September 21, 2019

Washington Redskins Game 11: New York Giants Five Takeaways

The Washington Redskins entered Sunday’s game with the New York Giants with several issues on the line. First and foremost, a win would lift the Redskins into first place in the NFC East, tied with the Giants at 5-6 but ahead on tiebreakers. The Skins also came in winners of four straight in the friendly confines of FedEx Field. However, the Redskins have had trouble with the Giants in particular in recent years, having not won against their division foe since Dec. 3, 2012.

Kirk Cousins threw for 302 yards, hooking up with DeSean Jackson for a 63-yard touchdown, Alfred Morris enjoyed his best day in a while with 78 yards on 23 carries and the Redskins knocked off the Giants 20-14 to vault into the lead of the moribund NFC East in the process.

The Redskins defense gave up 321 yards passing to Eli Manning, and Odell Beckham Jr. had 142 yards on nine catches, including a spectacular one-handed diving catch to make it a one-score game late, but limited the G-Men to 33 yards rushing and picked off Manning thrice as they bounced back from the thrashing they took at the hands of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers last week to insinuate themselves into playoff talk in the NFC.

With that, here are five more takeaways from the Redskins win over the Giants:  [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Week 12 Preview: vs. New York Giants

The Washington Redskins look to grab a share of the NFC East lead Sunday in a key divisional matchup vs. the New York Giants. The Redskins were thoroughly embarrassed in a 44-16 blowout at Carolina, while the Giants are coming off a bye week, Washington’s third opponent this year on two weeks’ rest.

The Giants, at 5-5, have a game lead on the abysmal NFC East, and beat the Redskins quite convincingly earlier this year, 32-21. The Giants have been Washington’s bugaboo the last few seasons, winning five straight meetings, all in pretty convincing fashion. The last game played at FedEx Field between these two teams ended in a 45-17 blowout, helped along by four interceptions thrown by Kirk Cousins. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Game 3 Preview: at New York Giants

The Washington Redskins and the New York Giants head into their Thursday night showdown in slightly different situations. The Redskins are riding high after a dominating 24-10 performance against the St. Louis Rams, while the Giants already find themselves in a 0-2 hole fighting for relevance in the NFC East. Both are seeking to take advantage of a very vulnerable NFC East division, with Philadelphia struggling at 0-2 and Dallas, at 2-0, missing its two best offensive players in Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.

The Redskins came out like a bat out of hell in the first half of the Rams game last week, compiling a 17-0 first half lead led by the powerful running of Matt Jones and Alfred Morris, along with the consistent play of Kirk Cousins. The hometown boys cruised to a 24-10 win. Most Redskins fans agree that it may have been the most complete first half, and perhaps game, they had seen in quite some time. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins discuss Giants debacle

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was asked to rate the difficulty of coming off a bad game like he had against the New York Giants: “It is hard to rank different experiences. They are all tough when you don’t win. You definitely learn from it, you get better as a quarterback from it, it toughens you and now we are focused on Seattle.

We’ve got a great opponent coming in here Monday night, national spotlight game, and it is very important that we play well and find a way to win.”

Cousins discussed the highs and lows regarding the reactions coming off his performances against the Philadelphia Eagles and Giants: “It’s been tough. Even my rookie year when you only get a couple spots and everybody is going to try to write the book on who you are as a quarterback from the end of the Ravens game or the Cleveland game and then you may get spot duty last year. So that is tough.

And to say how do you deal with that, you know, I don’t know that I have the perfect answer. I am the kind of guy who would like to know my future and like to know how things are going play out, I don’t.

So I try not to ride the roller coaster. I try to be as consistent as I can possibly be and I think that approach is going to help me have success in this league. But as a quarterback, you are going to have things that go your way, you’re going to have times where it is going to be tough. I think the guys that last are the guys who can ride it out and say consistent no matter what.”

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talked about the need for Cousins to look off the defense, which seemed to be a problem against the Giants.

“He’s still progressing. He’s very young with limited starts. That’s going to come with experience.

Staring down receivers is part of it that you have to learn from. If you stare down receivers against these guys, you’re going to throw more than four picks – you’re going to throw about 11.

So we’ve got to make sure he does a great job with his eyes because that’s one thing Seattle does unbelievable is all eyes are on the quarterback and they drive and they do an excellent job of rallying to the ball, so he’s got to do a good job with his eyes and be decisive with his throws and accurate.

But that just comes with time and comes with preparation and learning from your reps that you get at practice and in the games and moving forward when you do make a mistake.

