Week 8 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 0, New York Giants 36
What you need to know
The Redskins had a terrible outing as they were shut out for only the second time ever under Joe Gibbs. They turned the ball over four times, three times on fumbles and once on an interception. They were manhandled by the Giants on offense. In particular, the Redskinsí receivers appeared afraid of getting hit, dropping a number of passes as they looked for incoming defenders before securing the ball. As the deficit increased and the Redskins were forced to put more receivers in routes, the offensive line was exposed. The Giants rarely blitzed yet consistently put pressure on Brunell. An injury to Chris Cooley didnít help matters, as he appeared to be causing matchup problems before getting hurt. While Cooley did return, he wasnít nearly as effective afterwards and gave up a fumble while shielding himself from a hit to his injured hip.
The Redskins couldnít accomplish anything running the ball, as Ladell Betts and Clinton Portis combined only gained 11 yards on seven carries. Portis was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit, but he was able to return. Their leading rusher, Rock Cartwright, came into the game late in the fourth quarter and gained what yardage he did against backups. Because of the large deficit, the Redskins were forced to abandon the run for all intents and purposes by the middle of the second quarter.
The defense was exposed against runs to the outside for the fifth consecutive week. Since their bye week, the Redskins have been gouged by long runs to the outside by Shaun Alexander, Tatum Bell, Priest Holmes (not on a run but on a screen), Frank Gore (in garbage time) and now by Tiki Barber. Most of these long runs started on the left side of the field, including both of Barberís long runs of 57 and 59 yards. Against the pass the Redskins were solid as usual, but these long runs, especially to the outside, continue to be devastating. Forced to compensate in the second half (and aided by fatigue), the Redskins began giving up room to the inside to Barber and the other giants runners. Over-pursuit is a big problem for the Redskins, as linebackers and safeties have consistently overrun the ball carrier, allowing for big gains after a cutback.
Following the death of longtime owner Wellington Mara, the Giants played inspired football in all regards against the Redskins. The running game in particular drove the Giants to victory. Tiki Barber ran for 206 yards, the second highest total in team history. He broke two long runs in the first half for 57 and 59 yards. Both runs went outside towards the left sideline. Barber was able to use the over pursuit of the Redskins defense to his advantage, using cut-backs to gain yards. Brandon Jacobs scored a touchdown in the first half and Derrick Ward was also able to gain yardage against a Redskinsí defense that was manhandled by the Giantsí offensive line.
Eli Manning had a sub-par game statistically, mainly because the Giantsí success running the ball made throwing it unnecessary. He led the Giants to scores on three of their first four drives, and threw an interception in the end zone that negated a sure field goal on the non-scoring possession. His touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey on the first possession of the second half sealed the victory. While he did feel pressure early and was sacked twice, he was able to move around the pocket well, find areas of protection, and find his receivers downfield. Manning missed two near touchdowns, one to Plaxico Burress and another to Amani Toomer. He led Burress out of bounds on one throw, and on another he overthrew a wide open Toomer in the end zone. Despite the errors he made, Manning was able to keep the defense honest with his passes downfield, and that was all his team needed because of the running game.
The Giantsí defense played their best football of the year in shutting down a Redskinsí offense that entered the game as the second best offense in the league in terms of yardage gained. They were able to force four turnovers, each one leading to points. Mark Brunell was under pressure all day, getting sacked five times. They were aggressive with the Redskinsí receivers and it showed, as Santana Moss and David Patten dropped a number of passes. Once the Redskins were forced to stop using max protect, the Giantsí front four were able to manhandle the Redskinsí offensive line. Osi Umenyiora had a spectacular game, recording two sacks and numerous pressures. Michael Strahan was also a force, as was William Joseph in the middle. Because of their ability to pressure the quarterback without blitzing, the Giants were able to use zone schemes slanted towards Santana Moss, and they were able to defend the shifty wide receiver more effectively than any team previously
What you ought to know
|QB Mark Brunell, Pass: 11 - 28 - 65 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0|
Brunell had a bad outing, his first of the season. The Giantsí defense, thirty-first in the league in yards allowed entering the weekend, appeared to confuse Brunell, who took a number of coverage sacks and was indecisive all day. When Brunell did find a target to throw to his receivers didnít help him out, dropping the pass outright or looking up field before the ball was secured and dropping it as a consequence. The Redskins were not able to gain a first down until their fourth drive, and were not able to advance into Giantsí territory until after Brunell had been replaced by Patrick Ramsey with the game out of hand. Brunell threw a costly interception near the end of the first half with the Redskins driving that gave the giants another scoring opportunity. Once down by multiple scores and forced to use spread formations, Brunell was under pressure constantly and couldnít find time to throw.
