Redskins vs. Giants: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Washington

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Redskins vs. Giants: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Washington
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The Redskins are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention after losing to the Giants 24-17 and dropping to 3-9 on the season. 

Stay tuned for live game grades and analysis at halftime, as well as following the final whistle. 

Final

Redskins: 17
Giants: 24

Washington Redskins Grades
Position Unit 1st Half Final
Passing Offense B+ C+
Rushing Offense C+ D+
Rushing Defense C+ B-
Passing Defense C+ C
Special Teams A C+
Coaching B- C

vs. Giants / Week 13

Second-Half Analysis for Washington

Pass Offense:

What began as a good looking Redskins passing attack, quickly deflated in the second half with lessened effectiveness from the offensive line, tighter coverage by the Giants and Robert Griffin III appearing much more skittish as a result.

Is it coincidence that we didn’t see any turbo offense in the second half?

The Redskins clearly miss Jordan Reed (concussion), but mostly because the team doesn’t have anyone else to step up. Tonight, Santana Moss provided a spark, but Pierre Garcon had an off night and Griffin couldn’t connect with anything downfield.

Griffin finished the game with 201 yards on 23-of-31 passing and a score. 

Garcon led all receivers with eight catches for 55 yards. 

 

Rush Offense:

It wasn’t a good night for Alfred Morris and the Redskins rushing attack Sunday night. Although Griffin will dominate the box score with 88 rushing yards for the game, Morris finishing the game with just 26 yards on 11 carries isn’t enough to get it done.

Those that preach about Morris not getting enough carries will certainly be provided with ammo after Sunday night. But give credit to the Giants defense, as they were disciplined and better off the snap.

 

Rush Defense:

The first half – most notably the Giants’ drive midway through the second quarter – was the Redskins’ worst display of rushing defense on the night.

Luckily in the second half, the Redskins were rarely challenged on the ground. And when they were, Washington did a good job of swarming guys like Andre Brown and getting him down near the line of scrimmage.

Regardless of how predictable the Giants may have been late in the game with a lead, the Redskins rebounded nicely against the run in the second half.

 

Pass Defense:

Look at the box score and you’ll get the idea the Redskins were decent against the pass on Sunday night. But watching it live provided a completely different feeling.

The Redskins always seemed like they were 10 yards off their assignment, giving big cushions to Giants receivers and forcing Eli Manning to play a simple game of pitch and catch.

That said, the Redskins did end the game with three sacks on the night, even if it was against an otherwise poor New York offensive line. It was more the back end of the pass defense than the pass rush itself on Sunday night.

 

Special Teams:

Just when you thought about whispering, “The special teams unit is actually playing well for a change,” the Redskins backup long snapper hikes a worm-burner to a waiting Sav Rocca on 4th down, forcing the ancient punter to pickup the ball and attempt a sudden shank punt, which was ultimately blocked and handed nicely to the Giants.

Although it didn’t occur until the second half, this special teams unit just isn’t a reliable source. And just when you think they’re improving, they smack you in the back of the neck and call you names.

The silver lining for the unit? Santana Moss’ punt returns and decision making, as well as the punt coverage and helping to pin the opponent deep.

 

Coaching:

As usual, most will bash Kyle Shanahan after they notice Alfred Morris finished the game with only 11 carries. But the offensive play-calling seemed on point for most of the game. The Giants defense played well and Kyle adjusted accordingly.

What we all can complain about however, is the fact that the turbo offense is seemingly the only effective offense the Redskins have, yet for some unknown reason, Kyle Shanahan and the staff pull away from it even after they've used it and found success. 

Was there any part of the game more enjoyable than the first ten minutes? No. It was the Robert Griffin III running an uptempo offense, keeping the Giants on their toes and the Redskins finding some success while controlling the clock and scoring points. 

But after that, said turbo offense found its way on to the side of a milk carton. Missing in action. 

I'm not sure if it's Shanahan trying to prove himself, or perhaps even his offense. But when you're 3-8 (now 3-9), you need to stick with what works. Or at least stick with what's working until the opposition comes up with an answer. 

On defense, Jim Haslett called a few timely blitzes here and there, but the coverage in the back end seemed suspect. Guys looked as if they were playing well off the ball and Haslett always seemed like he was calling plays to avoid a Victor Cruz touchdown a la last season.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

 

First-Half Analysis for Washington 

Pass Offense:

The Redskins’ opening drive felt like we were all being trolled by the coaches, as Washington came out in its turbo offense and dominated the Giants defense, going 14 plays for 73 yards and a score in just over seven minutes.

That uptempo offense is what Redskins fans have been screaming about for most of the season. When offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan keeps it upbeat and fast-paced, Robert Griffin III is more comfortable and confident behind a more effective offensive line, and the opposing defense is kept on their toes.

Naturally, the Redskins got away from that pace and reverted to the huddle. No one can explain it.

Griffin has done a good job of going through his progressions and settling for the checkdowns. Although there was one checkdown in which Griffin seemed to have missed a wide-open Aldrick Robinson, then another just before the half where he failed to see a streaking Roy Helu Jr., no one is complaining. The completions can build confidence in the passer, and Griffin has looked OK in the pocket. 

 

Rush Offense:

Unfortunately, the Redskins didn't get as much as they would’ve liked out of their running game in the first half. The Giants defense has done a good job of containing the outside and plugging cutback lanes.

Meanwhile, the Redskins offensive line hasn’t done Morris or the Redskins backfield any favors. It's losing the battle off the snap, and Giants defenders are getting their noses in on the Redskins’ rush before anything can develop.

 

Rush Defense:

It started out nicely for the Redskins defense, which has done a good job against top-tier running backs in recent weeks. But midway through the second quarter, the Giants go and use a combination of Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis to shred the Redskins defense for more than 50 yards on the drive, capped by a 23-yard scoring run by Brown.

It’s not a situation where we give up on the Redskins defense throughout the rest of the game, but Washington defenders will need to do a better job making tackles and maintaining their gap assignments. Otherwise, the Giants will waste no time stomping on them with their running back committee.

 

Pass Defense:

Like the offense, the Redskins' pass defense started off the game hot with an inside blitz and sack by Brian Orakpo that ultimately helped to put the Giants in a 3rd-and-long and resulted in an eventual punt.

Since then, the pressure on Eli Manning hasn’t been enough—per usual Redskins.

Despite Manning’s slow start to the night, the Redskins don’t look comfortable in tight coverage, and they clearly can’t cover a tight end.

 

Special Teams:

In addition to Santana Moss’ positive yardage on punt returns (!!), the Redskins have covered well and even downed a punt inside the 5-yard line.

Similar to most other nights however, the less the Redskins need to rely on their special teams, the better off everyone is.

 

Coaching:

Where did ya come from? Where did you go? What in the heck happened to the turbo offense?

Honestly, it’s a mystery. We see this Redskins offense do things while operating in the turbo and then go stagnant without it. But rather than running things in turbo and keeping their foot on the gas, the Redskins get away from it, get back to the slow pace and suddenly we’re looking at the same ol’ offense.

Additionally, for all those who will certainly talk about how dumb the coaches are for trying to make things happen with just 23 seconds before the half, stop it. We’ve seen the Shanahans do that before.

Oh yeah, and the Redskins are 3-8.

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