So I have confidence that Kirk is going to bounce back from his four-pick day and do a much better job moving forward.”

Cousins also talked about staring down his receivers in the Giants game: “I think there are so many areas where I can and need to get better.

I think my eyes have been pretty good in talking with the coaches. They’ve said, ‘You’ve done a good job with your eyes.’

I think that obviously out one all of those interceptions I made a mistake somewhere along the line somewhere along the line that caused the result to be what it was.

But eye control, discipline with your reads and your progressions are all going to be a big part of being able to move coverage and get guys open and that is one of the deals that is kind of the game within the game.

So I think that is something that as a more experienced quarterback as I go and as I play I am going to get better and better at and that should serve me well going forward as I get more experience.”

Cousins was asked if he would become more hesitant after a performance like the Giants game: “That is a natural response to having a game like I had last week, a young quarterback especially. Human nature would say you’re going to be a little more careful, but if you do that I think you get in trouble more than you help yourself.

So I think it is important in talking with the coaches, watching the film from the game to just go back and trust my reads, trust my instincts and play the game.

And if I start to let previous performances affect the next game in a negative way, I am not going to be in this league very long. So every play is its own entity, every game is its own entity. I learned that from Coach Gruden. I think it is important that no matter what’s happened in the past, I keep playing the game the best way I know how and let the chips fall where they may.”

Cousins talked about the lessons he learned from the Giants game: “Each play was different. I think when you look at the turnovers, each one had a different reason why it happened.

But just understanding that you can’t throw the ball blind, you can’t force footballs into coverage, sometimes it’s better to take a sack, sometimes it better to check it down or move in the pocket, so you are learning every play and each play has its own reason.

I probably would have to sit down with you, Mike, and go through every play and watch the film together, which someday we can do. But to go through and say, ‘Here is what happened here, here is what happened here…’ We don’t have enough time to do that but every play there’s something.”

Cousins mentioned his film study work: “You have to be brutally honest with yourself. You have to check your ego out at the door when you walk into the film room, and say to the coaches, ‘Let’s make sure this never happens again. However you have to coach me, be hard on me to make sure that it gets through.’

So, being coachable, listening to what they have to say, the advice they give, being hard on yourself, and then on the practice field next week just emphasizing different areas. Always trying to make your weaknesses irrelevant and keep improving those and continue to use your strengths to get you where you want to go. I hope we’re learning and getting better each and every week and each and every game.”

Cousins spoke about moving on from his performance against the Giants: “I always feel like it helps once I’ve watched the film both with the coaches and on my own. That helps you bring some closure to it, once you’ve been table to watch the film and evaluate it.

That being said, I had games back in college that didn’t end the way I wanted to but I felt like fell on me. And even though we had a great career and went on to do good things after that, those games still don’t sit well with you.

They’re still a part of who you are. They toughen you up and harden you a little bit. I think this game does the same thing, although once you watch the film, that’s when you start to move on.”

Washington Redskins Game 4 Review: Turnovers kill in blowout loss to Giants

The Washington Redskins were dominated in every phase of play on national television Thursday night, convincingly falling to the division-rival New York Giants 45-14.

Kirk Cousins, who looked so good last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, looked that bad against New York, completing 19 of 33 for 257 yards, a staggering four interceptions — including three in a span of five attempts — and a fumble. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Week 4 Preview: New York Giants

It hasn’t been an easy start to the 2014 Washington Redskins season, although there’s more hope than usually accompanies their current 1-2 record.  Despite debilitating injuries so far, the Redskins offense has managed to impress over the past two weeks while the defense has displayed improvement at times.  The have a short week ahead, however, as the New York Giants will travel to FedEx Field and challenge the Redskins with their second divisional game in four days. Luckily, the Redskins seem to be catching the Giants during a slow start to their season.

The Giants, like Washington, are 1-2 and are in the midst of what could be a transformational year for their franchise.  The Giants no longer boast the dominant defense they were known for just a few short years ago.  Quarterback Eli Manning is coming off a statistically career-worst 2013 campaign and doesn’t look to be changing that trend, thus placing his future with the team in serious question.  Finally, head coach Tom Coughlin, who has two years left on his contract, is thought to be on his shortest leash ever.

There are a few bright spots so far this season for New York.  Last week, the Giants scored a solid 30 points against a strong Houston defense in rout to a win.  Running back Rashad Jennings, now in his sixth NFL season, has been impressive early, amassing 286 yards and averaging 4.2 yards per carry. However, there remains many more questions rather than answers concerning how the Giants will perform in a division where teams may be a lot closer than most predicted during the preseason.

