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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Yankees will host Wild Card Game

In spite of horrific finish to the 2015 season, that saw the Yankees drop six of their last seven, they will still host the American League Wild Card game on Tuesday night.

The Yankees learned of their fates after a 9-4 drubbing at the hands of the the Baltimore Orioles on the final day of the season. The Astros, who needed to win in order to take home field from the Yankees, lost to the Diamondbacks 5-3. The Astros also lost out on the division, as the Rangers beat up the Angels.

The Texas Rangers are now the AL West Champions.

With the regular season now over, the playoffs in both leagues are now set.

The Yankees will host Houston on Tuesday night at 8:05 p.m. ET. The winner of the game will visit the Kansas City Royals in the Divisional series that begins on Thursday. The Rangers, meanwhile, will square off with the Toronto Blue Jays in the other AL Divisional Series.

The Yankees enter this wild card game in bad shape. While Mashairo Tanaka will get the ball, he has not been very consistent of late for the Yankees -- something that has been a big issue for just about everyone in the Yankees ill fated rotation. The Astros are coming into this series red hot. Even though Houston lost on Sunday, they did go 6-2 down the stretch. This will be a tough game for the Yankees, especially if Dallas Kuechel gets the ball for the Astros.

Giants dominate Rex Ryan's Bills, improve to 2-2


One of the biggest criticisms for the Giants this season has been Big Blue's inability to close games out. They had leads on both the Cowboys and Falcons this year, only to blow both games and lose. On Sunday, the Giants left little doubt that this game would be their's for the tacking with a thorough smackdown of Rex Ryan's Buffalo Bills to the tune of 24-10.

With the Giants holding a slim 16-10, after Karlos Williams scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tryrod Taylor with 9:41 to go in the game, the Giants knew they needed to answer or risk losing another heart-breaker.

The answer came quickly. On a third down and three on the Giants next possession, Eli Manning dumped it off to Rashad Jennings at the Giants' 49 yard line. The running back, dodged a couple of tacklers and was gone -- sprinting down the sideline for a 51-yard touchdown.

Just like that the Giants were up 24-10. The Buffalo Bills were broke.

Make no mistake while New York controlled the scoring of this game, the undisciplined Bills certainly helped out. In the third quarter, Tyrod Taylor had what appeared to be a 31-yard scramble-and-run for a touchdown, nullified by offensive holding. Buffalo had to settle for a field goal attempt which they missed.

Towards the end of the third quarter, Buffalo once again was driving deep into Giants territory, and had the football right on the Giants 1 yard line, and STILL couldn't punch it in. On third and goal at the two, Taylor was pushed out of bounds after failing to find an open man in the end zone. Then on fourth and goal at the one, Karlos Williams was blown up at the line by the Giants defense, forcing a turnover on downs.

The Bills also had another touchdown nullified by an illegal chop block by Richie Incongnito late in that game that would have made it somewhat respectable. Overall the Bills were penalized 17 times in the contest.

In short, the Giants dominated on the scoreboard, but, in fact escaped with their lives.

Eli Manning was good, not great. He only threw for 212 yards, but did complete three touchdown passes to just one pick. He also spread the ball around nicely, with Dwayne Harris making an impact with five catches for 53 yards.

The Giants 2-2 are looking pretty good right now. They have a favorable schedule coming up with the sad-sacked 49ers coming into town on Monday night. The Giants, who were once left for dead, might be on their way to do some big things in October -- stay tuned.

Jets win ugly London battle with Dolphins


It was not pretty, but it was still a win as the Jets found a way to outlast (barely) the Miami Dolphins 27-14 in London, England on Sunday. With the exception of a couple spurts of brilliance the Jets played sloppy on both sides of the football, and one comes away with the impression that if the Jets had played a better opponent the results on Sunday afternoon would have been far different. In other words the Jets have a lot of work to do during their bye week.

