Stat worth noting: The Giants averaged only 3.1 yards per pass play. By contrast, Washington averaged 5.8 yards.
Stat worth noting II: The Giants averaged five yards a carry yet continued to throw the ball all night long.
Turning point: Even though the Skins had a 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter, the Giants appeared to be one play away from getting right back into the game. Unfortunately for Big Blue, it was the Redskins that made that play. Facing a third-and-nine from midfield, Redskins QB Todd Collins fired a beautiful strike to Santana Moss, who turned around Sam Madison before being knocked out of bounds by Kevin Dockery after a 34-yard catch. Three plays later the Skins were in the end zone with an insurmountable 13-0 lead.
Play to remember: When you only score one offensive touchdown, you had better believe that was the play to remember. New York finally got into the end zone midway through the third quarter, cutting Washington’s lead to 22-10. Rookie Kevin Boss caught his first career TD pass, a 19-yarder on a post pattern that kept New York’s hopes alive, at least for the moment.
Play to forget: The usually dependable defense didn’t exactly hold up its end of the bargain against the Redskins. However, one of the worst plays came late in the second quarter when the Giants were still trying to convince themselves that they could compete in this game. On a third-and-nine from the Giants 14-yard line, Collins handed the ball off to Ladell Betts, who busted right up the middle into the end zone with only mild resistance.
By the Numbers
1 – Number of wins New York still needs to clinch a playoff spot.
9 – Number of drops by Giants receivers. Eli Manning was horrible, but he sure didn’t receive much help either.
66 – Number of yards on back-to-back second-quarter passes by Redskins QB Todd Collins, his first two completions in more than 10 years.
“We didn’t play well enough to win. They started off fast in the first half and after that we were chasing them. They did a good job of executing their plan and we didn’t.” – Giants DE Justin Tuck
“I think it’s one of the hardest places to come play and I was really proud of our guys to be able to get this.” – Redskins coach Joe Gibbs
What went right
Brandon Jacobs was effective, running for the second-best game of his career. Jacobs was especially effective right up the middle, most often on draws and inside handoffs. He finished with 130 yards on 25 carries, which translated to a gaudy Tiki-esque 5.2-yard average. On the flip side, however, you’d need more than one hand on which to count the number of catchable passes that Jacobs dropped.
Due to the weather and his ineptitude, Redskins QB Todd Collins completed only eight passes against the Giants defense. However, those eight tosses went for 166 yards, while the Giants missed multiple chances to pick off Collins aerials.
Despite the awful showing, by getting to nine wins in their first 13 games, the Giants gave themselves enough of a cushion to likely survive this type of performance.
Fortunately for the Giants, there weren’t a whole lot of fans on hand to watch this one. Yeah, yeah, we know all about the lousy weather, but it ended up not being all that bad out, yet the stadium was only half-full for kickoff. By the end of this absurd encounter, you could count the remaining fans on only a couple hands.
What went wrong
Eli Manning didn’t exactly show up to play Sunday night. When the Giants needed him the most, Manning came up small once again. It doesn’t matter how many passes your guys drop or how windy it is; when you complete only 18-of-52 throws, it’s on you.
Manning displayed his acute pocket awareness once again midway through the first quarter and not surprisingly accounted for the game’s only turnover. He was hit from behind by Andre Carter and fumbled the ball away. Anthony Montgomery fell on the loose ball, giving Washington possession at the Giants 45.
Twice in the first quarter the Giants were victims of lousy spots, including on a fourth down that gave the Skins the ball at Washington’s 39-yard line. The second one came on a third down and forced a New York punt from deep in its own territory.
In the second quarter, veteran punt returner R.W. McQuarters made a rookie mistake. He allowed Derrick Frost’s very catchable wind-aided punt to hit the ground and roll all the way to New York’s four-yard line. The Giants went three-and-out and on their next possession the Skins scored to take a 13-0 lead.