*Three Giants writers give their takeaways of the Giants performance Thursday against the Redskins: *
In this week's Cover 3, our writers break down the New York Giants' 20-10 loss to the Washington Redskins.
The defense did enough to win that game Thursday night, but the offense didn't hold up its part of the bargain. The Giants made too many mistakes, whether it was drops or bad throws. And they couldn't recover. With their many injuries, they just don't have any margin for error on offense. The lack of plays, or even attempts, down the field was just as disappointing.
Until the last drive, the Giants had no plays of 20 yards or more on offense. The past two weeks, they have only nine points unassisted by a defensive takeaway. They have 10 days to try to get that fixed before playing Oakland.
Since I've been with the Giants, one of the things I've admired the most is Eli Manning standing in front of that microphone after every game, whether it's him talking about winning a second Super Bowl or losing on the road to a division opponent on a holiday night for a 2-9 team. The lasting image from Thanksgiving night was when he was asked in the bowels of FedExField if these losses tire him out emotionally. You could feel the weight of his 210 consecutive starts as he gave a very honest response: "It's no fun losing," he said. "It's no fun not scoring. Not enough points offensively. Yeah, it can wear you out. It can test you, but you've got to keep going to the drawing board and find ways to play better and move the ball and score some points."
Look, this is an offense that in the not-too-distant past aspired to average 28 points a game – and it didn't seem farfetched. The injuries to the receivers and on the offensive line have been major factors this year, but they only exacerbated the problems of a team that started 0-4 when the roster was mostly healthy.
A few days after 12 points were just enough to get past the Chiefs in overtime, that wasn't the case Thursday night against the Redskins. The Giants had a hard time moving the football consistently, mainly because of their struggles on third down. They went 2-for-14 on third down, including 0-for-5 in the second half, and New York managed to record just one first down in the final 30 minutes of the game. While the Giants faced a few third-and-longs, half of their third downs (seven) were for four yards or less, yet they converted just one. The lack of offensive production contributed heavily to the battle of field position. With the Giants punting, often from deep in their own territory, the Redskins started most of their drives near or around midfield. Of Washington's 13 possessions, seven of them started at least at the Redskins 33-yard line and the three times the Redskins scored in the game, they started their drive at their own 40 or better.
Field position put a great deal of pressure on the defense, which certainly did everything it could to position the team to win the game, including a pick-six by Janoris Jenkins. In the NFL, regardless of the opponent, when the defense scores more than the offense, it's very difficult to win games.