The Washington Redskins are looking to answer some of the numerous questions they are facing on Thursday night.  Is the defense worthy of a top five ranking?  Is Kirk Cousins for real?  What is wrong with the special teams unit?  The matchup against New York may not give us definitive answers, but this is a team that the Redskins, based on the last two weeks, should be able to beat.

Ironically enough, our keys to the game this week vs. New York center around these very questions the Redskins will look to solve.

Keys to the game

Defense: Next man up

The Redskins defense has been decimated by injury in just three short weeks.  When they lineup against the Giants Thursday night, they will already be starting rookie and sophomore corners due to DeAngelo Hall landing on season ending injured reserve.  To add even more insult to injury, many defensive starters and solid depth contributors were limited in practice this week.  The secondary seems exposed, the front seven is banged up, and the unit looked fairly unimpressive at times during the Philadelphia game.

There is hope for this week, however.  The Eagles are a top ten, if not top five offense in the league this year and the defense was still able to hold them just enough to give the Redskins offense a chance to win the game.  This week, they face a much less talented, albeit still dangerous, offensive unit comprised of INT-happy Eli Manning, elusive Victor Cruz, and bruiser Rashad Jennings.  The key to beating this offense is simple, as it is most weeks: force Manning into mistakes.

Over the span of his career, Eli has held his own in the pocket, escaping impossible pass rush situations to find an open receiver downfield.  This cannot happen tonight.  Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, and the two outside linebackers must get to Manning early and often.  The secondary is in transition and may have a tough time maintaining solid coverage on his receivers throughout the game.  An effective pass rush is the main ingredient to success.

Kirk Cousins: Glory awaits

Despite earlier comments, and even after reaffirming those comments, this is Kirk Cousins’ team until further notice.  The last two games have been nothing short of outstanding for the third year quarterback, but now he must take his game to a new level.  As Robert Griffin III did so many times in his electrifying rookie campaign, the next step for Cousins is to put the team on his back and win the game.  The win was there for the taking late in the fourth quarter last week and Cousins couldn’t capitalize.  It seems as though he starts games strong and steadily declines as time ticks down.  He needs to find a way to re-focus, re-energize, and re-capitalize on just how important he is to the success of this team.

Kirk Cousins will post another outstanding performance against the Giants.  He is a perfect fit for what Jay Gruden wants to install in his weekly offensive game plan.  The key will be ensuring that Kirk’s plethora of talented targets are on the same page.  That, along with a healthy dose of Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr., should be enough to get the Redskins in position to win the game.

We want Danny Smith

Ok, so maybe Redskins fans shouldn’t jump ship on special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica just yet.  We are three weeks into the season after all.  But, and this is putting it lightly, the special teams performance through the intial games of the season have been an unmitigated disaster.  Blocked field goals, missed field goals, returns for touchdowns.  We’ve seen almost every special teams blunder possible and it has been three weeks.  What is wrong with this unit?

The burgundy and gold faithful should take a deep breath and exhale here.  Kotwica has already made a change that is drastically improving the unit already, and that’s putting lefty punter Tress Way on kickoff duties.  Way, in his short time, has proven that he can put the ball in the endzone on kickoffs more consistently than place kicker Kai Forbath.  This is only a start, of course, but you have to begin somewhere and preventing a return altogether is certainly an improvement.

Redskins fans are eager for signs of life from Special Teams tonight.

OUR PREDICTIONS

Dave Nichols

Kirk Cousins follows up his mostly stellar performance against the Eagles with another good outing at home against the Giants. Alfred Morris plays a bigger role as well. The defense will still look bad but the Giants make too many mistakes on offense. Redskins 24 Giants 21

Joe Ziegengeist

Kirk Cousins shines, special teams gets back on track, but the banged up defense falters.  Skins win a close one here.  Redskins 31 Giants 27

Neil Dalal

Kirk Cousins has shown potential to execute Jay Gruden’s offense and hopefully with another week of practice he will have more chemistry with his receivers. Although we are struggling with many injuries hopefully since the Giants have to travel here on a short week hopefully they will have a slight advantage. Hopefully the front seven can continue to stop the run against a hot Rashad Jennings and the depleted secondary can find a way to shut down Victor Cruz, a historic Redskins killer. Unfortunately I do not think our defense is up to the task without Deangelo Hall, but Cousins will give the team an opportunity to win late.  Redskins 30 Giants 27

