The most basic objective of sports has become more and more complex for the Giants: scoring points.
In a game where the defense held the Redskins in check, aside from a long back-breaker, the team was held under 20 points for the fifth time this season as the Giants fell, 20-13, to the NFC East leaders. Big Blue now enters the bye week and the second half of the season at 1-7.
“Special teams, defense, I thought battled and contributed in a way that, pretty much [was] a winning effort,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “On offense, we’ve got to score more points. Until we unlock that, until we get down there and score touchdowns, then it’s going to be tough sledding, so that’s where it is. You can’t score 13 points in any game at any level and expect to win them. We’ve got to unlock that, we’ve got to get that better. Whatever it is, we’ve got to get that figured out. We’ve got to put the ball in the end zone more often.”
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Three-time NFL rushing champion Adrian Peterson broke a 64-yard touchdown run, extending the Redskins’ lead to 20-6 with 3:06 left in the game. It came directly after the Giants made it a one-possession game on an Aldrick Rosas field goal. Big Blue had to settle for three points after failing to find the end zone on a first-and-goal.
UNTIL THEY UNLOCK THAT: The aforementioned drive was part of the Giants’ 1-for-4 day in the red zone, including Eli Manning’s first interception, and a 2-for-14 outing on third down. After reaching the 30-point threshold in Week 5, the offense has put up 13, 20 and 13 points as the losing streak reached five games. Another alarming stat is the Giants’ sack total, which swelled to 31 on the season after giving up seven on Sunday. That puts them on pace for 62.
“Each one has its own story,” Manning said of the sacks. “Some of them were coverage things, some of them were getting beat and some were that I have to do a better job getting the ball out. Each one has its own reason. We will look at it and see where we can improve.”
NOT SEIZING THE MOMENTUM: Momentum was hard to come by for both teams as they combined for just 13 points in the first three quarters. After Manning threw his second interception of the day to D.J. Swearinger late in the third quarter, the life was sucked out of MetLife Stadium. The defense tried to resuscitate it on Landon Collins’ forced fumble of Peterson. Olivier Vernon returned it 43 yards back to the Redskins 39, but the Giants’ ensuing offensive series went incompletion to Bennie Fowler, completion to Odell Beckham Jr. for a loss of two yards, completion to Fowler for nine yards, and incompletion to Evan Engram on fourth-and-three that went through the second-year tight-end’s hands.
“I mean it was right there,” Engram said. “I’ve just got to come down with it. No excuse.”
“Stuff like that happens,” Manning said. “He ran the right route and we had a chance to convert the fourth down, but it didn’t work out. That is kind of the way the season has gone. In moments of the game, we just haven’t played up to our standard.”
“Yeah I thought it was going to turn over the leaf,” Collins said. “Every turnover is a momentum change. It’s big for us and when we get the ball and do stuff like that, you definitely feel the change of momentum goes to the other team and you’re like, ‘All right, we can get this going here. It can happen.’”
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE GIANTS: Big Blue heads into its bye week with just one win in eight outings. The team will have 15 days until starting the second half of the schedule on Monday night, Nov. 12, at San Francisco.
“Just have to keep fighting,” Manning said. “The defense gave us a chance today and played outstanding. Offensively, we have to do our part. We are not scoring enough points. We are playing in close games and we are just not finding ways to win them, unfortunately. We have to be able to move the ball more consistently and we have to control the clock to help out our defense. We are just getting down. Down too many points in games. Not scoring enough points and not doing enough in the red zone. We can look at it, practice better and play better.”
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE REDSKINS: With Dallas on its bye week and Philadelphia winning in London, Washington held onto its lead in the NFC East with a 5-2 record (2-0 in the division). The Redskins host the Falcons next week as they search for their first division title since 2012, the year after the Giants won their last Super Bowl.
“Winning is hard in this league,” said quarterback Alex Smith, who has now started against the Giants with three different teams. “I don’t care who you are playing. This is a division game on the road. This team had their back up against the wall. I thought all week we had great sense of urgency in our preparation and I thought we had great energy today from the time we stepped off the bus here. Great energy in the locker room, out there on the field, and looked to just kind of build off that.”