By Andrew Kahn
Even though it is only Week 4, this intra-divisional game felt like a must-win for both teams. The Giants played like it, dominating the Redskins en route to a 45-14 win on Thursday. New York evened its record at 2-2; Washington fell to 1-3 and has to wait a long 11 days before it plays again.
Washington fumbled on its first possession. In a seven-possession span that covered three quarters, the Redskins went fumble, touchdown, interception, interception, punt, interception, interception. Yikes. That’s six turnovers in total, and five of them were attributed to Cousins. For two of the picks, it was hard to tell if Cousins was inaccurate or not in sync with his receivers. On another, he anticipated a big hit and tried to heave it down the field with only his arm. You can’t not step into a deep throw, and a defensive back easily stepped in front of the pass. On another, it was unclear what he was thinking — the most likely explanation is he simply never saw the defender. All in all, the Cousins hype train officially derailed on Thursday night, and Robert Griffin III, while no guaranteed savior, can’t get back soon enough. But DeSean Jackson is looking like a one-dimensional threat — if you can prevent him from getting behind your safety, he isn’t all the effective — and so turnovers were not the only concern for Washington.
Trouble in Washington
Washington is 1-3 and gets Seattle next before traveling to Arizona; a 1-5 start is very much in play, which would make a playoff run very unlikely. Washington looked seriously overmatched on both sides of the ball on Thursday. First year head coach Jay Gruden will have extra time to try to figure things out — the Seattle game is next Monday — and Cousins had shown flashes of effectiveness in previous starts. But through four weeks, this doesn’t look like a very good team.
Is Larry Donnell the next unheralded Giants tight end to have a breakout season for Big Blue? Before him, Martellus Bennett, Jake Ballard, Kevin Boss, and Jeremy Shockey had productive years for the Giants. Donnell and Ballard were undrafted free agents. While seven catches for 54 yards doesn’t seem like a huge game, when three of the receptions are for touchdowns, it is. Each catch was inside in the 10, and they put New York up 21-7. It’s clear he is going to be a big part of the Giants passing attack, and with a lack of weapons for Eli Manning, that’s huge.
Giants offense clicking
New York has a new offensive coordinator, running a different scheme than Manning had been used to, but it looks like things are starting to click. Manning completed 28 of 39 passes, the kind of efficiency you need in the West Coast offense. New York’s offensive line is not a strength, and Manning is prone to costly mistakes, so the quick-hitting passing scheme seems to play into the Giants’ hands. And when Odell Beckham, Jr. returns, he could provide a deep threat to stretch defenses that cheat towards the line of scrimmage.
New York’s blowout was the fourth in a row on Thursday night to start the season. Seattle smacked Green Bay by 20 in Week 1, Baltimore won by 20 in Week 2, Atlanta crushed Tampa Bay by 42 last week, and now the Giants posted a 31-point victory. The NFL has had plenty of exciting games this season, but none have happened on Thursday so far.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about the NFL and other sports at AndrewJKahn.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.
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