Joe Miller

The offense under Kirk Cousins isn’t quite as explosive this week as it was against the Eagles, but Alfred Morris has a bigger impact. The defense continues to shut down the run well and are able to take advantage of turnover-prone Eli Manning with a couple interceptions.  Redskins 24 Giants 16

Justin Byram

The Redskins come out Hungry for their first divisional win since 2012, and dominate the Giants. The Redskins front seven puts pressure on Manning forcing two costly turnovers, while Cousins and the offense do their job and the Redskins cruise to a victory at home.  Redskins 28 Giants 17

Eric Hobeck

A fourth-quarter touchdown drive by Cousins gives Washington a big win ahead of the long week before the Seattle game.  Redskins 28 Giants 24

 

 

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden discusses Thursday matchup with Giants

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden discussed his preparations for playing Thursday night against the New York Giants, “Playing Thursday night, I made that statement [Monday], it’s rough on everybody but the good news for the players is [that]  they get Monday off, they get Tuesday, we walk through Wednesday, they walk through and they play Thursday so their body should be somewhat regrouped by then, you know what I mean?”

Gruden talked about having the spotlight on Thursday night, “Yeah, that’s exciting. It’s a home game and we make a big deal about our home games and it’s a division game, and we’re both 1-2 so it’s a huge game for both of us.

I know Coach [Tom] Coughlin is going to have his team ready. We’re going to have our team ready, but this a very important game.

You fall too far behind the 8-ball this early in the season, it’s going to be tough sledding and we’re already behind the 8-ball at 1-2. The team that goes to 1-3 is not out of it by any stretch but it’s going to be a lot harder than if you’re 2-2.

So we know the importance of this game – all division games are important, they’re all rivalries – and we’ve got to get after it.”

Gruden spoke about his first short week as an NFL head coach: “It’s hectic, you know? We prepped for the Giants in the offseason because we knew this was coming and the defense did their work – obliviously worked on Green Bay’s offense and we did our work based on what the Giants did last year and Coach [Perry] Fewell and Coach Coughlin.

So, we have got a little bit of history with them obviously, so that’s good. At least it’s not a brand new opponent with a brand new scheme we haven’t seen – at least we’ve seen these guys. They’ve seen them twice – Sean McVay has been here, Chris Foerster – so we’ve got a pretty good general idea about their system.

Now it’s a matter of getting plays installed Monday morning and getting players out there and practicing them… That’s the same thing. We’re going through the same process, we just have got to do it a lot faster. You have got to watch film a little bit faster, you have got to go through the plays a little bit faster, you have got to write down the plays faster.”

On quarterback Kirk Cousins’s preparation during a short week, Gruden said, “A short week is more mental preparation than anything and it would be nice to go outside and throw the passes you’re going to throw in the game or work on the patterns and the pass concepts you’re going to see against the defenses you’re thinking you’re going to see, but we’re in the bubble right now and going through walkthrough so it’s a little bit different tempo I’d say than come Thursday night.

But he’s doing a good job and that’s all we can do – just watch the tape, study the game plan and get yourself mentally prepared and come [Thursday] night hopefully it all clicks for you but he’s done a nice job.”

Cousins discussed the differences in preparation in a short week: “I have always said, I can’t run by them, I can’t throw it through them, so I have got to know where they are going to be and the only way I can do that is through good preparation. You know, it’s worked for me to this point and I need to keep doing it and I can’t get complacent as I get more and more familiar.

But, in a short week, that is the challenge, especially at the quarterback position. There is a lot we have to do in only a few days and you want to make sure you get your rest and you’re well-rested come Thursday night.

It’s all about time management going back to when I was a college student – they would tell you about being a good manager of your time. You still feel that way now in the pros. You’ve got to manage your time well and make sure that every second you’re in there watching film or drawing plays or talking with coaches you’re not wasting time but you are making good use of it leading up to Thursday night.”

Cousins mentioned being featured on Thursday night football: “It is a great opportunity to be in the national spotlight and try to show this entire league what the Washington Redskins are about. So hopefully we can put on a good show and get a win.

As far as my opinion on a Thursday night game, this is the first time I have actually had to play then turn around and make that short week happen, so I’m new at this.

But when you didn’t take any real big hits on Sunday, selfishly, physically I don’t feel terrible. I am not the right guy to ask because I am not in a position that is getting banged every snap. But it is tough on your body and something you don’t want have to do week in and week out.

The benefit, the flip side of it if you want to look at the positives is that when the game is over Thursday night we do get a couple extra days to catch up and rest and recover leading into out next game, so there is a tradeoff there.”

