It easily can be the mantra to the Giants’ season. Look down their early part of their schedule and you can certainly find a few.
In Thanksgiving night’s 20-10 loss to the Redskins, it can be one of the more significant ones. The G-Men went into Washington off an impressive victory over Kansas City in which they held the high-powered Chiefs without a touchdown, and faced a severely depleted Redskins’ squad that had only 46 players on its active roster.
Give kudos to the Giants’ defense that once again rose to the occasion, registering six sacks and frustrating the Washington offense most of the night. Janoris Jenkins continued to redeem himself with a 53-yard pick-six sprint late in third quarter tied the game at 10-all.
Their glaring blemish was the failure to stop diminutive wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who sliced and diced his way through the secondary for 141 of the Skins’ 242 passing yards, including the go-ahead touchdown to a 3-3 snoozer at the time.
The Giants also had trouble slowing the Redskins’ running game in the second half, mainly tailback Samaje Perine, who ran for most of his 100 yards after halftime.
But blame his one on the offense.
The Giants couldn’t muster a touchdown and had only one first down and 47 yards of total offense in the second half.
Right tackle Chad Wheeler was victimized for two key sacks from Ryan Kerrigan in the first half the slowed drives, and left tackle Ereck Flowers had his troubles after halftime as he was flagged for three penalties and allowed his first sack since week two.
Rookie tight end Evan Engram struggled for the second consecutive game as he had three drops. With Engram scuffling and Sterling Shepard out with migraines, the Giants needed a young receiver to step up. None did.
The Giants’ running game had some bright moments in the opening half, but they couldn’t get back on track in the second half.
Eli Manning was sacked four times and threw for 127 of the season team low 170 yards. Manning, though, had his share of overthrows, one a floater over the head of Shane Vereen deep in Redskins’ territory that could have changed the complexion of the game.
With a new cast, opportunities appear to increasingly less and more valuable. The Giants rolled out their eighth offensive line combination in 11 games.
“We didn’t make plays and we missed some plays,” offered Manning afterwards. “I should have floated it up sooner for Shane so he could adjust. I put too much on it. We just couldn’t get into any rhythm. We are missing some of our key players and it is tough to catch up and make up.”
“Wasn’t very good,” stated head coach Ben McAdoo of his team’s offense. “We missed opportunities in the first half. Our margin for error is very slim.”
That’s true. With their current state, the Giants can’t afford untimely turnovers or missed opportunities. But this one certainly was a wasted one.
A win could have heightened their spirits against an underachieving Oakland team next week =, and kept them back on the road to respectability at the end of the season.
Possibly getting Shepard and Justin Pugh back next week will be a huge benefit.
Now the Giants must once again hit the reset button on offense and keep their defense intact as they embark toward another opportunity to straighten the path.