus Washington had a chance to drop him in the backfield and failed. Another time, Sean Taylor completely whiffed on a pathetic shoulder tackle attempt. Barber hurt the Redskins time and again running over the left side. It wasn't just Andre Carter's fault; it was everyone's.
4. Where should the Redskins attack offensively? We said at the outside linebackers and downfield. The Redskins tried to get wide, but the Giants linebackers wouldn't let them. The ends, Omi Umenyiora in particular, did a good job of forcing runs wide and disrupting the play enough for the linebackers to shoot through. Washington's line rarely got to the second level.
5. What about the passing game? We said, the Redskins should join other teams and attack them downfield. But Washington is at its best when it can send out four and five receivers. However, the Giants played a cover two and Washington couldn't hurt them underneath in the soft parts of the zone. Part of the problem on some plays is that Washington had to keep in extra blockers.
6. What are the big matchups offensively? We said the tackles against the ends. The Redskins lost those battles. It wasn't just the sacks or pressure, it was that the ends were good at forcing the backs wide.
7. What are the key matchups defensively? We said the secondary against New York's receivers and Marshall against Barber. Washington lost those battles, too. The Giants messed up in the red zone a few times, but they had no trouble getting down there. The secondary is playing poorly in coverage. And Marshall has not progressed enough. He's not even close to Antonio Pierce.
8. Will LA finally break out? We didn't think so and he certainly did not have a breakout game. Arrington blitzed a couple times and Clinton Portis picked him up. Arrington did have a tipped pass after which he celebrated like he had just recorded a sack. He was a bit pumped up for this one. But he was not a factor in the outcome.
9. How dangerous is Eli Manning? We thought he was a danger -- to both sides. But he was good yesterday and here's why: the kid is willing to stand in against the blitz. His ability to do that enabled him to make big plays downfield. He had some misses, but overall he was good.
10. Will the Redskins win? Clearly, we're foolish because we said yes. Remember, they don't play well here under Joe Gibbs. Yet we ignored that and ignored the fact that New York was at home and desperately needed a win. We thought the Redskins' offense would produce more than, say, three points. We won't make this mistake again.