If the 2015 New York Giants miss the playoffs then the afternoon of November 29, 2015 will be remembered as their waterloo. The Giants who were given a Thanksgiving Day present with losses by the Eagles an Cowboys, decided to exchange that gift for angst and life or death football in the month of December after a hugely disappointing 20-14 defeat to the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins (5-6), not the Giants (5-6) now control the NFC East. The Eagles (4-7) and Cowboys (3-8) also have life -- believe it or not.
For as much credit as Eli Manning gets for leading the Giants inspite of a mediocre supporting cast this year, he deserves to get as much blame for this disaster. Manning was throwing the football around like it was a game of hot potato. One pass after another was shot up for grabs and more times than not a guy in a Redskins jersey came up with it.
Twice in the opening quarter of the game Manning tried to hit an intended receiver only to have the ball pop up in the air and end up in the hands of a Redskin. While neither turnover resulted in points for Washington, the dye had been cast; the Redskins were playing with a higher motor, the Giants looked out of place and disoriented.
New York's ineptitude would continue deep into the second quarter as New York was forced to punt on their next five possessions. As for the Redskins they stayed aggressive. Kirk Cousin orchestrated a 12-play 75 yard drive to set up a field goal for a 3-0 lead, later on, Cousins connected with Desean Jackson on a 63-yard pitch-n-catch touchdown to make it 10-0. Jackson caught the football in stride at the Giants 20 and then danced all the way home reminiscent to Jackson's touchdown celebration against the Giants back in 2011 when he was a Philadelphia Eagle.
How would the Giants respond? Five plays and a punt.
Cousins wold lead one more scoring drive right before the half, this one a nine play 80-yard drive that culminated in Cousins scoring from one-yard out, at least according to the officials anyway. On replay it appeared that Cousins' progress was stopped short of the goal line. As he tried to put the football up in the air over the plain, he never got the nose of the football over the goal line. The ball should have been called dead at the 1/2 yard line, instead replay officials rewarded the Redskins with a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
The controversial decision not withstanding, when Manning had a chance to pull the Giants back into the ball game he blew it big time. He had New York on a third and goal at the Redskin four yard line before he zipped a pass right into the waiting arms of Quentin Dunbar for the interception. This was the worst of the three turnovers by the Giant quarterback.
The Giants would get themselves back into the game by the fourth quarter. Manning hit a streaking Ruben Randell for a score to make it 20-7. Later on, Manning nearly overthrew Odell Beckham Jr., but the Pro Bowl receiver made a tremendous one-handed diving over-the-should grab for the touchdown to make it 20-14 Skins.
But, as the old saying goes, too little too late. Cousins would hit Josh Reed for 20-yards on a huge third down conversion with 3:29 to go. Two plays later Alfred Morris gashed the Giants for seven yards and first down to help the Redskins eat up more clock to the two minute warning.
The Giants (5-6) no longer have control of the NFC East. They are now in dire straits to get their act together or be forced to be watching the playoffs from their couch. They play the Jets next week at the Meadowlands which always carries its own pressure. The last time The Giants needed a win or else against the Jets, they beat them in 2011 in what was the start of their Super Bowl run. Unfortunately for Big Blue, Rex Ryan is no longer around to give them added motivation.