Sunday, December 18, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Redskins 23, Giants 10
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A couple of thoughts on the Washington Redskins' shocking domination of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
What it means: The Giants can still win the division by winning their final two games, but their margin of error is gone now, and if they lose next week to the Jets and the Cowboys beat the Eagles, they will be eliminated before they even get their second crack at the Cowboys in Week 17. For the Redskins, who improve to 5-9, it means nothing in the standings. But if you're a Redskins fan, you have to feel very good about the way your team has been playing. They have nothing to play for right now besides pride, and on Sunday they played as though they were the team that was trying to get into the playoffs.
Rex the game manager: Twice, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman threw deep early. Both times, he was intercepted. To their credit, the Redskins cut that right now. Grossman spent the rest of the game handing off and throwing short to a variety of receivers, managing the game and controlling the clock. The Redskins had the ball for 20:26 of the first half as they built a 20-3 lead, and they were able to eat up clock in the third quarter to prevent the Giants from getting a chance to make a comeback. For the second game in a row, the Redskins ran the ball on more than 50 percent of their offensive plays. They're 5-1 this season when they run it at least 40 percent of the time.
No Eli, no chance: The Giants are an awful defensive team, as they showed Sunday in no uncertain terms. And they can't run the ball at all. What that means is, when quarterback Eli Manning doesn't play well, they have no chance. This was Manning's worst game of the season, with three interceptions and no touchdowns, and they finally asked more of him than he could deliver. His receivers didn't help him, either. Hakeem Nicks dropped a sure 54-yard touchdown pass that hit him in the hands in the first quarter.
Hail to the Redskins' D: It's kind of like being the tallest dwarf, but the Redskins have the best defense in the NFC East. Their front seven excels at putting pressure on the quarterback. They use enough different and confusing looks to rattle opponents into mistakes. They race to the ball and play hard, and for most of the day their defensive backs were simply better than the Giants' very good wide receivers. Give the Redskins credit for devising and executing an excellent all-around game plan to sweep their division rivals.
Picking on the rook: Cornerback Prince Amukamara, the Giants' first-round pick, missed all of training camp and the first half of the season with a foot injury, and it shows. His mistakes in coverage look like confusion mistakes and poor communication mistakes, and those are the kinds of things that show up when you have a rookie effectively playing his first half-season in the pros. Other teams are seeing it, and going right after him, and as the Redskins showed repeatedly on Sunday, the Giants are especially vulnerable there.
What's next: The Giants play the New York Jets on Saturday in an afternoon game right back here at the Meadowlands. It's technically a "home" game for the Jets, who share the stadium with the Giants, but there should be plenty of Giants fans in attendance. The question is what kind of mood they'll be in. The Redskins have a home game against the Minnesota Vikings, which is a chance for a second straight victory.