On a cold, wintry day in which most people wouldn’t want to be outside, the effort the Washington Redskins displayed against the favored Giants Dec. 5, made it clear that they didn’t want to be outside, either.

New York ran through, around and over Washington on their way to a 31-7 steamrolling of the road team. The Redskins dropped to 5-7 with the loss, and could be in danger of missing the postseason.

First Down: More Turnovers Please?
With a pedestrian offense, the last thing Washington can afford is to turn the ball over—but they did just that with a season-high six turnovers and allowed a punt to be blocked. The Redskins fumbled four times and Donovan McNabb threw two interceptions against a fierce Giants pass rush. Washington’s offense could never get started and the turnovers only added a fresh page to the book the team is compiling on offensive frustration.

McNabb’s final stats will look adequate on paper, with 296 passing yards and one touchdown, but his game was anything but decent. The signal caller struggled all afternoon to find his receivers and he wasn’t helped at all by a weak running game. It was a failing day for a floundering offense and the season high in turnovers made it a day for Redskin Nation to forget.

Second Down: Shame on the Run Defense
The four rushing touchdowns given up to the Giants made fans scratch their heads. Allowing the smallish Ahmad Bradshaw to power his way for two touchdowns is one thing, but allowing the lumbering Brandon Jacobs to rush for over 100 yards is another. The 264-pound Jacobs repeatedly gashed the Redskins’ front for huge gains. Jacobs broke off runs of 39, 11 and eight yards in the first quarter alone, as Washington couldn’t get a handle on the Giants power attack. Jacobs has been a thorn in the Redskins’ side for the past few seasons and he was again on Sunday.

Third Down: Where’s the Effort?
Soon after their 59-28 drubbing by the Philadelphia Eagles a few weeks ago, Washington’s player efforts were already in question. Now, with another demolition at the hands of another divisional rival, the effort and heart shown by the team will surely be the focus of criticism again this week. Giants quarterback Eli Manning only passed for 161 passing yards and didn’t throw a single touchdown pass, evident of how dominant the day was for New York on the ground. Committing six turnovers and allowing four rushing touchdowns is high school-style football, something that should never happen with professionals. The season is winding down for Washington, and the team needs to make sure it responds with an effort-filled finish. Otherwise, jobs could be in jeopardy in the offseason.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO