Here's who we said to watch; and what they actually did:
1. Stephon Heyer. He did an OK job in pass protection, mostly facing Justin Tuck. He could have been abused, but wasn't. He did get beat a couple times, but that was to be expected. Heyer just isn't that good. But the run blocking was poor. There was one time he drove Tuck out, but Heyer did not get to the linebackers well enough nor did he always prevent his guy from making a tackle coming from the backside.
2. Chris Samuels. Samuels faced Osi Umenyiora, who got around him once or twice. However, on the fumble return for a touchdown, Samuels can't be blamed. Jason Campbell had to feel the rush better and did not. Samuels was fine for most of the game. He had to make the Redskins nervous because he appeared to be hurt on one occasion. And he walked gingerly on the sidelines after one series. But he never came out.
3. Jason Campbell. We wanted to know how he'd handle the pressure. For most of the game he handled it fine and was sacked just twice. But he made two plays that defined his day: not stepping up in the pocket on the Umenyiora fumble and then throwing an interception after he'd crossed the line of scrimmage. Both were instinctive plays that he failed to make. After the fumble, he did a much better job of feeling the rush and stepping up. He also kept his poise after a fumbled shotgun snap and turned that into a 23-yard pitch and run to Ladell Betts. But you can't say after this one that he appeared much better than in 2008.
4. Cornelius Griffin. Obviously with Albert Haynesworth getting double teamed, Griffin will be a key. He was mostly fine against Chris Snee as the Giants' success on the ground came off the edges. Griffin and Haynesworth allowed London Fletcher to make a lot of plays.
5. Malcolm Kelly. His first start was a dud. He caught one pass, albeit for a first down, and got drilled. Kelly failed to sustain a downfield block that could have helped Clinton Portis gain more yards. Kelly still needs to show he can be a physical receiver, something that was evident when he tried to get off press coverage. The Redskins said he was open a couple times. We'll take their word for it, because it wasn't evident watching the game.
Revisiting our predictions
1. The Redskins will handle the pressure. In a way we were right on this one. They did handle it OK, better than anticipated. But they did not do it by calling screens or dr aws; mostly it was by blocking better. What a concept. Campbell's mistakes cannot be attributed to poor offensive line play. They might not have been great and the Giants did apply some heat, but it wasn't the sole reason for the loss.
2. New York's passing game will sputter. We thought this was a good time to face a team with a lot of turnover at receiver. We did not expect the Redskins to play such soft coverage and whiff on tackles. But what a dreadful performance by much of the secondary. DeAngelo Hall and Fred Smoot in particular were bad and LaRon Landry, diving tipped pass for an interception aside, took a lot of bad angles to the ball. The Giants finished with 256 yards passing and a 30-yard catch and run for a score by receiver Mario Manningham, who broke three tackles. Three! A receiver! We thought the Giants would need a healthy dose of Brandon Jacobs and a turnover or two to win. They got the two turnovers, but Jacobs only finished with 60 yards.
3. The Redskins will pull the upset. We violated the golden rule: Don't pick the Redskins in New York. OK, New Jersey. But you get the point. The Redskins can't win at the Meadowlands of late (six of their last seven). We thought this might be a good time to play a good team, with their secondary ailing and the receivers somewhat unproven. But if it's any consolation we did get the Redskins 17 points correct. It was the Campbell fumble that was the difference (we said 17-16). And plays like that always happen to the Redskins at the Giants. Always.
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Redskins Rewind: Giants 23, Redskins 17
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