The Jets committed 14 penalties for 163 yards; they turned the ball over only once, and it could have been twice were it not for a Chris Ivory fumble being overturned. They allowed the Dolphins to run all over them for 126 yards in the fourth quarter, and nearly blew a huge 27-7 lead. And to top it off Ryan Fitzpatrick did little to quiet the Geno Smith talk that began last week.

First lets talk about the good. The Jets got off to a flying start in this game when Fitzpatrick hit Brandon Marshall in stride down the sideline for 58-yards on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later Chris Ivory pounded his way through the line and got the football over the goal line for the score and a 7-0 lead.

After a Miami three and out, the Jets once again were on the charge. A couple of nice connections between Fitzpatrick and Marshall highlighted the drive, including a nice 12-yard screen pass to Bilal Powell that set up a Nick Folk field goal and a 10-0 advantage.

However, the story of the day had to be the defense. The Jets harassed Dolphins Ryan Tannehill all day long. New York blitzed Tannehill 35 of the 48 drop backs the quarterback took, and sent a defensive back on a blitz 22 times. Overall the Jets held Miami to a grand total of 0-for-12 on third down and 0-for-4 on fourth down. Through three quarters the Jets held Miami to just seven first downs and 106 yards of offense.

The Jets defense single handily won this game for Gang Green as they held off two late Miami charges in the fourth quarter with big time interceptions in the end zone to prevent Miami for scoring late, and shocking the Jets.

After a Jets three-and-out, Jarvis Landry brought back a punt 25-yards to the Jets 40, setting up Miami in great field position with plenty of time to go in the game. The Dolphins marched all the way to the Jets 4-yard line thanks to a 16-yard completion from Tannehill to Landry as well as hideous penalties on the Jets.  New York had Miami dead to rights on fourth and goal, when Tannehill's intended pass for Greg Jennings was incomplete. But, the referees called defensive holding on Buster Skrine, handing Miami new life at the Jets two yard line.

Even with Miami right on the cusp of scoring the Jets defense held. Offensive pass interference was called on the Dolphins for chipping at the line to open up Landry in the end zone. The penalty pushed Miami back to the 12, and the Jets finished them off. New York forced the Dolphins into another fourth and goal, and this time Darrelle Revis came up with a huge interception in the end zone to prevent a Miami Dolphins touchdown.

Yet don't tell the Jets offense that their defense was helping them on Sunday, because another woeful drive by Fitzpatrick and the Jets resulted in another Jets punt. Miami once again had a chance.

Tannehill hit Kenny Stills from 42-yards for a first and ten at the Jets 26, and it appeared that Miami would not be denied this time. Then again, the Jets defense had other plans. They forced Tannehill to throw three incompletions in a row to set up fourth down and ten at the Jets 26. New York finally sent the house once more on fourth down, forcing Tannehill to throw off his back foot. The football dropped right through the hands of Jordan Cameron and into the hands of Marcus Williams for a Jets interception, icing it.

Like I wrote earlier, Fitzpatrick did nothing to quiet his doubters. He had his moments like the bomb to Brandon Marshall to start the game. He even looked good in a couple of big third down scrambles, including a 19-yard scamper on third and two in the second quarter that helped lead to New York's second touchdown of the day. Fitzpatrick would finish that second quarter drive with a 10-yard bullet to Eric Decker for the touchdown and a 20-7 lead.

He would even orchestrate a nice scoring drive to open the second half that culminated in a Zac Stacy touchdown to make it 27-7.

That being said there was a whole lot of eye rolling moments. Too many times, Fitzpatrick threw into the ground, or over threw receivers. Twice he threw the football into triple coverage.

The Jets could have easily blown this game wide open early, but Fitzpatrick was unable to get the Jets into the end zone on their second possession, and was this close to throwing a pick in the red zone in the first quarter. The Jets settled for a field goal and a 10-0 lead. Plus the Jets final four drives of the day resulted in an interception and three punts. That's not going to get it done. Fitzpatrick was 16-for-29 for 218 yards. He was good in some spots. Bad in others. The talk that his job is not secure as Geno Smith is ready to return will only heat up.

