Time and again, Mark Brunell looked downfield for the big play, but it just wasn't there.
A week earlier, Brunell had guided the Redskins' offense to several big plays, including a 68-yard touchdown pass in overtime to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars 36-30 at FedExField.
The New York Giants took a different approach on Sunday, Brunell said. Defensive backs Will Demps, R.W. McQuarters and Gibril Wilson stayed back in coverage, minimizing the Redskins' opportunities for big plays downfield.
The strategy worked, but only because the Redskins' offense struggled to find consistency in the rushing attack and the short passing game.
The Giants defeated the Redskins 19-3, at Giants Stadium.
"I thought we had some opportunities," Brunell said. "You can't go out there and score three points. Regardless of the opportunities, you have to be more efficient. If you don't have big plays down the field, you have to hit some completions and you have to run the ball and maintain some drives.
"Yeah, they had their safeties off and they didn't want to give up the big play. But at the same time, you have to move the ball and we weren't able to do that."
Brunell finished the game with 12-of-22 completions for 109 yards, his lowest yardage total of the season. He was sacked three times, although two of those came in the second half with the Redskins attempting to come back by throwing the ball.
Santana Moss, who had electrified FedExField last week with his three touchdown catches, caught three passes for 39 yards. He caught the Redskins' longest reception of the game, a 17-yarder on a 2nd-and-16 play in the first quarter.
With the safeties playing back, Chris Cooley found some success underneath, catching four passes for 41 yards, including two on third down.
Ladell Betts and Antwaan Randle tried to help with the Redskins' short passing game. Betts caught two passes for 15 yards and Antwaan Randle El caught two passes for 10 yards.
After posting 31 and 36 points each of the last two weeks, the Redskins' 3-point output against the Giants was their lowest of the season.
Brunell stressed that players would not lose confidence despite the offensive setback.
"It was a poor performance, but in no way should this take away our confidence in ourselves, in our belief that we can be a good offense," Brunell said. "It's a long season and we have a lot of football left."
What hurts most, Brunell said, is to lose another divisional game. The Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27-10 in Week 2.
"Your divisional games are very important," he said. "They're critical, particularly the ones on the road. We're in a tough division. When you go on the road in the division, you know you're going to see that team's best game. You have to play your best football."