Ramsey entered the game late in the third quarter after Brunell was pulled with the game out of hand. He was able to move the ball into Giantsí territory for the first time, but was working mainly against the backup defense. He had a chance to throw a touchdown with first and goal inside the eight yard line, but was unable to do so. With under a minute left, instead of attempting to score to prevent the shutout, Ramsey kneeled to run out the clock to escape with whatever dignity was left.
Portis never got started, with a long run of five yards and three runs of one yard. He was targeted on four passes, of which he caught three, on short dumps to either side. Early in the game Portis, as he lowered his shoulders, banged helmets with Brent Alexander and appeared shaken up. He did return to the game.
Betts spelled Clinton Portis after Portis got injured via a helmet to helmet hit. He wasnít able to find openings, averaging less than one yard per rush. Betts fumbled the ball on his kickoff return to open the second half and the Giants recovered the ball.
Cartwright entered the game late in the fourth quarter with the outcome already decided and ran twice to run out the clock. He was actually the Redskinsí leading rusher on the day, but as his production came against backups, and given the feeble production of the other Redskins runners, that isnít saying much.
Moss came back to earth against the Giants, struggling to hold on to the football in a down day all around for the offense. He dropped two passes, both that would have converted for first downs. He also fumbled the ball on a wide receiver screen and the Giants recovered. He was covered well by the Giantsí secondary, but even when he was open Brunell had trouble getting him the ball because of pressure.
Jacobs came in late with the game decided. He caught the only pass thrown to him from Patrick Ramsey, who had replaced Mark Brunell.
Patten had another bad game. He dropped a number of passes, one in particular that would have extended a drive. He wasnít open and was shut down by Curtis DeLoatch.
Thrash was used as a fill-in H-back after Chris Cooley got injured. He caught the only pass thrown to him, showing the good hands he is known for. With David Patten struggling to hold on to the football, Thrash may have an opportunity to start in the coming weeks.
Cooley had a gutsy performance, playing through obvious injury even after the game was decided. On a short out to the left in the first half, he was hit simultaneously by two defenders. He was twisted up in an unnatural way, and after limping off the field he was carted to the locker room for tests. Later in the game however, still limping, he returned to the game, caught a few passes, and took another huge hit and fumbled the ball. New York would recover, and with the game out of hand Cooley was finally benched. With Cooley out, however, the Redskinsí offense was dramatically out of sync and no replacement was able to do what Cooley is able to do. If Cooley is forced to miss extended time with any sort of injury, it will be bad news for the Redskinsí offense.
Sellers was used in tandem with James Thrash and Robert Royal as Chris Cooleyís replacement after he got injured. He did decently, mainly being used as a pass blocker. Sellers was called for a key penalty on special teams that negated a decent sized return.
Royal was targeted with the first pass of the game and dropped it, setting the stage for the rest of the game. Despite being targeted five times and seeing the field often because of an injury to Chris Cooley, Royal was not able to catch a pass. He displayed terrible hands and a jumpy nature, looking for defenders before securing the ball on a couple of occasions.
The rush defense was gouged time and again by long runs. Tiki Barber was able to break two huge runs to the left in the first half of 57 and 59 yards. Barber ended up with 206 yards rushing on the day in only three quarters of action, leaving the game with victory assured. The front seven was not able to consistently hit the runners in the backfield, and were vulnerable to cutbacks because of over-pursuit. Because of all the running, middle linebacker Lemar Marshall led the front seven with ten tackled and three assists. LaVar Arrington played on clear passing downs (of which there werenít too many) but didnít make an impact, only recording two tackles and two assists and not reaching the quarterback.
The secondary did decently against the pass but because of the overwhelming running success it didnít much matter. Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress were limited to six catches combined, a meager total for one of the top offenses in the league. Shawn Spring suffered an injury in the third quarter when Sean Taylor knocked Jeremy Shockeyís helmet into Springís abdomen while he was airborne. He would return to the game but appeared to be bothered. Ryan Clark led the team with 11 tackles and also had an interception on a Manning pass in the end zone.
