September 15, 2019

Washington Redskins: With hope of relevance in weakened division, Skins fall flat against Giants

Going into this season, there was probably less hope for the Washington Redskins than ever before in recent history. Robert Griffin III did not look the greatest, suffered a concussion, and was subsequently benched. Two weeks into the season, the Eagles and Giants were both 0-2 and the Cowboys were without their three best offensive players from last season (Romo, Bryant, and Murray). The Redskins had a chance to build momentum after an impressive 24-10 win over the St. Louis Rams, but instead came out slow and never recovered on their way to a 32-21 loss to the New York Giants.

After getting off to solid starts the first two weeks of the season with 10-0 leads, the Redskins decided to flip the script early. On the first drive of the game, Jordan Reed was penalized for pass interference, which Jay Gruden did not agree with, that not only negated a big play but stalled the drive into a punt attempt. I say attempt because the Redskins poor special teams reared its ugly head again as practice squad addition Terrance Plummer got blown up by running back Rashad Jennings leading to a block and safety.

On the very next offensive series, Kirk Cousins made an inconceivable decision of targeting Jamison Crowder on a route that broke right into the primary defender. The ball arrived right to Prince Amukamara who did not even have to move and the Giants converted the interception into a touchdown on a short field. Less than nine minutes into the game, the Redskins were down 9-0.

After a rare three-and-out for the Redskins offense, the Giants took it right down the field again before having to settle for a field goal after a strong third-down rush from Ryan Kerrigan. With Washington down 12-0, rookie running back Matt Jones decided to will his team into points with 31 yards on the next drive. Unfortunately, Cousins severely under threw Reed, who was streaking open towards the end zone, and Washington settled for a Dustin Hopkins field goal to get on the board.

The trading of field goals continued as the Giants drive stalled after a big completion to Daniel Fells. The Redskins came back with conversion on two critical third downs after again hurting themselves with penalties. On a third-and-eight play, the Giants brought the pressure and Cousins did not have the arm strength to get it to Reed, who was open in the end zone again. After the Giants were moving the ball just before the half looking for points, it was New York’s turn to derail their drive with an offensive pass interference penalty. At the end of an extremely sloppy half for the Redskins, they were lucky to be down just 15-6.

To start the second half, it was the Giants turn to have key conversions on third and fourth down that eventually led to another Josh Brown field goal. With the Redskins driving down just 12, Cousins got greedy with the football. After rolling out of the pocket, instead of throwing the ball away or picking up yards with his legs, Cousins forced the ball into coverage, which was intercepted after the ball popped up in the air. The defense lost their aggressive edge they had earlier in the season and let the Giants walk all over them, giving up four plays of double-digit yards, which ended in an Odell Beckham Jr. touchdown.

The Redskins had little hope down 25-6, and after driving down the field against a prevent defense, things got worse. After picking up the needed yardage on a fourth-and-one play from the Giants 7, Matt Jones turned up field looking for the end zone. Around the Giants 3-yard line, Jones inexcusably lost control of the ball on his own, resulting in a touchback for New York. On the next trip for Cousins, the Redskins got the ball in the end zone against a prevent New York defense.

Washington had a huge chance to recover an onside kick after it bounced off of a Rueben Randle’s foot and popped up into the air. But of course the ball did not bounce the way of the burgundy and gold and three plays later Randle had the bounce go his way as he caught a deep ball off of a deflection for a touchdown putting New York up 32-14. The lone excitement for the Redskins came on the ensuing kickoff, when Rashad Ross took it 101 yards to the house. Hopkins did his best on another onside kick attempt but the coverage was unable to scoop up the ball that went through Randle’s hands before it went out of bounds.

In the end the Redskins fell 32-21 and have no one but themselves to blame. Three turnovers and killer penalties to stall promising drives coupled with under thrown balls from Kirk Cousins and blocked punts doomed Washington. The season may already be lost but hopefully they at least stay competitive throughout the season.

For a quick injury update, Shaun Lauvo (ankle sprain) is day to day and DeAngelo Hall (right toe) will have a MRI. Gruden was not very optimistic because of the “way he walked off the field” and alluded that it could be as bad as Logan Paulsen‘s season ending toe injury. Josh LeRibeus‘s calf strain injury forced backup tackle Tom Compton, who was not at 100 percent, to play left guard, while Kedric Golston (hand fracture) and Morgan Moses (elbow strain) were able to return to the game.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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