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Turnovers, Penalties Costly for Giants Against Washington

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

 

Costly turnovers and penalties proved to be the difference as the New York Giants lose to the Washington Redskins, 29-27.

The game that was known as “Beckham-Norman Round II” was not as chaotic as last year’s matchup, but there was some turmoil, but not for personal reasons. The turmoil was caused by the desire to get a win for their team.

After Josh Brown’s field goal to give the Giants a 27-26 lead, the Redskins had the ball with less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Washington worked their way all the way down into Giants territory, with Dustin Hopkins kicking a 37 yard field goal to give the Redskins the 29-27 lead with 1:51 left on the clock.

The Giants would attempt to do what they did last week, which was get into field goal range and secure the division win. A short pass caught by rookie Sterling Shepard was overturned due to an offensive pass interference call on Odell Beckham Jr, who interfered with Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. Eli Manning would salvage this penalty by completing an 18 yard pass up the middle of the field to receiver Victor Cruz. On the next play, Manning had his short pass up the middle to running back Shane Vereen intercepted by Redskins rookie defensive back Su’a Cravens. Redskins would kneel down the ball to end the game and give them their first victory of the season. Turnovers and penalties proved to be too much for the Giants to overcome.

“Nothing surprises you in this league,” said Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “We knew [the refs] were going to throw the flags and throw them early and often. We needed to be the more disciplined football team and we’ll get that fixed.”

The Giants had 11 penalties, accounting for 128 yards. Giants center Weston Richburg was the first casualty of the NFL’s new unsportsmanlike conduct rule. Richburg had two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against him and he was subsequently ejected from the game in the fourth quarter.

“I let my teammates down,” said Richburg. “I have to be a presence in there and be a leader and I let my team down…I need to settle down and just be that leading presence for my team.”

Penalties weren’t the only problem that the Giants had today. They turned the ball over three times today (fumble from Vereen and two interceptions from Manning). The Giants had trouble with turnovers last week against the Saints, turning the ball over the same amount of times as this week.

“You can’t have the turnovers or the penalties,” said Manning. “As sloppy as it was at times, we still had a chance at the end…we had plays that cost us from scoring points.”

The turnovers and penalties did frustrate the team, but no one was more frustrated than Odell Beckham Jr. After these missed opportunities, Beckham was seen screaming in frustration, slamming his helmet on the kicking net and the bench. Eli Manning was shown standing next to Beckham to calm him down.

“I was just trying to figure out what’s going on and why he’s frustrated,” said Manning. “He’s getting catches, he’s making plays, and we just need him and everyone to stay calm. We don’t need to get rattled. We don’t need to get fired up.”

After last year’s tumultuous showdown on December 20, the league was prepared for the two enigmas to square off for the second time in their careers. The officiating crew approached both Beckham and Norman separately, giving them warning before the game.

“Today, they came up before the game and said, if you do anything, we’re throwing you out,” said Beckham about what the officiating crew told him. “There was, ‘no, you get a warning.’ There was not any of that. You just have to be on your best behavior.”

In the beginning of the game, Beckham and Norman were pretty tame. Once the game started getting down to the nitty gritty, you can see the emotion of both players exude onto the field and sidelines.

“We’re just two fierce competitors,” said Beckham. “That’s all it is. We love football. We feel like this has turned into something that is not football. Honestly, I know that all I care for is football.”

The second half had five lead changes, after the Giants walked into halftime with a 21-16 lead. Just like last week versus the Saints, the Giants had opportunities to score touchdowns inside the red zone, but failed to capitalize. One in particular was after Manning completed a 24 yard pass to Beckham, sending them to the Washington 29. After a defensive holding call on Josh Norman, the Giants were set up on a first and ten on the 15 yard line. Manning threw a pass intended for tight end Will Tye, but was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar.

“Obviously turnovers are something that we can’t have and something that we have to understand how to protect the football and hold on to the football in order for us to be successful,” said wide receiver Victor Cruz. “But you now, it is just one of those things where, like I said, we have to learn from it and move on.”

The game could’ve gotten out of hand, but the Redskins also had trouble in the red zone, which can be attributed to the Giants defense. However, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins did make game changing plays that helped them come back from a 21-9 deficit.

“I felt like he was more comfortable in the pocket,” said Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas. “We pressured him. We got to him a couple times and I think he made some good throws…They are the NFC East defending champs and at the end of the day, they have the title and we have to dethrone them and we did not do that today.”

Giants sacked Cousins twice today (defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon) and two forced fumbles (Pierre-Paul and safety Nat Berhe).

Eli Manning finished that game throwing 25 of 38 for 350 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Odell Beckham Jr finished the game catching seven of 11 targets for 121 yards. Sterling Shepard caught five of seven targets for 73 yards and a touchdown. Victor Cruz caught all three targets for 70 yards. Josh Brown was two for two on field goals (29 yards and 30 yards), and three for three on extra points.

Washington Redskins led the game in total plays 68 to 61, as well as total possession time 33:26 to 26:34. Giants led in total yards 457 to 403. Giants had eleven penalties for 128 yards, while the Redskins had eight penalties for 70 yards.

Giants have eight days to prepare for next Monday’s matchup in Minnesota against the undefeated Vikings (3-0). Giants look to work out the kinks from this week’s loss and earn a victory against one of the league’s best teams.

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