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Defense keeps it close but comes up short


It may sound simple and even random, but 17 is a number Tom Coughlin always has in mind.

It's tough to win when you don't score that many points, and conversely, you have a good shot at victory if you hold your opponent to that amount.

Just like the loss to Philadelphia in Week 4 when he last referenced this, Monday night's game against Washington was about that threshold. That's why despite outgaining the Redskins in yards, first downs, time of possession and takeaways, the Giants still walked away from their NFC East rivals with a 17-16 loss.

"We didn't do anything with our opportunities," Coughlin said. "We aren't going to beat anybody with 16 points. I would say that with 17, but the score was 17-16. I'm just disappointed we came out and played like this in the second half."

While the offense failed to find the end zone after halftime, the Giants defense held its own but failed to get off the field when it needed to the most.

Giving the ball back to the Redskins with 3:51 remaining and a one-point deficit, the Giants couldn't stop Washington, and consequently, the clock. Robert Griffin III began the possession with an eight-yard run while Alfred Morris delivered the final blow, rushing for six yards on third-and-3 with 1:07 remaining.

"We weren't able to get off the field even when we got them in down and distances that we liked," linebacker Chase Blackburn said. "They'd hit us with either play-action or something over the top or broke a run and we weren't able to get off the field."

The Giants gave up 207 yards on the ground to the NFL's top rushing attack, which ran for 248 on them in their first meeting. In the middle of all that, Pierre Garcon complemented the offense in the passing game.

Garcon, the Redskins wide receiver who was injured and did not play in the first game against the Giants, accounted for 106 of Griffin's 163 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

"They do some different things, they got him in the open field," Blackburn said of Garcon, who also had a 17-yard catch on the Redskins' final possession. "They put him on a linebacker sometimes, and they had the advantage a little bit."


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