As for the Giants, head coach Tom Coughlin talked about how he has prepared for short weeks for years, “You obviously move on and we have a formula that we use and we followed for quite a few years, but you’re talk about – when you say the short week – you’re talking about moving from the emotion of the game you just played right into your preparation, and of course, you have got to be a pro about that because it is mental and you can’t leave a stone unturned.

I mean, you’re talking about a divisional game. So, you know, we have a tendency here to adjust, midstream adjust to whatever we’re confronted with, so here we go.”

Coughlin was asked about the fairness of having the players play on Thursday coming off a Sunday game: “I read what you read and I know the speculation and I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. It’s not easy and perhaps they are guys that could have made the game, if it was Sunday could make it, maybe.

That might be the case, but nevertheless to speculate or discuss for us is really a waste of time because the game is going to be played Thursday night.”

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is looking forward to playing on Thursday night: “I’m excited for it, man. It’s not often we get this Thursday opportunity, but I’m as excited as you guys are, that’s for sure.”

Kirk Cousins

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins discussed his performance last game against the Eagles: “I thought we did a lot of good things. I liked that we put up a lot of points, put up a lot of yards, made a lot of plays, didn’t take any sacks.

At the same time, you don’t like the turnover, you don’t like how we finished in crunch time, how I finished in crunch time.

But, we’ll learn from it and get better. The key is when you go through those experiences is to try to make sure when you get in situations in the future like that, you don’t let them happen again.”

Cousins was asked if the Eagles defense made him uncomfortable: “No, I don’t think so. I think any time you move the ball as much as we did and make as many big plays as we did, I don’t think they made us too uncomfortable.

But, certainly there were a couple plays here and there where if you could have them back, you wish you could do them over again.”

Cousins spoke about what he learned from the late game, pressure situation he faced against the Eagles: “I think more than anything it just takes good preparation, good attention to detail and just having a good understanding of where guys are going to be and where you need to be and the timing of plays.

Like I said, I haven’t gone through that experience now. Now I’ve been there before and get a better understanding of plays, coverages, protections, fronts, pocket movements – all the stuff that makes up a great quarterback.”

Cousins would like to have any of his three incompletions on the Redskins’ final drive back: “I think all three just because all three of them probably could have put us in field goal range and probably would have been able to move the chains. All three in different ways frustrate you and make you say, ‘Ah, I missed it.’

The key now going forward is to learn from it, prepare very hard, hammer the details so that when you get into those situations again, you get the result you want.”

Cousins thinks his experience facing the Giants late last season will help him Thursday night. “I think it gives us confidence, gives me good experience that is very valuable. I keep going back to the experience I gained this past week and how it’ll help me going forward, having played the last three games last year is a very similar theme. The experience is going to help.

Is it going to make all the difference? I don’t know. It definitely will give me confidence, and hopefully it can help us get a win.”

Cousins discussed his comfort level with Gruden’s offense: “Yeah, I think part of a comfort zone or what makes you at ease is if you’ve done it before. You’ve been there. It’s familiar. The fact that there was a lot of carryover in our run game and in our pass game from the last system to this system right off the bat gives us a familiarity and a comfort level with what Jay [Gruden] wants.

Now, as I said through training camp, the changes that Jay has made have I think been for the better. They’ve been good changes. So while I may have to do something a little differently or make an adjustment, you can see why it’s a good adjustment – it’s going to make us better.

So, I’m still picking up every week learning what he wants, and that’ll continue as long as I play for him. But, the longer we work together, the better we’re going to get, and the more we’re going to find ourselves on the same page.”

Cousins was asked about the adjustments Gruden has made in his offense: “I think when you look at protections, I think he has some good ideas with protections and being able to pick up different pressures.

And [you] always give yourself a chance then to get the first down or get the big play.”

Cousins was asked to differentiate whether there were more or less options on third-and-short than previous offenses he played under: “I’d say that it’s only been three weeks, so it’s not a lot of body of work to be able to say if we are more variable on third down and short than we were in the past.

I think that Jay is an outstanding play-caller and he does a really good job of keeping defenses on their toes and always giving me as a quarterback and us as an offense a chance to be successful.

Hopefully that is going to show itself in having a lot of variety on third-and-short, but at the same time a lot of the teams who are very vanilla on third down, hey, if you can just line up and everyone knows where it is going and still get the first down, those are usually the best teams.

It is when you have to get all creative and wacky on third down that you’re probably saying that you don’t have the personnel to move the chains. So being vanilla isn’t the worst thing as long as you are moving the chains.”