In a lot of ways, New York was very lucky to have Chris Ivory healthy for this game. After missing Week 3 against Philadelphia, Ivory was back with vengeance. He gashed the Dolphins for 166 yards and a touchdown. He churned out tough yards in big spots, and worked a tiring Dolphins defense as the second half was getting under way. It was a shame that they got away from Ivory in the fourth quarter, because he could have really eaten a lot of clock.

While the Jets will take the win -- they will do so with full knowledge they have a lot to clean up. 14 penalties is inexcusable, and a lack of consistency on offense is also inexcusable, especially in a game against a team that should have been a 30+ point blowout in the Jets favor. The Dolphins did nothing to warrant being in this game, but New York kept them in it.

The Jets enter a bye week next week -- a much needed bye. The Jets will face the Redskins in two weeks at the Meadowlands on November 18 at 1:00 on FOX.

Yankees Drop DH to O's, don't look ready for Wild Card Game


The Yankees are going to the playoffs -- err -- excuse me --- the wild card game. That is wonderful as it ends a two year playoff drought. That being said, New York is not going into the postseason with a head of steam, and certainly not with the momentum that Houston and Anaheim are carrying right now to that wild card date.

The Yankees lost three of four to the Red Sox during the week. On Saturday, the Bronx Bombers were swept in a double-header to the Baltimore Orioles. They were uncompetitive in Game 1, losing 9-2 behind Ivan Nova. The Yankees starting pitching has been woeful for much of the season, and it hasn't gotten any better.

Nova was the latest starter to get rocked, giving up five runs in five and two-thirds innings.  His record in the regular season is 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA.

Luis Severino started the second game of the double-header and pitched well, but with him pitching on Saturday, it will be hard to imagine him being ready to go on Tuesday IF they Yankees were to choose to go to him. He's been New York's most consistent starter down the stretch.

That being said the Yankees couldn't muster much offense for Severino. They managed to erase a 3-0 Baltimore lead, but couldn't get that go-ahead run across when they needed it. Baltimore eventually plated the winning run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning.

These losses are huge for New York. They haven't locked up home field advantage in the wild card game. There is a chance that if they lose on Sunday, and the Astros win, it will be Houston, not the Yankees who will host the Wild Card game on Tuesday.

That being said, it won't matter for Houston, or even Anaheim. Both teams are red hot. The Astros have won six of their last seven, while the Angels are 9-2 in their last 11 games, including erasing a 10-6 deficit on Saturday in the ninth inning against Texas. Both the Rangers and Astros have a chance to get the division title out west as well, as Texas looks poised to choke. The Yankees better hope Texas does and Houston wins the West. The Yankees would be better off with the Rangers who are cold as well.

Here is the scenario:

Yankees win, they get home field advantage on Tuesday.

Yankees lose, Astros win. Astros get home field.

Yankees win or lose, Astros win, and Rangers lose -- then the Yankees host the Rangers.

Yankees win or lose, Astros lose and Angels win, then the Yankees wait for Houston and Anaheim to play a one-game play in for the wild card game on Monday.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Scherzer no-hits Mets, as NY blows chance at home field


For Max Scherzer, Saturday night was a chance at redemption. Redemption for himself after losing two games to the Mets this season, and redemption for the Nationals whose season imploded in the months of August and September as the Mets pulled away with a division that everyone thought would be Washington's.

Scherzer was unbelievable. He no hit the Mets, earning his second no hitter of the season, and were it not for an error at third base, he would have tossed a perfect game against the playoff bound Mets. What was most impressive about his performances, wasn't the no hitter, it was the way he did it. Scherzer struck out 17 batters, with nine of them coming in the final ten outs of the game. At one point he struck out nine in a row from Curtis Grandson in the sixth inning to Lucas Duda in the ninth inning.

With each out Scherzer got stronger, and with each out, the Mets went up their just swinging away, trying and hoping to catch up to Scherzer's 95 mph fastball. It wasn't going to happen. Scherzer was determined to stick it to the Mets, and he did it with one of the greatest pitching performances in MLB history.

Scherzer with his effort became only the fifth pitcher in the history of the game to throw two no-hitters in the same season. Were it not for a base hit by the Reds last weekend, Scherzer could have had three no-hitters this year. Talk about living up to the $200 million contract.

From the Mets standpoint, the loss was an embarrassment. New York needed to sweep their double-header against the Nationals on Saturday to reclaim an edge over the Dodgers for home field in the first round of the National League playoffs. Scherzer's no hitter assured that the Mets will have to travel to Los Angeles for Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS. Rest assured that Scherzer and the Nationals took even greater pleasure in that.

It is amazing that in a season where the Mets didn't blow their chances at the playoffs, ending a nine-year drought of not playing serious October baseball, they still found a way to blow a chance at facing Clayton Kershaw and Zach Grienke in their own building for Games 1, 2, and maybe even 5.

The Mets have now lost five in a row and are playing awful baseball as they get set for the playoffs next Friday. They got swept by Philadelphia this past week, and have dropped the first two to Washington. In four of the games, the Mets trailed throughout, and never challenged Philadelphia and Washington. In New York's 7-5 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, they had a 5-0 lead only to watch the Phillies storm back to win, in a sloppy affair on a cold night in Philly.

The offense has been the biggest issues. Michael Conforto is hitting .185; Yoneis Cespedes is hitting .100; David Wright, .222,  and Wilmur Flores, .167. This is not going to get it done.

While playing great baseball is not a requirement for the final week of the regular season, it is a disturbing trend. The Mets are setting themselves up for a great fall in the NLDS if they don't pick things up quick. If the Mets want to be a World Series team, they should understand that last years' participants, the Giants and Royals were getting hot in the final week of the season -- not cold.

In other words, its looking more and more likely that the Mets, who have never lost a division series in their history, are in line to get TKO'd in the first round by the Dodgers. They were going to be underdogs regardless, but now they look ready made for to be golfing come mid-October.

And speaking of embarrassing, the fact that Terry Collins sent out a lineup without Cespedes, Lucas Duda and David Wright in the lineup for the second game of a double-header with Matt Harvey on the mound against Scherzer, and with home field on the line is a sick joke. It sent the message that New York didn't care about home field, when they should have.

Sure it is great to see the Mets in the playoffs, but don't get too comfortable seeing them under the brightest of lights.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Jets are No Shows in Ugly Loss to Eagles


Coming into play on Sunday the Jets never beat the Philadelphia Eagles in their franchises history. After Sunday, New York is still 0-for-forever against Philly.

For the Kool-aid drinkers, this was a game that snapped everyone back to reality. In one respect, a lot of people were going gaga over the Jets 2-0 start. On the other hand, everyone was ready to fire Chip Kelly after Philadelphia's 0-2 start. Oh, how football can provide balance from one week to another.

Bottom line is the Jets looked sloppy against an Eagles team that isn't going to remind anyone of the Andy Reid/Donavan McNabb Eagles of the last decade. The Eagles are a bad football team and the Jets showed everyone that even with a 2-0 start, they are not that good either.

The Jets turned the football over four times and let Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews run all over them on Sunday afternoon, especially in the first half.

Most of all the Jets offense looked sluggish, slow and boring for 60 minutes. Perhaps the loss of Eric Decker and Chris Ivory had a major impact in the final results on Sunday, or maybe it is the simple fact that Chain Gailey's game plan was too predictable and dull. Rarely did the Jets try to extend the field on the Eagles, settling more for dink and dunk passes to Bilal Powell, Quincy Enunwa and Jeff Cumberland.

Whenever Fitzpatrick tried to rear back and throw, Eagles defenders were all over him, getting their hands up into the air to knock the ball down. And to think the Jets didn't once adjust and try to move Fitzpatrick out of the pocket?!

