While being shut out in the first half for the first time this season, the New York Giants dug themselves into a 20-point hole by the time they looked up in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.
Nevertheless, Big Blue managed to make things interesting.
On fourth-and-16 with 10 minutes to play, Eli Manning, who threw three interceptions on the day, hit Rueben Randle for a 40-yard touchdown. The defense forced a punt on the Redskins' ensuing drive, and the offense capitalized. Odell Beckham Jr. then made a diving catch in the end zone on a 21-yard pass from Manning to cut it to six points with 4:57 left in the game.
But it would be too little, too late in the pivotal NFC East clash.
The Redskins ate up all but the final 19 seconds, including a punt, to leave the Giants with a last-ditch game of laterals that ended at their own 39-yard line. Fresh off the bye week, the Giants lost, 20-14, and no longer hold possession of first place in the division.
"I thought we would play well," coach Tom Coughlin said. "I knew we had some issues, there's no doubt, but we'd overcome some things before, next guy up … But we just started in such a poor fashion that we didn't give anybody any reason to think that we were going to be able to turn the thing around. So it took a while, but as I said, I gave the players credit for the way they came back in the fourth quarter. You know, you're in it to win, obviously, and we didn't, but we certainly did make a run at the end."
IT WAS OVER WHEN
The Giants couldn't get quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Redskins off the field when they needed to the most. After previously holding Washington to just three third-down conversions on 14 attempts, the defense allowed a 20-yard completion to tight end Jordan Reed on third-and-five with 3:29 to play. The Redskins controlled the ball for 4:38 on their final drive and 36 minutes exactly for the entire game.
For the Redskins, Cousins once again was as efficient as they come at FedEx Field, where Washington is 5-1 this season (winless on the road). In six home games, Cousins is completing 74.7 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He also has an average passer rating of 113.0.
"The nature of winning is that it just creates bigger games up ahead," Cousins said. "We're excited about what we did [Sunday], but there is a long ways to go and a lot of football left to be played and we will be the first ones to tell you that."
For the Giants, Beckham is following up his standout rookie season with an impressive sophomore campaign. With nine receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, he eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season while also notching his 13th 100-yard game in 23 outings. His touchdown grab in Washington was also one to save for his highlight reel.
"It really doesn't matter, man," Beckham said of the touchdown. "You get 60 minutes to play and we didn't execute. We didn't do a good job, we came out flat. Too many mistakes, too many everything. Sometimes you have to tip your hat off to the other team. They came out here fired up, came out to play and they did exactly that."
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE GIANTS
After bookending the bye week with losses, the Giants dropped to 5-6 overall. They also fell to 2-3 in the NFC East, which puts them on the wrong side of the tiebreaker against the Redskins (2-1).
"We've got five games to go and if we can get winning… Again, it is up to us," Coughlin said. "We can be but we certainly have to put ourselves in that position. Obviously, this is one you can look at and say shoulda, coulda, woulda all day long."
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE REDSKINS
They pulled even with the Giants in the NFC East race and will next host the Dallas Cowboys on "Monday Night Football" in Week 13. After that, Washington plays three of its final four games on the road at Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas. It hosts Buffalo in between in Week 15.
"[To] be 5-6 after 11 games, in a position we are in, where we control our own destiny, basically, to have that opportunity is great, instead of hoping everybody else loses," coach Jay Gruden said. "We are just going to keep grinding one game at a time, and everybody made a big deal about this being a make-or-break game, it just continues every week."
Photo timeline from the Giants Week 12 matchup vs. Washington