Sat, 05 Dec 2020

5 Takeaways From Washington's Game Against the Giants

Washington Redskins
19 Oct 2020, 16:03 GMT+10

Zach Selby

The Washington Football Team played better in an NFC East matchup against the New York Giants but could not convert the game-winning two-point conversion to take a late lead. Here are five takeaways from Sunday's 20-19 loss:

1. The offense moved the ball much better.

Washington's offense struggled mightily against Los Angeles Rams in Week 5; it could only muster 108 total yards and had -6 yards in the second half. Thanks to an improved game from Kyle Allen, the offense performed markedly better.

Allen, who finished the game 31-of-42 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, targeted eight receivers and completed passes to seven. The running game, which had 38 yards against the Rams, put up 86 yards behind the duo of J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson. Washington outgained the Giants, 337-240.

The offense was also able to put together longer drives. It had five drives lasting at least 10 plays and only had one drive end in a punt.

There were still problems for Washington, though. The offense moved into the red zone three times but were forced to kick field goals at New York's 10- and 17-yard lines. Allen also threw an interception that led to a touchdown three plays later and lost a fumble that was taken for a 43-yard touchdown by Kyler Fackrell.

2. A third-down stop at the goal line kept Washington within striking distance before halftime.

It was 1st-and-goal at Washington's six-yard line with less than nine minutes left in the first half. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had ripped off a 49-yard run on the first play of the drive, and New York was looking to go up 17-3.

First, Jonathan Allen came up with a four-yard loss. Then, Daron Payne bottled up Devonta Freeman behind the line of scrimmage. Cole Holcomb, who finished the game with six tackles, took down Jones at the two-yard line after a nine-yard scramble.

New York was forced to kick a 20-yard field goal, and it left Washington with a manageable 10-point deficit and about six minutes left to play. The offense orchestrated a 13-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown reception from Logan Thomas.

Instead of entering halftime with a 14-point deficit, Washington went into the locker room trailing, 13-10.

3. Washington played better against the run, but big plays are still an issue for the defense.

Jones' 49-yard run was the longest of the game for both teams, and it helped the Giants rush for 132 yards on 26 carries. It was the fifth time Washington had given up at least 100 rushing yards to an opponent.

But outside of Jones' rush, Washington held the Giants to 83 yards and an average of 3.3 yards per attempt, which would have been the defense's best performance since Week 1 against the Eagles.

Still, Washington allowed the Giants, who came into Sunday's game with the NFL's worst rushing offense, to put forth it's second-best rushing performance of the season. Jones rushed for a career-high 74 yards, while Freeman rushed for a season-high 61 yards while averaging 3.4 yards on 18 carries.

There were signs of improvement, but inconsistency remained an issue for the defense.

4. Fuller continues to collect interceptions.

Washington needed a momentum-changing play with the Giants threatening to score late in the third quarter, and thanks to Kendall Fuller, it got exactly that.

With Chase Young bearing down on him, Jones fired a pass into the back of the end zone. It looked as if the ball would harmlessly hit the turf, but Fuller was able to keep his elbow inbounds to come down with the turnover.

Fuller now has four interceptions this season, which ties a career-high and leads the NFL. It took Fuller 11 games to reach that milestone in 2017; this year, Fuller has accomplished that in just four games after missing the first two of the season.

Fuller only has six tackles thus far, but he has emerged as one of the league's best cover cornerbacks. He has a Pro Football Focus coverage grade of 86.2, which is third behind New York's James Bradberry and Green Bay's Jaire Alexander.

5. Washington couldn't convert to take the lead.

There was a moment of exhilaration with 36 seconds left after Cam Sims came down with his first-career touchdown on a 22-yard strike from Allen. But that was immediately followed by disappointment after Allen's pass fell incomplete on a two-point conversion.

It was a tough moment for Washington, which had fought back from a 10-0 deficit to start the game. But Rivera felt like his team could win, and he had confidence his offense could get the job done. So, rather than the game ending up in overtime, Rivera went for it all and came just short.

"I went for two because I believe that the only way you learn to win is play to win," Rivera said after the game.

Rivera's players also supported the decision. Thomas expected the attempt at the start of the drive and was confident the offense could convert, while Allen had a feeling Rivera would make the call to go for the win.

"[Rivera] said to us today, 'We came here to win. We didn't come here to tie. We didn't come here to lose. We came here to win,'" Allen said. "I think that's his mentality right now."

Washington fell to 1-5 with the loss, but there are still several chances coming up against the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals and a second matchup with the Giants.

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