Sloppy, ugly, downright awful.

Right from the get-go things were not looking up for Gang Green. The Eagles, who had only one first down in the first half of their game against Dallas last week, were churning out yards against the Jets vaunted defense on their opening drive. An 11-play drive that featured both Matthews and Sproles eating up chunks of yards set up Philadelphia with an early field goal and 3-0 lead. The Eagles had four first downs on the drive and ran for 43 yards on the drive.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Sproles put the game away. Yes, he put it away in the second quarter. Sproles took a Jets punt, ducked around a couple Jets defenders, and had nothing but daylight down the sidelines for an Eagles touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

The Sproles punt return broke the game wide open for Philadelphia, and they made sure to pore it on a clueless Jets team that didn't know what hit him. Midway through the quarter the Eagles put together their best drive of the day, when Bradford hit a streaking Ryan Matthews in stride for a 23-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-0. Bradford for 3-for-4 on the drive, including a 21-yard strike to Zach Ertz that set the Eagles up in Jets territory.

Then, one of the dumbest plays in Jets history occurred; a play so inane that some think it challenges the buttfumble from three years ago. I disagree.

That being said, after catching a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick, receiver Brandon Marshall tired to lateral the ball behind him to a Jet player who was coming up from behind. However the lateral totally failed. As Marshall was coming down to the turf, the ball popped up in the air and the Eagles picked it up. After a wasted Jets challenge, the Eagles had the football back at the Jets 36-yard line. Philadelphia punched it in after a seven play drive, with Sproles culminating the Eagles scoring with a 1-yard plunge to make it 24-0.

While the Jets tired to make a game of it, watching their offense work down 24-0 was like watching molasses in January. Fitzpatrick was overthrowing receivers or throwing the ball into the ready arms of Eagles defenders. Whenever the Jets tired to run the football, there were no lanes for them to run in.

The Jets even had a 16-play 81 yard drive that ate up eight minutes of action that was pure torture to watch. Either Fitzpatrick threw an incompletion, or dunked it down low for a very short gain. Somehow the Jets found a way to convert four different third down attempts before they finally scored to cut the deficit to 24-14.

What made maters worse is that the Jets actually had a chance if they only played competent football down the stretch. Philadelphia gave the Jets the football on two separate occasions down the stretch, with plenty of time to go in the game, and each time the Jets turned it over on a interception by Fitzpatrick, icing a horrendous defeat.

Sure Fitzpatrick should remain the Jets starter, if for no other reason then the Jets don't have anyone on the roster capable of being any better at quarterback. The Jets need to get Decker and Ivory back, because they showed the NFL world that they are too top heavy in talent, with almost no depth if someone goes down with an injury. If this were the real Jets on Sunday -- it's going to get ugly really, really fast.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mets Clinch NL East, Return to Playoffs


When David Wright's fly ball landed just over the center field wall for a three-run homer the Mets knew it was official; years of pure misery were finally over.

Wright waited nine years between tasting the champagne of October baseball. He, like the Mets fans, endured some of the darkest days in club history. After the team's success in 2006, when they had the best record in the National League and came a swing short of the World Series, it had been down hill. From September collapses in 2007 and 2008, to the Bernie Madoff scandal, to horribly cheap and petty ownership by the Wilpons, and years of losing with subpar talent, anyone in Mets blue and orange took extra pleasure on Saturday night.

Flash back to 2012 and there was another watershed moment that cashed in on this evening in Cincinnati. In December of 2012, the Wilpon's convinced Wright to sign a contract extension, based on the fact they had some young pitchers coming up soon. For two-and-a half years it looked like Wright was tricked by the Mets, the franchise wasn't getting any better.

In 2012, the Wilpons promised that 2013 would be the year. They didn't spend at all, and the team floundered. In 2013 they promised that 2014 would be the year. Same story. In 2014, they promised that 2015 would be the year  -- and for half the season, we were getting ready to hear that the Wilpons were making plans for 2016.