Cousins was asked if he was comfortable enough as a quarterback to express himself as a team leader: “That’s a great question. It is a tough dynamic to fully answer. I think that as a quarterback, if there is any doubt in the other 10 guys in the huddle looking at me that ‘Can this guy get it done for us? Can he move the ball?’ then I have already failed.

So when I say that this is Robert’s team, I do not mean that I can’t step in and have an authority and make sure we move the football. But I won’t change my statement that this is Robert’s team, I still stand by that.

I think that he was drafted high for a reason. He’s had success here, he’s done a lot of good things and he has done nothing to have that be any different.

So this is his team and it’s my job as a backup on this team to hopefully when he comes back, give him a team with a good record and put him in a good spot to have success down the stretch.

By no means does that say that I can’t go in there as a backup and hopefully get the job done.”

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin discussed preparing for Cousins: “Five-hundred yards and 45 points in two games, I mean he certainly is playing well and you have to give the coaching staff great credit for the midfield adjust, midstream adjust that they’ve had to go through as you go from one quarterback to the next. But obviously, they’re playing well.”

Asked which Redskins quarterback was more difficult to plan for between Cousins and Robert Griffin III, Coughlin said, “Both of them are outstanding players and difficult to prepare for.”

Giants offense

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talked about Thursday night’s matchup against the New York Giants: “Anytime you play against Eli [Manning], you’re going to have yourself a battle. Victor Cruz, they got a very good offense there.

They’re introducing a new offensive scheme and usually that takes a little bit of time and you can see that they’re progressing at a pretty good clip right now. They started out a little bit slow in the preseason and now they’re starting to get familiar with the terminology, the hand signals and all that and they’re starting to gain confidence and momentum, which isn’t a good sign for the other teams.

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz discussed their transition at offensive coordinator from Kevin Gilbride to Ben McAdoo: “I feel good about it.  As anything, when you’re learning something new, it’s a work in progress. It’s about getting your bearings, getting comfortable as you go through the offense and things like that.

I think we’re hitting the point where we’re right on point, right on target with what we want to accomplish. We’ve just got to continue to put one foot in front of the other and get these victories under our belt to continue in the right direction.

But, I think we’re comfortable and obviously that win against Houston, hopefully it propels us in the right direction.”

Cruz talked about quarterback Eli Manning’s adjustment to McAdoo’s system: “I think the more and more practice time he gets, the more and more he sees the defenses and sees it on film and gets the live action, I think he’s getting more and more comfortable with this offense and feeling really good about what he can do.

Obviously it’s been a work in progress the first couple of weeks, but I think he’s getting his bearings and he’s getting confident now.”

Cruz spoke about how the Redskins’ loss of cornerback DeAngelo Hall would affect the Giants game plan: “I think it’s going to change a lot. I think he was such a stable guy that they revolved that style of defense around him being a ball-hawk and being so intuitive to where the quarterback is going to throw the football that he can really dictate the flow of the game.

I think losing him is a big blow. I hope he gets back as soon as possible with a speedy recovery. But that’s definitely a big blow for them.

We’ll see what changes but we’re going to prepare as if the guy that is coming in is going to play exactly like he does.”

Cruz talked about the potential matchup against Hall’s less-experienced replacement: “Obviously, that’s something that we look at and understand, but we need to stick to our keys and stick to our fundamentals and understand that guy — he’s got some talent as well. He wouldn’t be in the NFL if he didn’t have a little bit of talent.

But we have to understand that we need discipline and understand what we’re doing in order to compete and hopefully make some plays on him.”

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin discussed their newly found downhill running game with Rashad Jennings: “Well, it’s exciting. It was really exciting to see this come back to Giant football last weekend in terms of how the offensive line performed and how our tight ends and our fullbacks, etc., all contributed.

But, there were some outstanding effort runs by Rashad [Jennings] and that was something to see.”

On Jennings’s best attributes as a running back, Coughlin said, “To me, what I saw was a professional, a real professional who takes very good care of himself, the game is extremely important to him, very high priority, does all the things that he needs to do, takes care of his body very well, gets his rest, performs his training, his weight room training, etc. He catches the ball, he can pass protect, he obviously has had a very good game running the ball. So, this is what we thought we saw and we’re glad he is on our team.”

Cruz spoke about how Jennings’s running opens up the passing game, “It definitely loosens up a lot.  When he’s running the ball that way, you have no choice but to align an extra defender in the box to try to help out with the run. And that’s when play-action pass and things like that open up.

It definitely just helps the whole team, and I love blocking for a guy like Rashad, who runs hard, who runs physical. That’s something I don’t have a problem with and it’s something that definitely opens things up for other receivers.”