Manning didnít have a great game statistically, but because of the overwhelming success of the running game he didnít need to. He was pressured early and made a bad mistake, throwing a pass intended for Plaxico Burress who was triple covered. The pass was intercepted by Ryan Clark, negating a possible Giantsí field goal. Manning wasnít affected though, leading his team to scores on five of their seven first half possessions. After throwing a touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey early in the third quarter the game was all but decided, but Manning kept throwing. His passes kept the defense honest at least, allowing the running game to flourish. Manning wasnít flustered by the pass rush even though it got to him a couple of times, and showed good poise and good decision making.
Hasselbeck came into the game late, replacing Eli Manning with a big lead. He didnít attempt a pass, instead handing the ball off on every snap.
|RB Tiki Barber, Rush: 24 - 206 - 1, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets)|
Barber had a fantastic game from the very beginning. On the first snap of the game, Barber ran a sweep to the left and was able to break it wide open for a 57 yard gain. He later was able to break another run, again a sweep to the left, for a 59 yard gain. He almost scored on this second one, but was tripped up just short of the goal line. Brandon Jacobs vultured a touchdown following that second long run, but Barber was able to score in the second half on a four yard run up the middle towards the end of the third quarter. Following his touchdown, Barber was pulled from the game with the large lead. Barber showed impressive speed, getting to the outside repeatedly where the Redskinsí defense is vulnerable. He also avoided turnovers after losing a fumble last week. Barberís total of 206 yards rushing was the second most in Giants history.
|RB Derrick Ward, Rush: 13 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets)|
Ward spelled Tiki Barber after he was pulled from the game in the fourth quarter with a big lead. He also appeared to be the top backup for Barber between the fives, with Jacobs as the top backup in goal to go situations. On one drive, Ward ran the ball nine times in ten plays. He did reasonably well in his opportunities.
Jacobs scored a touchdown in the first half, spelling Tiki Barber after his long run and unsuccessful goal line try. Jacobs also came into the game late after Barber had been pulled because of the big lead.
Finn was targeted twice but didnít catch a pass. He was used mainly as a blocking fullback.
Burress only caught four passes because the Giants had so much success running the ball that passing it became unnecessary. On the opening drive, Burress nearly tapped his feet in-bounds after catching a pass in the corner of the end zone, but he was ruled out of bounds. Burress was able to find room over the middle quite frequently, and was ably to use his size and leaping ability to out muscle defenders.
Toomer only caught two passes out of seven targets, but given the success of the running game this was to be expected. Matched up against Walt Harris most of the day, Toomer absolutely manhandled Harris on running plays all day, giving Tiki Barber room to run on the outside. Toomer was overthrown in the end zone on a play in which he open behind the defenders.
Carter was used sparingly, as the Giants eschewed spread offenses because of their dominance running the ball. He caught the only pass thrown at him for 19 yards.
Shockey had no catches on only one target in the first half, but he added three catches on 5 additional targets in the second half. One of those catches was for a ten yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. Shockey was the recipient of a vicious hit from Sean Taylor late in the third quarter, and appeared shaken up immediately afterwards, but late in the game appeared fine. He didnít play in the fourth quarter because of the big lead.
Shiancoe was targeted once. He was mainly used as a blocking tight end.
Feeley made five field goals from distances of 39, 50, 33, 39, and 44 yards. He also missed a field goal attempt from 51 yards out, snapping a streak of 14 consecutive field goals made at the time. He made all three extra point attempts.
The Giantsí rush defense was stellar. They were aided by the large lead, though, that forced the Redskins to throw on most downs. They allowed 38 yards rushing, but of these 38 Patrick Ramsey had five and Rock Cartwright had 21, both in garbage time. The Giants limited the Redskinsí two principle runners, Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts, to 11 yards on seven carries. Antonio Pierce, in his first game against his former team, recorded seven tackles and four assists, and also intercepted a Brunell pass.
The Giantsí pass defense did very well against an offense that had gouged the 49ers the previous week. Santana Moss was limited considerably, recording only four catches for 34 yards. David Patten was scared into dropping a number of passes and was irrelevant. The Giants were very aggressive tacklers and forced a number of drops, and were also aided by a pass rush that sacked Mark Brunell five times and hurried him countless others. Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora both had outstanding games, recording three sacks between them and embarrassing the Redskinsí offensive line.