After throwing a franchise-record tying 25 INTs last year, Eli Manning insisted emphatically that he wasn't a 25-interception quarterback.
He only threw one on Sunday. But it was a costly one.
On the opening possession of the second half, Redskins rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan broke free to tip and pick Manning's pass, running into the end zone from nine yards out to break a 14-14 tie.
"We were cutting that guy and he did a good move to avoid the cut and tipped it up," Manning said. "A good play by him, not a whole lot I can do about that."
At least eight of Manning's interceptions last season came on tipped passes off of his receivers hands. This time, it was a tip by a defender but it stung just the same.
"That's a tough way to start the second half," Tom Coughlin said.
Manning finished 18-of-32 for 268 yards and the lone interception.
But Manning contributed to the Giants' awful third-down play (one first-down conversion in ten tries).
Manning completed four of his nine third-down passes. The first went for 68 yards to Hakeem Nicks and set up Manning's two-yard touchdown run (the fourth of his career).
The next three went to receivers who were short of the first-down marker.
"Third down, 1-for-10, that is a big part of the answer right there," Manning said.
He was also sacked four times but refused to blame his offensive line, which was playing for the first time with David Bass at center and Will Beatty at starting left tackle.
"I thought we were on the same page, everybody was doing the right thing," Manning said. "They did a good job. Some of the sacks weren’t on them. But we got to look at the film. I thought they did a good job and gave us some chances to make some plays."
When Steve Smith left for free-agency, it created a void in the receiving corps. The Giants were hoping Victor Cruz or Domenik Hixon could step in and fill the void. Neither wideout distinguished himself on Sunday.
Cruz had a drop in the Giants' opening series. Hixon finished with two catches for 31 yards.
"I feel comfortable with the guys," Manning said of Cruz and Hixon. "We didn’t do a whole lot three-wide in the game. Hixon and all those guys did a good job of kind of being thrown into the mix, had to play some four wide, something we hadn’t practiced all week."