Now back to Saturday's game in Cincy. While the game was already in hand at 7-2, Wright's three-run blast was the pushback to all of that frustration. All the failures; all the broken promises; all the losing; the Albatros was now gone.

As Terry Collins said in his post game press conference, "Now they couldn't take it from us." And they never will. No September choke this time around. The Mets are in the playoffs for the eighth time in franchise history.

While they have a week-and-a half until they play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Divisional Series, this is a moment to celebrate and enjoy. Because it was just two months ago it looked like even a wild card would be next to impossible for this team.

On July 24 the Mets were 49-48. They were in the midst of a three-game losing streak, and already got smacked around by the Cardinals, Nationals and Dodgers -- three teams that everyone perceived were the class of the National League. While the Mets were getting quality starting pitching, they weren't scoring enough runs to make those efforts stand up. It wasn't pretty.

David Wright wasn't in the lineup at all; he was on the DL with a spinal injury that could have ended his season. A lot of people questioned if his career wasn't over. Moreover on the field, Lucas Duda was struggling; the Mets still couldn't figure out who their short stop was, and Daniel Murphy was dealing with nagging injuries as well. The only saving grace for New York was that Washington still hadn't caught fire yet.

Then a miracle happen. GM Sandy Alderson got the green light to go out and make some moves to get the team some help offensively. Maybe the Mets had a chance to make a push, thanks to the struggling Nationals.

They promoted rookie slugger Michael Conforto from Double-A; they traded for veterans Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, and acquired reliever Tyler Clippard. Now the Mets had a young power hitter and some veteran players to give the ball club an added punch. The Mets blew up the Dodgers 15-2 on July 25 with their new pieces, then outlasted them 3-2 in ten innings the next day.

With just a couple moves the Mets looked like a different team. Then, another watershed moment happened.

During a game against the San Diego Padres, reports surfaced that the Mets traded Wilmur Flores and Zach Wheeler to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez. Whether the Mets let the rumor get out, or the agents floated it out -- it didn't matter -- because the story was now out in the middle of a game. The fans started chanting for Wilmur Flores, who, through the fans found out he was traded.

Immediately Flores lost it. He started crying on the field. Terry Collins had no idea what was going on, and didn't know a trade was done. About an hour later the trade was nixed, because the Mets had concerns about Gomez's back. The moment looked like another disaster in the long line of disasters for the Mets. Not only did a trade blow up in their face, but it deeply affected the player involved during a game. With only hours left before the trade deadline, the Mets still needed to make another move, or the Gomez debacle would be remembered as just that.

As it turned out the Gomez debacle was the best thing that ever happened to the Mets. The Mets had another card to play and went for the biggest prize out there, Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes was an All Star outfielder with the A's, Red Sox and Tigers. He was a gifted athlete, who has been rumored to have a bad reputation, and to top it off, is in the walk year of his contract. However the potential reward in acquiring him were far greater. The Mets acquired Cespedes on July 31 for a couple minor leaguers. They didn't have to deal Flores and Wheeler at all.

Cespedes turned out to be the difference. The guy came to New York and took the city by storm. In 52 games, Cespedes hit .272 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI. He was getting big hits in big spots. Had monster home runs, and had 21 multi-hit games. Cespedes had a five hit, three homer night in Colorado on August 21; he also had an eight-game hitting streak at the start of September. There was nothing Cespedes couldn't do.

With Cespedes in the lineup everyone else picked it up.

Curtis Granderson ended up hitting .279 with 11 homers and 39 RBI in the second half of the year. Daniel Murphy drove in 40 and hit .290. Wilmur Flores hit .284 with six bombs and 21 RBI, and Lucas Duda had 12 homer and 28 RBI in the second half of the year.

