Giants-Redskins: New York Dominates Ball Control in Home Opener

John BorgoliniContributor ISeptember 13, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws a pass against the Washington Redskins on September 13, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

After an offseason of questioning how the Giants would perform without Plaxico Burress, New York answered emphatically.

The Giants owned the time of possession, controlling the ball for just over 36 minutes on 70 plays while the Washington Redskins only had the ball for just under 24 minutes and ran only 51 plays.

Eli Manning led a solid passing attack that provided far better results than the rushing game which struggled to find success. Manning finished the game 20-for-29 with 256 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

His favorite target proved to be third-year veteran Steve Smith who made big plays whenever he was called upon. This was never more evident than in the Giants' final scoring drive when Smith spun around and caught a pass right over a defender's shoulder to convert on a third-and-long situation.

Third-down passing was one of the Giants' strongest areas in the game. Manning started the game five-for-five for 85 yards including a 30-yard score on a short pass to second-year receiver Mario Manningham who fought for most of the yardage. Manningham finished with three receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown.

Kevin Boss also contributed with three receptions for 62 yards.

Manning did make several mistakes passing, most notably his lone interception that came because of a throw off his back foot, never giving his receiver a chance to make a play.

While the running game didn't perform as well as its league-leading performance last season, it didn't play bad.

Ahmad Bradshaw led the team with 12 rushes for 60 yards and had the team's longest rush with a 22-yard dash on the second possession.

Brandon Jacobs finished with 16 carries for 46 yards and his longest run, for 15 yards, came on the very next play.

Bill Sheridan has a lot of good to take out of his first game as defensive coordinator, but the absence of Steve Spagnuolo was noticeable as Jason Campbell didn't face much pressure.

Another kind of absence was also noticed: Osi Umenyiora, who missed all of 2008. On Washington's third possession of the second quarter Umenyiora rushed around the left edge, striped the ball from Campbell's throwing hand, picked it up, and ran the ball back for a 37-yard touchdown.

Justin Tuck led the attack against Washington with one-and-a-half sacks.

When New York wasn't putting pressure on Campbell, he was putting pressure on them by consistently attacking the middle of the field—12 of Campbell's 19 completions came on throws across the middle, seven of which were for more than 10 yards. This is definitely something the Giants will have to address in practice this week.

The Giants saw their first round pick Hakeem Nicks limp off the field early in the fourth quarter and return soon after with a cast on his left ankle. The initial ruling is a sprained ankle, and x-rays were negative. It is not certain whether he will miss time or not. Nicks finished the game with two catches for 18 yards.

Danny Ware also left the game on the opening kickoff with a shoulder injury.

The Giants will be in Dallas next week to try to ruin the Cowboys' opening of their new stadium next Sunday night.