Washington Redskins Game 16 Review: Skins lose to Giants in finale in soggy mess

The Washington Redskins and New York Giants were eliminated from postseason contention weeks ago. They played like in on Sunday in a sloppy, soggy, turnover-filled contest that the Giants eventually took control over and won, 20-6.

The biggest drama of the day was when — not if — owner Daniel Snyder would fire head coach Mike Shanahan, with one year and $7 million remaining on his original 5-year deal, and the rest of his coaching staff. Media reports following the game indicated Snyder and Shanahan were to meet Monday morning at 9:00 am.

The Redskins finished the season 3-13, the third time in Shanahan’s four seasons the team has finished with double-digit losses.

The teams combined for six turnovers lost, with the Redskins fumbling twice and Kirk Cousin picked off twice, including the last offensive play of the day.

Cousins’ work was spotty in the heavy rain most of the day. He finished just 19-of-49 for 169 yards and threw behind receivers all day long. Alfred Morris carried 16 times for 62 yards and Pierre Garcon hauled in six catches for 56 yards, becoming the third player all-time to catch at least five balls in each of his 16 games in a season.

Indicative of how poor the play was, the teams combined to convert just 8 of 34 opportunities on third down.

The Skins scored first, taking advantage of a Giants’ turnover. Brandon Meriweather forced an Andre Brown fumble at the Giants’ 20. Three plays gained just five yards, so the Skins settled for a 31-yard Kai Forbath field goal.

On the ensuing possession, Eli Manning hit Jerrel Jernigan for 30 yards, then again for 24 yards for a touchdown, giving New York a lead that would never really be challenged. Jernigan finished with six catches for 90 yards.

After another Redskins three-and-out and a short punt by Sav Rocca, the Giants struck again, as Manning hooked up with Hakeem Nicks on a 35-yard completion to give them the ball at the Skins’ 11-yard line. The drive stalled, and Josh Brown was good from 34 yards out to up the Giants’ lead to 10-3.

Washington went three-and-out again, but on the Giants’ next series, Manning was picked off by Josh Wilson at the Redskins 46. A 14-yard reception by Garcon and 9-yard catch by Santana Moss set up Forbath for a 49-yard field goal just before the half.

On the last play of the third quarter, Jernigan took and end-around 49 yards untouched for a touchdown and Brown added a 38-yard field goal on the Giants’ next possession to close out the scoring — and the Redskins season.

Washington Redskins Game 12 Review: Skins eliminated from postseason with 24-17 loss to Giants

The Washington Redskins took a 14-point lead over division rival New York Giants, but allowed that lead to evaporate while frittering away opportunities all evening, eventually falling to the Giants 24-17 as Pierre Garcon was stripped after making a catch on fourth down with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

The Redskins fall to 3-9 on the season and were officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Giants, at 5-7, remain mathematically eligible for now.

Robert Griffin III completed his first 12 passes on the Skins first two drives of the game as they built a 14-0 lead, and finished 24 of 32 for 207 yards and a touchdown. But after those first two drives, Griffin was harassed all game and Justin Tuck abused right tackle Tyler Polumbus for four sacks on the day.

The Skins took the opening drive right down the field, going 71 yards in 14 plays, culminating with Alfred Morris’ 1-yard touchdown plunge. It was a systematic attack, with the longest play a 16-yard strike to Pierre Garcon for 16 yards.

New Yorkwent on a pair of three-and-outs and Washington took over on their own 41 late in the first quarter. Another picture-perfect drive went 54 yards in eight plays, as Griffin found Logan Paulsen wide open in the seam for a 19-yard touchdown. Griffin had completed 12 straight passes on the Skins first two possessions.

The Giants bowed their backs on their next drive. After a couple of Eli Manning (22 of 28, 235 yards, 1 TD) completions, Peyton Hillis gashed the Skins defense for runs of eight and 27-yards on consecutive carries, bowling over linebacker London Fletcher and safety Brandon Meriweather on the second carry. Andre Brown then carried for seven yards to set up his 23-yard touchdown run.

The Skins then couldn’t pick up a first down on two possessions, and the Giants took over on their own 19 after a 53-yard Sav Rocca punt. Manning led the G-Men on a 9-play, 81-yard drive, going 6-for-6 on the drive, including a 22-yard scoring pass to tight end Brandon Myers, his third catch of the game at that point.

The first half ended with the Skins bypassing a 57-yard field goal attempt, but a 3-man Giants rush disrupted Griffin and he ran around left end for 20 yards instead of heaving one into the end zone.

