EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The NFL's new two-strikes-and-you're-out rule has unofficially been named after Odell Beckham Jr. But it was one of his teammates that first felt its brunt.
New York Giants center Weston Richburg became the first player ejected under the NFL's new rule in which a player would be tossed for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. He got one in the second quarter and another in the fourth of the Giants' 29-27 loss to the Washington Redskins.
"I let my teammates down," Richburg said. "I have to be a presence in there and be a leader and I let my team down."
That he did, especially on the second one when he was flagged for apparently taunting Redskins cornerback Josh Norman after blocking him to the ground. And that one was costly since it nullified a play that would've set the Giants up at the Washington 5-yard line. Instead they were stuck at the 20, and two plays later, Eli Manning threw an interception.
Richburg said "the guy that threw [the flag] was after me," but he also knew that it likely was less personal and more about the Beckham-Norman slugfest the Giants experienced last December. In that game, Norman was hit with two personal fouls and Beckham was hit with three (and later a suspension), though neither of them was ejected.
That is what sparked the competition committee to create the new rule.
"I think this matchup last year with two individuals was kind of a problem, so I think they were kind of trying to cut down on that," Richburg said. "But from my perspective I need to settle down and just be that leading presence for my team.
"I made a mistake and let it pull me out of the game."
Richburg apologized to his teammates afterward. "I told them that it's unacceptable for me to do that."
Giants coach Ben McAdoo had little to say about Richburg's ejection.
"We knew it was going to be that type of game," he said.
The Giants made a late decision to scratch RB Rashad Jennings due to his injured left thumb, even though he was able to practice all week and both he and McAdoo seemed certain he'd be able to play. McAdoo, as usual, wouldn't say why Jennings was inactive, but Jennings said, "It's a long season. I didn't want to be in a position to make it worse.
"I'm a player," he added. "I'm always going to want to be on the field. I'm going to hide injuries. But obviously I understand. I get it."
Jennings, who won't say specifically what is wrong with his thumb, said the swelling is down. The issue wasn't his ability to hold the ball with his right hand when rushing; it was his ability to pass protect and catch the ball out of the backfield.
As for whether he'll be able to play next Monday night in Minnesota, he said, "I'm going to do everything I possibly can."
Shane Vereen, Jennings' replacement, lost a fumble for the second consecutive week, and he nearly lost a second. "He's got to quit putting it on the ground," McAdoo said. Vereen did not speak to reporters after the game.
Two potentially costly injuries to watch this week: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game with a groin injury, and CB Eli Apple, the Giants' first-round pick, left with a hamstring injury. … With his first catch of the game, Beckham became the fastest player in NFL history to record 200 career receptions (30 games). … Defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon each had a sack, the first sacks by Giants defensive linemen this season. Vernon appeared to re-injure his wrist on the play and immediately went to the locker room, though he later returned.