Preseason Woes Linger Against Redskins

Eli Manning/Chris Neild  (James Lang/US Presswire)

The pass defense and Eli Manning's continuation of his preseason troubles got the Giants off to a horrible start with a 28-14 loss to the Redskins. Worse yet, they let career underachiever Rex Grossman beat them.

Okay, so let's get this straight. Rex Grossman hangs up 300 yards and two touchdowns on the Giants, and the only meaningful thing Eli Manning does is throw an interception that gets returned for a touchdown.

Think this thing is off to a rocky start?

You bet. And the fact that Justin Tuck was inactive for the game with a slow-healing stinger wasn't encouraging.

Basically, the game was a continuation of the Giants' preseason problems. For Manning, it was a bunch of bad throws and one really athletic move by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who fended off a block to bat up Manning's third-quarter pass, intercept it, and return it nine yards for a touchdown to put the Skins up 21-14 as the second half opened.

And for the defense, there was that big number Grossman put up after a slow start. Oh, and he beat established cornerbacks Corey Webster and Aaron Ross for touchdowns.

Lots of bad here, but some good, too.

THE BAD:

MANNING: After throwing a league and career-high 25 interceptions last season, he certainly could have used a clean game to get started this year. Instead, Kerrigan's interception off his low throw produced the ultimate winning points. Going 18-of-32 was no great shakes, either. But he was under siege lots of the time, as he took four sacks, one of which came as DE Stephen Bowen blew right around guard David Diehl as the offense fought to get back into the game in the fourth quarter.

LACK OF TIMELINESS:

Terrible sequence early in the fourth quarter as the Giants trailed 21-14. Jason Pierre-Paul and Michael Boley combined on a strip-sack and return to give the Giants the turnover they sought. But the offense did nothing as Ahmad Bradshaw was stopped on third-and-1. Then, Lawrence Tynes had a horrible field goal try blocked to allow the Redskins to maintain the lead. Midway through the next possession, Antrel Rolle was hit with an unnecessary roughness penalty when he plowed ground-bound receiver Fred Davis instead of touching him down two yards short of the first down. That allowed the drive to continue, and Jabbar Gaffney eventually beat Webster on a quick slant-in for the final touchdown.

MORE COVERAGE PROBLEMS: Brandon Banks had a 25-yard punt return to go along with his 13.3-yard average on four bring-backs.

FOURTH DOWN: The front failed to prevent penetration on fourth-and-1 from the Washington 31 in the third quarter, and Ahmad Bradshaw was stopped short. The Giants had the league's worst fourth-down offense last season. And guess what? Third down wasn't any great shakes Sunday, either, as the Giants went 1-for-10.

THE GOOD:

PASS RUSH: It wasn't bad some of the time, and it was good enough to allow the front seven to accumulate four sacks. But Grossman had too much time in the second half and that let him settle into a nice groove. Still, Pierre-Paul had two sacks and Dave Tollefson, filling in for Tuck, had one. Chris Canty had the other.

Hakeem Nicks: His 68-yard catch set up Manning's two-yard keeper for a first-quarter touchdown and showed he'll continue as an exciting playmaker. He finished with seven catches for 122 yards.

Domenik Hixon: He did have an 18-yard punt return. It's good to have him back.

Henry Hynoski: The undrafted rookie fullback played well, especially when making a huge block on Bradshaw's six-yard touchdown run that put the Giants up 14-7. Big, tough kid from Pitt. He'll make people forget about the departed Madison Hedgecock and leave Bear Pascoe free for tight end duties.

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