Neither team could do much with their first drives of the second half. On the Giants second possession, Manning tried to force a ball to his tight end, which was tipped right to Meriweather, who returned it to the Giants 19-yard line. But the Skins stalled, and settled for a 33-yard Kai Forbath field goal, to put the Skins up 17-14.

On the next series, Washington was forced to punt from their own 38. Long-snapper Kyle Nelson, who replaced Nick Sundberg when he went on the I.R. with a knee injury, flubbed the snap, forcing Rocca to quick-kick. The punt traveled just 18 yards, and a holding call on Nelson exacerbated the matter, giving the Giants the ball at the Skins 46.

It took the Giants just four plays to put the ball in the end zone, as Andre Brown’s 1-yard plunge gave the Giants a 21-17 lead. The play was reviewed, as it appeared Brown’s knee might have touched down before the ball crossed the line, but replays proved inconclusive.

Two more fruitless Redskins possessions later, the Giants went 40 yards on eight plays to set up Josh Brown’s 39-yard field goal to make it a 7-point game with 2:32 remaining.

The Skins last drive was filled with dropped passes, and on their final play, a reception that would have kept the drive alive on fourth down, Pierre Garcon was stripped by defensive back Will Hill to ice the game for the Giants. That play came immediately after the referees screwed up the downs, originally giving the Redskins a first down, then revoking it and forcing them into fourth down.

Regardless, the Skins would have had a first down if Garcon held onto the ball.

Washington Redskins Game 12 Review: Redskins Eye First Place after 17-16 Win Over Giants

Robert Griffin III completed 13 of 21 passes for 163 yards and broke Cam Newton’s rushing record for rookie quarterbacks in the Washington Redskins’ (6-6) 17-16 win over the New York Giants (7-5) at FedEx Field Sunday night. Ironically enough, however, the Redskins’ standout play of the evening began with a fumble by none other than Griffin himself.

Trailing 3-0 with just over four minutes left in the first quarter, Griffin scrambled down the left side as the ball popped out of his hands, but Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan caught it just in time to take it 13 yards for a touchdown. The fumble return marked Morgan’s first touchdown as a Redskin.

Just four weeks ago, Mike Shanahan stated that the Redskins were playing to see who would be on the team for years to come – as if to declare the season a bust. Now, after beating the New York Giants, the Redskins are staring up at first place in the NFC East from just a game back with a 3-1 record against their division.

More importantly, they looked like a team hungry for the playoffs.

Griffin relied heavily on Pierre Garcon who, despite missing six of the first nine games of the season with a toe injury, played with resilience and helped keep the Redskins within a drive of regaining the lead. By day’s end, Garcon managed a touchdown over eight receptions for 106 yards.

With just under 10 minutes left in the half, Eli Manning led the Giants downfield with the aid of a 30-yard toss to Victor Cruz who tallied 104 yards over five receptions. The 85-yard drive over 13 plays and nearly seven and a half minutes allowed the Giants to take a 10-7 lead, but it wasn’t long before Kai Forbath allowed the Redskins to tie with a 33-yard field goal.

Unfortunately for the Redskins, the play happened in too little time and allowed the Giants to strike again with a fiel goal of their own in just over 40 seconds to send the rivals to their respective locker rooms tied 10-10 at the half.

The Redskins’ defense showed signs of life in the third quarter, holding the Giants to just 31 yards on their first drive. On the Redskins’ next possession, Griffin nearly scrambled to the end zone, but the Giants’ Stevie Brown took advantage of Griffin’s untucked jersey and pulled him down in the red zone.

On the next play, Chase Blackburn forced Alfred Morris to fumble and the Giants recovered the ball as confusion broke out on the field. Giants’ defensive tackle Linval Joseph dove for Will Montgomery’s leg. Montgomery responded by kicking Joseph and Joseph threatened to stomp at Montgomery and the madness resulted in offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties.

On the next drive, Lawrence Tynes and the G-men struck again, this time with a 35-yard field goal to give New York a 16-10 lead.

But, Morris pulled through at the end of the quarter in time to bring the Redskins to the Giants’ 41-yard line to start the fourth. On second and 7 from the Giants’ 22, Griffin tossed to Leonard Hankerson for 14 yards and, in front of a roaring crowd of both Redskins and Giants fans, Griffin found Garcon for an eight-yard touchdown. With Forbath’s extra point, the Redskins took a 17-16 lead.

The Redskins will look to carry the momentum from Sunday’s matchup next week as they take on the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon at FedEx.

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