It is difficult to fault the Giants' offense for the loss. Eli Manning and Co. owned the time of possession battle in the first half, but their inability to sustain drives in the second (13 minutes) hurt them in the end.
The Giants converted eight third-downs in the first half. They finished the game 9-15. Where was the consistency? Why weren't adjustments made?
On the night, the Giants produced 390 total yards of offense, 273 via the air and 117 on the ground. However, they settled for one touchdown and four field-goal attempts.
The Giants, as a team, totaled nine penalties. Offensively, it didn't help that 99 percent of their drives began inside their own 20-yard line. But to add a plethora of holding penalties into the mix sure didn't help them.
The killer part for New York was that after enjoying so much success early on, when the game was on the line the Giants' offense could not even covert a first-down. It completely stalled.
Quarters 1-2: FG, missed FG, TD, FG ... Quarters 3-4: Punt, FG, Punt, Punt. Few opportunities and little success. The unfortunate part was timing more than anything -- as the Giants struggled, RGIII began to find his groove.
Because of the penalty against Madieu Williams, the Giants begin this drive, with 5 minutes remaining, on their own 43-yard line. Good starting field position -- yeah, that's a first.
After two failed attempts to pick on Hall, Manning completed a pass to Bennett on third-down, but it's wiped away by a Will Beatty hold. Killer penalty for the Giants attempting to salvage this game.
Now, 3rd-and-20, a screen to Bradshaw goes for about three yards, and after not punting at all in the first half, Steve Weatherford is punting a third time this half.
Despite dominating the time of possession battle all night long, the Giants' first possession of the fourth quarter comes at a time when the team now trails, 17-16, with 11 minutes left in the contest.
After two consecutive run plays, it's Ryan Kerrigan who sacks Manning, and it's an obvious momentum shift in the nation's capital as the Giants punt for the second time tonight.
The turnover gives New York possession on their own 9 ... again.
And HELLO, after mixing in the run with the pass all night long, Manning finds Cruz down the sidelines for 49 yards. Cruz beat cornerback DeAngelo Hall on the play.
And I ask, are you shocked? Sure, that was a jab at Hall, but also it's one of the few times New York took advantage of what is the NFL's 31st-ranked pass defense.
Just over three minutes to go in the quarter ...
On 3rd-and-10, it's Cruz, this time dropping a short pass over the middle. Again, it's Tynes out for a 35-yard field-goal attempt.
Giants add another field goal, 16-10.
In what can only be interpreted to be a poetic spirit, a penalty positions New York on their own 9 to begin the second half.
The Giants continue with their blend of equal parts run and pass (4 pass, 4 run), looking to continue their trend of dominating the time of possession battle. The Giants, by the way, held the ball for 20 minutes in the first half.
On third-and-5, however, a pass to Nicks is short of the first-down due to a sure-handed tackle by Griffin. For the first time this evening, the Giants are forced to punt away.
With halftime a mere 35 ticks away, and the Giants starting from their own 24-yard line, it's Bradshaw up the middle. Yeah, unexpected to throw a run play in the mix in this situation. Two timeouts left.
Manning finds Reuben Randle, who makes it midfield. Timeout. One to go.
:22: Incomplete to Bennett.
Manning chalks up it up downfield, but it's out of the reach of Nicks.
:12 to go, third-down: Holy moly. Manning finds Bennett -- notice the theme -- 22 yards on a seam route in double coverage, setting up a 40-yard field-goal attempt.
This time, Tynes is true. Giants add a field goal before the half, take a 13-10 lead and will get the ball to begin the second half.
Poor field position must be contagious. So are penalties. This drive begins at their own 15-yard line.
Play count: 7 runs, 8 passes.
Early on, the drive is kept alive by a heroic effort from Manning. The Skins, stunting from the right side of the defensive line, chases Manning toward the left side of the field. Manning finds Nicks, who is positioned just ahead of the chains, for a first down.
Now, it's an exchange of yellow flags. On third-and-5, Nicks is called for a false start. On third-and-10, Manning finds Cruz for a long gain over the middle.
Did I mention penalties? This time, it's the 'Skins. Cornerback Cedric Griffin is flagged for pass interference as he and two other defensive backs make contact with Nicks on second-and-16.
After Sean Locklear's hold -- the Giants' sixth penalty of the half, which ties a season high for the first half -- Manning finds Martellus Bennett for a 22-yard strike.
Three consecutive Ahmad Bradshawn runs gives the Giants a first-and-goal, in which Manning again finds Bennett for the score. Giants regain the lead, 10-3, on what was a looong, successful drive.
You could make the argument the Giants' offense, which is eating up clock time on every drive, is the team's best defense against RGIII.
Trailing by four, the Giants open drive No. 2 from the 24 with a deeeeeep attempt to Hakeem Nicks down the sideline, but it falls incomplete.
Though Eli Manning took two deep shots, it was another balanced drive, including seven pass plays and five on the ground. After hiking down the field, however, the G-Men stalled in the red zone.
The intentional grounding called against Manning was gut-wrenching, forcing the Giants into a second- and third-and-long situations.
Another field goal attempt, though this time Tynes isn't as accurate. Giants trail, 7-3.
The Giants' offense takes the field for the first time at the 12:54 mark in the opening frame at their own 10-yard line.
It's a balanced formula used to attack the Redskins, with five pass plays and five run plays. Both Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson got carries, while newly signed Kregg Lumpkin subbed in on third-down.
The Giants moved down the field, eating up about 6.5 minutes off the clock, before settling for a Lawrence Tynes field-goal attempt. Tynes, the NFL's leading scorer, knocked a 43-yarder right through the uprights. Giants 3, Redskins 0.
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