Even David Wright made his triumphant return to the lineup in August. In 25 games, Wright hit .298 with three homers and 10 RBI. As for Conforto, the rookie had a big second half thanks to the veteran presence in the lineup. Conforto hit .283 with eight homers and 23 RBI in 50 games this season.

Carlos Gomez? He hit only .234 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 34 games, and was a none factor for the collapsing Houston Astros in the AL West. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make.

It should come as no surprise then as the Mets offense clicked to back up the Mets staring pitching. The Mets went 39-19 from July 25 - September 26, blowing past the Nationals en route to a division crown and a record of 88-67.

Another guy deserving of this moment is manager Terry Collins, who endured a lot of that losing over the past four seasons. He was hired  as a mere caretaker for this franchise as they made their transition from bad team to decent team. There was never a guarantee that he would be the Mets manager beyond the 2014 season and got a tepid endorsement for this year. If anyone, other than Wright deserves this moment, it is Collins.

While it hasn't been an easy two months -- it has been an amazing two months for the Mets. They are the ultimate rags to riches story of the 2015 postseason. Enjoy it Mets fans, you waited long enough.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Giants Get 1st 'W' Against Hapless Skins


In need of a win before all of the New York City came crashing down on them like a deck of cards, the New York Giants found a way to hold off a late Redskins rally in a 32-21 victory over the hapless Washington franchise, Thursday night. 

While the final score ended up being only 11 points, it wasn't indicative of the kind of game this way: a total Giants blowout. The Giants outplayed the Redskins all night long, and even if the Giants couldn't find the end zone, the Redskins did everything in their power to help the Giants out with three turnovers. 

In fact the outcome of this game was decided in earnest in the opening quarter, when New York jumped out to a 12-0 lead. On Washington's opening possession of the ball game, Giants running back Rashad Jennings blocked a Redskins punt that went out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 G-Men lead.

Later in the quarter Washington quarterback, Kirk Cousins was picked off by Prince Amukamara at the Redskins own 20-yard line. Four plays later the Giants found pay dirt on a Andre Williams 1-yard plunge to make it 9-0. 

Even with a significant lead for most of the night, the Giants offense still struggled. Leading 12-3 in the second quarter, the Giants failed to convert a third and seven at the Redskins 18, forcing New York to settle for a field goal and a 15-3 lead. At the beginning of the third quarter, New York put together a 15-play, 50-yard drive that ate up half the quarter only to come away with three points, and a 18-6 lead. 

Fortunately for the Giants, the Redskins kept shooting themselves in the foot. An interception and a fumble on Washington's next two possessions basically sealed the deal. 

In the third quarter after Cousins was picked off for the second time, the Giants rammed the football down Washington's proverbial throat with some big time passes by Eli Manning. The quarterback hit Larry Donnell for 22-yards on second and 17 at the New York 48 to move the football to the Redskins 30. Next, the former Super Bowl MVP threw a bullet to Odell Beckham Jr. for a 30-yard touchdown strike, pushing the Giants to a  25-6 advantage.

Even with a 19-point advantage, the Giants STILL allowed things to get very interesting. The Redskins scored touchdowns on their next two possessions; one on a Kirk Cousins touchdown pass to Chris Thompson, the other coming on a 100-yard kick return by Rashad Ross. The only saving grace for the Giants was Manning's 41-yard touchdown to Rueben Randall in between the two Redskins scores that kept New York well ahead.

Manning threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns. The Giants running attack left a lot to be desired on Thursday night, as the combination of Jennings, Williams and Shane Vereen rushed for only 84 combined yards. 

The Giants defense did come to play. They held Matt Jones to only 38-yards rushing. Alfred Morris (six carries, 19-yards) was also ineffective. The unit also forced three turnovers, two of them interceptions of Cousins. It was a big coming out party for Giants linebacker Uani' Unga, who had nine tackles and a pick. The first year player out of BYU hit people with authority all night for Big Blue. 

The Giants (1-2) now get to enjoy ten days off before their next clash in Week 4 against Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills on October 4.