Stat worth noting: New York easily won the time-of-possession battle, controlling the ball for more than 36 minutes against Washington.
Stat worth noting II: Ahmad Bradshaw picked up exactly where Brandon Jacobs left off last season – by averaging a gaudy five yards per carry. The slippery Bradshaw gained 60 yards on only 12 carries.
Turning point: For anyone who didn’t notice, Osi Umenyiora is back – in a big way. Late in the second period with the Giants leading 10-0, Umenyiora turned in the coveted defensive hat trick en route to a 37-yard, backbreaking touchdown. He sacked Redskins QB Jason Campbell for an 11-yard loss, forcing and recovering a fumble in the process. Umenyiora raced with the ball toward the end zone and wouldn’t be caught. His first game since Super Bowl XLII was a triumphant one – for him and his mates.
Play to remember: Mario Manningham made a trio of Redskins look silly on his 30-yard touchdown early in the second quarter. He took a short pass from Eli Manning, eluded Washington CB Fred Smoot, sped past a diving Redskins DE Andre Carter before sidestepping Washington CB DeAngelo Hall and racing down the sideline for the points. Manningham showed great speed and athleticism in not only making three defenders miss but keeping himself in bounds as well.
Play to forget: You know Tom Coughlin wasn’t the least bit happy about Washington’s fake field goal that P Hunter Smith took in for an eight-yard touchdown. The very gutsy call by Redskins Coach Jim Zorn gave Washington its first points of 2009. Smith took the ball and had no problem getting into the right corner of the end zone.
What went right
The Giants finished only six-of-13 on third-down conversions against Washington. But early in the game Eli Manning did a great job of moving the sticks. In the first quarter he hooked up with Mario Manningham for a 25-yard gain to convert a third-and-seven, and then Steve Smith for 17 on third-and-six. Manning’s second-quarter pass to Domenik Hixon gained 10 yards on a third-and-nine and set up New York’s first touchdown of the afternoon.
Chase Blackburn turned in a beautiful individual play when he totally blew up an attempted flea flicker by the Redskins. Washington WR Antwaan Randle El was looking downfield to pass when Blackburn smothered him for an 11-yard sack. While they only sacked Redskins QB Jason Campbell twice, New York’s defenders were in his face forcing him to hurry throws all game long.
Manning was very efficient, completing 20-of-29 passes and only throwing one interception. Manning, who was only sacked once, threw for 256 yards and a 30-yard TD.
After an offseason that had some Giants fans worried sick, kicker Lawrence Tynes was just fine. He made all three of this three-point tries – one from 45 yards out and a pair of 28-yarders.
What went wrong
New York had some of the same problems that have plagued them in the past. They had three trips inside Washington’s 20-yard line and didn’t come away with any touchdowns. The offense became a little too predictable and, as a result, ineffective when they got close to the Redskins goal line.
There most certainly should have been a facemask penalty called on Redskins DE Andre Carter, but regardless the Giants couldn’t have been happy with the fact that Carter not only got to Manning but forced a fumble in the process. Lorenzo Alexander fell on the free ball.
The kickoff coverage could have certainly been a little better. Rock Cartwright averaged 24.3 yards on his three returns and Ladell Betts gained 29 on his lone kickoff return.
The game was no longer really in doubt, but it was still a little unsettling to see how easily the Redskins were able to march down the field late in the fourth quarter. The Skins briskly moved 72 yards in only seven plays, culminating in a 17-yard TD catch by Chris Cooley.
0 – Number of home openers left in Giants Stadium history.
4 – Number of penalties the Giants committed for 30 yards. Tom Coughlin can live with that.
12 – Total combined numbers of catches by New York’s wide receiver corps, led by Steve Smith with six.
“Not only was it a W, but it was a W against an NFC East opponent, which is always big. It was a great game, they played hard, we played hard, and we’re happy to get a win.” – Giants DE Osi Umenyiora
“We were in the game the whole way, it was just very frustrating to me. Especially early in that first half, I was just beside myself not being able to move the ball.” – Redskins Coach Jim Zorn
Ken Palmer is in his 16th season of covering the New York Football Giants, and has been a guest analyst on the NFL Network, WFAN Radio, Sporting News Radio, ESPN Radio and other outlets around the web.